Mercedes-Benz expects its two new SUVs to land in New Zealand towards the end of the year, but it is not yet clear exactly what models or specification will be available.
“We are still finalising what we will take,” said Mercedes-Benz NZ public relations man Matt Bruce. “The GLE is likely to arrive in the third quarter, but the GLC hasn’t officially been shown yet. I expect it to get here later this year though.”
The GLE is the replacement for the M-Class SUV that’s been on the market here since the late 1990s. The GLC is an altogether new mid-range SUV, a global model that replaces the left-hand-drive-only GLK launched in 2007.
Both monikers are part of the carmaker’s new branding strategy. The ‘E’ denotes the GLE is part of the E-Class family; the ‘C’ that the GLC belongs to the more compact C-Class branch.
First official pictures of the GLE show family styling cues, especially around the front and rear ends. Spy pictures of the production-ready GLC show similar family references.
The GLE will come with a new nine-speed automatic transmission and a range of seven petrol and diesel engines that Benz says are on average 17 per cent more fuel efficient than the current line-up. Towing capacity is 3500kg.
The base GLE 250d model uses a 150kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel that Benz says is good for 5.4 litres/100km (52mpg). The 3.0-litre V6 in the GLE 350d generates 190kW/620Nm and uses a claimed 6.4 litres/100km (44mpg).
Petrol choices include the GLE 400 twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 that delivers 245kW/480Nm and uses 8.8 litres/100km (32mpg), and the twin-turbo 4.7-litre V8 GLE 500 that produces 320kW/700Nm. No fuel figure from Benz for this model.
The most fuel-efficient is the hybrid GLE 500e. It combines the 245kW petrol V6 with a 85kW hybrid motor to produce 325kW/650Nm and a claimed fuel figure of 3.3 litres/100km (86mpg).
The go-fast premium GLE 63 and GLE 63 S AMG models deliver 410kW/700Nm and 430kW/760Nm respectively. The GLE63 S can sprint from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.2 seconds, says Benz. It uses an AMG designed seven-speed automatic ‘box.
Helping to keep the GLE and its varied power options from turning turtle is a new Dynamic Select system that adjusts suspension and driveline settings for comfort, sport, off-road or slippery driving.
The top-end models can be optioned with a new active curve system that uses active roll bars to keep body roll in check during cornering.