A Brief Look at the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Mercedes-Benz is renowned for its luxury vehicles, and the GLE-Class is one of the most popular models in the lineup. Since its introduction in 1997 as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the GLE has undergone several changes and transformations. The GLE-Class has set a benchmark for premium SUVs for over two decades. The model has undergone several improvements and redesigns over the years to cater to the customers’ varying needs. In this article, we’ll cover the history and evolution of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class vehicle, including the various generations and their respective variations.
First Generation – W163 (1997-2005)
The first generation Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, known as the W163, was introduced in 1997 as the M-Class. It was the first luxury SUV to be designed and manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. The M-Class was a departure from the brand’s traditional sedan and coupe offerings, and its high ground clearance and off-road capabilities made it a formidable competitor in the SUV market.
The W163 M-Class was available in two trim levels – the ML320 and ML430. It was powered by a 3.2-liter V6 and 4.3-liter V8 engine, respectively, and both were paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The ML320 had a horsepower of 215, while the ML430 produced 268 horsepower.
Despite the initial success, the W163 M-Class had a rocky start due to a significant number of technical issues, leading to less than satisfactory reliability ratings, which hurt sales. To address these issues, Mercedes-Benz made several improvements, including upgrading the powertrain, improving the suspension, and adding safety features. These fixes allowed the W163 to improve its reliability ratings over time.
In 2002, the M-Class underwent a significant facelift, resulting in a more modern, streamlined design. The facelift saw the introduction of the ML350, which replaced the ML320 and had a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produced 232 horsepower.
Second Generation – W164 (2006-2011)
The second generation Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class introduced a significant redesign, with the aim of boosting sales and improving reliability. The W164 GLE-Class, released in 2006, had a sleeker and more refined look compared to its predecessor.
The W164 GLE-Class was available in five trim levels – the ML350, ML500, ML550, ML63 AMG, and ML320 CDI. The ML350 had a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produced 268 horsepower, while the ML500 was equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generated 302 horsepower, and the top of the line ML63 AMG had a 6.3-liter V8 engine that produced an impressive 503 horsepower.
One of the significant upgrades in the W164 was the introduction of Airmatic suspension, which allowed for both smooth cruising on the road and improved off-road capabilities. The W164 GLE-Class also incorporated more safety features, such as adaptive headlights and lane departure warning systems.
Third Generation – W166 (2012-2019)
The third generation Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, known as the W166, featured a design that was intended to make the SUV appear more athletic, sporty, and modern. The W166 GLE-Class made its debut in 2012 as the ML-Class and was later renamed the GLE in 2015.
The W166 GLE-Class was available in an array of trim levels, including the standard GLE350, GLE550e Hybrid, GLE45 AMG, GLE350d, GLE400, GLE500e, and GLE63 AMG. The GLE350 had a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generated 302 horsepower, while the GLE550e Hybrid was equipped with a hybrid powertrain that produced 436 horsepower.
The W166 GLE-Class featured several upgrades from its predecessor, including a 9-speed automatic transmission, improved suspension, and a plethora of safety and driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring.
Fourth Generation – V167 (2019-Present)
The fourth generation Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, known as the V167, was unveiled at the 2018 Paris Auto Show. This redesign aimed to further cement the GLE-Class’ position as one of the most luxurious and technologically advanced SUVs on the market.
The V167 GLE-Class is available in several versions, including the GLE350, GLE450, GLE580, GLE63 AMG, GLE53 AMG, and GLE350d 4MATIC. The GLE350 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine that generates 255 horsepower, while the GLE450 has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine that produces 362 horsepower, and the GLE580 features a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that generates a whopping 483 horsepower.
The V167 GLE-Class incorporates several technological upgrades, including the MBUX infotainment system that integrates navigation, voice commands, and vehicle settings. The SUV also has a cutting-edge suspension system that uses cameras to scan the road surface and adjusts the suspension to make for a more comfortable ride.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class vehicle has come a long way since its introduction in 1997 as the M-Class. The GLE-Class has undergone several changes and redesigns over the years to cater to the customers’ varying needs. The latest iteration, the V167, is the most luxurious, technologically advanced, and innovative GLE-Class yet. As Mercedes-Benz continues to improve and evolve, we can only expect the GLE-Class to become even more impressive in its future iterations.