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By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

Electrical assistance adds sparks to updated Mercedes-Benz GLE

Potent 450d pumps out a total of 285 kW of power and 950 Nm of torque.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa A has launched their updated GLE and GLE Coupe. The Citizen Motoring got to spend a day driving around the George area in the Western Cape in the Mercedes-Benz GLE pair to get a better idea of what this means to those that have a few million Rand to splash on a premium SUV.

Let’s start with the things you see first and that’s the exterior details. You have a new front bumper with two horizontal louvres, with chrome inserts that run through the radiator grille of the GLE. The grille of the outer air intakes has been given a horizontal chrome finish.

Staying up front, the so-called Mercedes-Benz light flare in the headlamps consists of two light points to complement the distinctive daytime running light signet with the standard LED High-Performance headlamps, while the optional Multibeam LED headlamps get you four light points.

Moving to the rear, the interior of the taillights have also been given a little spruce up. On the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the light signet is formed by two horizontal blocks, while on the GLE Coupe it is two bars.

ALSO READ: Sharpened-up Mercedes-Benz GLE South African prices confirmed

AMG Line standard on Coupe

The AMG Line exterior is now standard on the GLE Coupe. This offers you a diamond grille with Mercedes-Benz pattern in chrome, the AMG front apron with chrome trim, AMG side sill panels and wheel arch cladding in the vehicle colour, as well as the AMG rear apron with diffuser-look insert.

Choose your weapon. On the left is the GLE SUV and on the right the sloping-roof Coupe. Picture: Mercedes-Benz

Jumping inside the Mercedes-Benz GLE, you are greeted by a latest-generation steering wheel with sensor surfaces on the horizontal spokes. With these touch elements on the right and left, you can operate the driver and central displays from the steering wheel.

But if you are not used to how this feels and works, I can guarantee you will feel a little clumsy and out of sorts when just trying to turn the volume down on the audio system. And we are talking premium Burmester surround sound audio system which now features a personal sound setup as well as the Dolby Atmos immersive audio experience. There are 13 speakers, 13 separate amplifier channels and a system output of 590 watts.

ALSO READ: Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 receives surprise plug-in hybrid switch-up

Staying with the chrome theme you get chrome centre and side air vents that were previously edged in black. They are now galvanised in real metal, as in the Mercedes-Maybach GLS. New interior colours see that catalana beige/black (GLE) and bahia brown/black (GLE and GLE Coupe) being added, while the black/classic red appointments are available exclusively for the Coupe.

Mercedes-Benz GLE
The interior of the updated Mercedes-Benz GLE. Picture: Mercedes-Benz.

Mild hybrid assistance

Keeping you connected is the second generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. Both the 12.3-inch driver and central displays are retained, while the central display can now be operated directly as a touchscreen. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are activated wirelessly.

Getting out on the road, the entire Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLE Coupe range now benefit from 48-volt mild hybrid technology. And most models have more power than previous versions.

ALSO READ: Mercedes-AMG stamps price on facelift GLE 53 and 63 S

The first part of our drive was in the potent 270 kW / 750 Nm 450d GLE Coupe, that benefits from a 15 kW / 200 Nm electrical boost when required. The urge and agility from this large SUV Coupe is impressive. And the damping on the smaller 21-inch wheels really comfortable and good.

We swapped into the slightly less aggressive, 198 kW / 550 Nm 300d GLE. It also benefits from that 15 kW / 200 Nm performance bump. Although more relaxed in the delivery of power, fitted with 22-inch option low profile tyres, the ride was somewhat choppier.

Make sure you choose wisely when it comes to wheel / tyre combos. And do so to suit what you expect from your SUV.

Mercedes-Benz GLE pricing

  • GLE 300 d 4MATIC – R1 964 600
  • GLE 300 d 4MATIC 7-Seater – R1 984 000
  • GLE 450 4MATIC – R2 075 400
  • GLE 450 4MATIC 7-Seater – R2 094 800
  • GLE 450 d 4MATIC – R2 041 500
  • GLE 450 d 4MATIC 7-Seater – R2 060 900
  • GLE 450 d 4MATIC Sports Coupe – R2 340 500

The Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLE Coupe are sold standard with five-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.

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