The M-Class SUV range’s new name, GLE-Class, represents a key step in harmonising model classification across the Mercedes-Benz range.
All SUV models are now represented by the ‘GL’ prefix, while the ‘E’ of this model positions it as a large car that sits alongside the existing E-Class range.
As for today’s update, the recent unveiling of the BMW X6-rivalling GLE Coupe gave buyers their first hint at what they could expect with the refreshed GLE.
The former M-Class, now GLE-Class, wears new headlights and a new grille, both largely identical to the GLE Coupe’s face, and a new front bumper is also featured.
The GLE will also wear a lightly updated rear, with a new tailgate, new lamp internals and a revised bumper.
The SUV’s interior has also been given a light update, with a large 7.0-inch tablet display flanked by tall new vents.
Mercedes’ latest steering-wheel design is also featured, and new highlights and features appear throughout.
Perhaps the biggest news in the 2016 GLE-Class range is the addition of the new 500e 4Matic, Mercedes-Benz’s first plug-in hybrid EV.
Power is provided by the same 245kW/480Nm 3.0 litre twin-turbo petrol V6 and 85kW electric motor that features in the S 500e sedan, producing a combined 325kW and 650Nm of torque.
Power in the plug-in hybrid EV is sent to the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system through a version of Merc’s seven-speed 7G tronic auto, modified for this application.
Other models in the 2016 GLE-Class range will instead be matched to a nine-speed auto as standard.
Fuel consumption for the GLE 500e has not been detailed, but Mercedes promises an all-electric driving range of around 30 kilometres.
The GLE 500e will offer four driving modes - E-Mode, E-Save, Charge and Hybrid - and charging can be undertaken from either a wall-mounted box or a conventional power point.
Elsewhere in the 2016 GLE-Class range, and depending on the market, buyers will have the option of a 150kW 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel in the GLE 250d, along with the more powerful 192kW/620Nm 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6 of the GLE 350d.
Topping the range is the hero AMG GLE 63 S, driven by the company's 430kW/780Nm 5.5 litre twin-turbo V8. AMG promises a 0-100km/h time of just 4.2 seconds for this flagship performer.
Speaking with TMR today, Mercedes-Benz Australia’s Jerry Stamoulis confirmed a September launch for the GLE-Class range. Model spread and specifications will be confirmed closer to launch.