German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India, on January 29, launched the latest generation of its GLE midsized SUV in India, in a long-wheelbase version, a first for the company outside of the UK.
The GLE brand, which was introduced in the year 2015 and came to India through the CKD route with assembly at Mercedes' plant in Chakan, Pune, will now offer more space and comfort for distinguished buyers in the segment.
Mercedes-Benz says its target audience with the GLE has been affluent individuals such as doctors and lawyers, as well as businessmen. The company has so far sold over 13,000 units of the GLE in India.
The new SUV comes with a distinct exterior styling which bears typical Mercedes-Benz design elements such as a large grille embodied with the tri-star Mercedes-Benz logo and flanked by LED projector headlamps. The side profile sees 20-inch rims and the rear profile sees the maximum change in styling and gets a new pair of LED tail lamps.
On the inside, Mercedes has introduced ventilated seats at the front, and with the SUV being based on a long-wheelbase platform for the first time ever with an 80mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing car, there is an increase of 69mm in legroom and 33mm in headroom in the rear seats. Second-row seats also allow a fore-and-aft adjustment. There is a four-zone automatic climate control on offer which can also be controlled through voice by the new proprietary 'MBUX' system, with the company also introducing gesture control for the first time in the system. There's also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration with the infotainment system, a 13-speaker Burmester sound system and ambient lighting with brightness adjustment and 64 colour options.
Mercedes says that while parts on the new Mercedes GLE are 95 percent recoverable, 85 percent of them can be recycled. This, the company says, will further strengthen its commitment to sustainable mobility.
Two engine options, both diesels
In terms of powertrains, Mercedes-Benz has launched the SUV with two engine options, both diesels. The 3.0-litre (400d), six-cylinder OM 656 series engine that churns out 330bhp and 700Nm and a 2.0-litre (300d), four-cylinder OM 654 series engine that comes rates at 245bhp and 500Nm. Both engines are BS VI-compliant and Mercedes says it has been able to lightweight the engines by 17 percent over the last generation, and used an advanced SCR technology with newly developed after treatment system to make the engine Euro 6d-compliant as well. Company is bullish on diesel technology and even though it recently announced to introduce its first electric model in the country – the EQC SUV in April – it says diesel powertrains will remain at the forefront of technology development and innovation at Mercedes-Benz. There is an all-wheel-drive system that equally distributes power to the front and rear axles.
In terms of safety, there is multi-beam high performance LED headlamps with adaptive high-beam assist plus, a blind-spot detection system and active braking assist among other active safety functions. The SUV comes equipped with a total of nine airbags in the 400d variant and with seven in the 300d. The 400d also gets an e-Active suspension system with 48V suspension capabilities to offer control of every single strut individually. Mercedes has also brought in an advanced park-assist function with a 360-degree camera on both the variants.
According to Martin Schwenk, managing director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, "Within our product portfolio, SUVs have always stood out. After the GLE, we will launch the new GLS in Q2 of FY2020 (January-December) and the new GLA shortly after. The new GLC, launched in December, has also been receiving good customer response in India."
Mercedes-Benz has launched the GLE in two variants – 400d as a CBU at Rs 1.25 crore ex-showroom India and 300d at Rs 73.70 lakh ex-showroom India. The company had opened bookings of the new GLE back in November 2019, and it says that the 300d is already sold out for Q1 of 2020. The next round of bookings will commence in April. The company aims to launch more than 10 models across variants in the calendar year 2020, with a target of introducing one product every month in the Indian market.