On Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz announced significant updates to its GLE utility vehicle. For the 2024 model year, enhancements have been made to this SUV’s capability, exterior design and interior, but the biggest news is the introduction of the new GLE 400e 4Matic, which is a plug-in hybrid.
All powertrains offered in the 2024 GLE range are electrified with at least mild hybrid technology and 48-volt electrics, though the GLE 400e 4Matic’s guts are much more advanced. Its drivetrain is anchored by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s good for 248 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The engine is aided by a synchronous electric motor that provides an additional 134 hp and 325 lb-ft of twist. Add it all up and this luxury SUV’s drivetrain cranks out a potent 381 hp and 479 lb-ft, enough for a 5.8-second 0-to-60 sprint and a top speed of 130 mph. That means this plug-in hybrid can hit 60 mph quicker than the base GLE 350 4Matic, though the GLE 450 and 580 models are still appreciably more potent.
Naturally, the GLE 400e 4Matic will offer a variety of driving modes including an off-road setting that allows you to silently motor along your favorite trail using only electricity stored in the 23.3-kilowatt-hour battery pack. That generously sized electron reservoir should provide a decent amount of all-electric range, though an official figure has not been shared by Mercedes-Benz at this time. But looking at the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid SUV, it has an 18.1-kWh battery that provides an estimated all-electric driving range of 42 miles. The GLE 400e 4Matic’s pack is several kilowatt-hours larger, though the vehicle itself is significantly bigger and likely a lot heavier, so it’s probably a safe bet to expect fewer miles on a charge. Still, it’d be great if this Mercedes-Benz could deliver 30 miles of range.
Other changes to the GLE range for 2024 include the availability of an Off-Road Engineering package on the GLE 580 4Matic. This gets you some underbody shielding, an adjustable air suspension system and 1.2 additional inches of ground clearance, so you can tackle the gnarliest of Starbucks drive-thrus.
A Trailer Route Planner is also new, incorporated into the navigation system. This helps you plan routes that are suitable for the trailer you’re dragging. The optional extended Trailer Maneuvering Assist feature now uses a camera-based system and can automatically regulate the steering angle of the vehicle at speeds up to 3 mph, even when you’re going up grades. This technology can also maneuver the vehicle around turns of up to 90 degrees.
Visually, the GLE range gains a new front bumper and a pair of horizontal chrome accents in the grille. The outer air intakes have also been accentuated with chrome. An AMG Line exterior package is available across the model line (though it’s standard equipment on the high-performance GLE 580 4Matic). This options group includes a special grille pattern, an AMG front fascia, upgraded sill panels, wheel arch cladding and more.
Inside, the driver is treated to a new steering wheel design with touch controls on the horizontal spokes. Chrome accents have been added to the dashboard air vents, while new beige/black and brown/black color schemes are on the menu. Beyond all that, the available Burmester sound system gains Dolby Atmos capability for a more immersive listening experience.
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Tech-obsessed motorists will appreciate the infotainment improvements made to the GLE family. Even though the dual 12.3-inch screens remain, the second-generation MBUX system gains new functionality: both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay can connect wirelessly.
We’re still waiting on pricing, range and fuel economy information for the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 400e 4Matic, but this plug-in hybrid luxury SUV sounds promising. You can look for the updated GLE range at dealerships in the U.S. later this year.