As you are reading this, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia will be in the midst of launching its all-new range of SUVs - the GLC, the GLE Coupe and the GLE today.
We got our hands on the GLE, and if you’re wondering why this looks familiar, its because its a facelifted M Class which has also undergone a nomenclature change.
Yes, its goodbye M and hello, GLE.
Two variants of the GLE will be available for the Malaysian market: the GLE 250 d 4MATIC and the GLE 400 4MATIC. Basically a diesel and a petrol variant.
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The review unit was the GLE 400 which has a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 under the hood that produces 333hp and 480Nm of torque and mated to a 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive.
What you will notice in the exterior design is a bold new grille design - louvres attached to the three-pointed star.
The front and rear bumpers come attached with chrome skid plates, new LED headlamps and tail lamps as well as chrome tailpipes.
And then there’s the supersized 21-in alloy wheels.
The changes are subtle and it is in fact an AMG Line package which comes as standard for the GLE 400 and its enough to turn the vehicle more muscular and confident than its predecessor.
The AMG Line continues into the exterior as well with Artico man-made leather upholstery, and black nappa leather multifunction steering wheel.
The centre console comes with the latest COMAND controller touchpad, an eight-inch display, six-disc DVD/CD player and hi-tech cupholders which can keep your drinks cool or warm.
There’s a panoramic sunroof and passengers at the back can keep themselves entertained with the rear seat entertainment system.
Driving the GLE 400 is simply a breeze.
Power from the V6 block comes in smooth and the SUV accelerates effortlessly despite its size.
While it may look intimidating, the steering is nimble and responsive.
Its turning radius is amazing which gives you a lot of confidence taking this car anywhere.
Noise, vibration and harshness levels were near non-existent and you can only hear the slight rumble of the V6 but other than that, the cabin is quiet.
Its Dynamic Select driving modes include Comfort, Sport, Individual, Slippery and Offroad (for mild terrain) for different road conditions.
However, I found using Comfort mode more than adequate for everyday city driving.
What is impressive is the amount of safety features thrown into the GLE 400 as standard.
It comes with Collision Prevention Assist Plus and the Driving Assistance package Plus which includes steering assist, Stop&Go Pilot, Pre-Safe Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, 360 degree camera and much more.
These systems do a lot to aid driving, especially when you’re changing lanes and the Blind Spot Assist warns you of approaching vehicles from the rear.
The SUV can even sense if a collision with a car in front is imminent and automatically brakes to avoid accidents.
It’s bundled to the hilt with all the key features one would expect in a luxury vehicle in terms of performance, safety, comfort and refinement.
It won’t be surprising if the GLE 400 becomes one of the new favourites here.
The prices (on-the-road without insurance) of the three SUVs and variants are:
GLC 250 - RM328,888
GLE 250 d - RM486,888
GLE 400 - RM568,888
GLE 400 Coupe - RM630,888
GLE 450 AMG Coupe - RM699,888.