New Mercedes GLE plug-in hybrid diesel revealed at Frankfurt

New GLE plug-in hybrid is capable of up to 62 miles of pure-electric driving

Mercedes GLE 350 de hybrid

Mercedes has launched a diesel plug-in-hybrid version of the GLE SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The GLE 350 de 4MATIC uses the third generation of Mercedes’ hybrid technology.

With a 31.2kWh battery, it’s capable of between 56 and 62 miles of pure-electric driving (depending on exact specification). By redesigning the rear end of the GLE and modifying the rear axle, Mercedes has created more space to place a larger battery, resulting  a marginal loss of luggage space compared to the standard diesel version (from a total capacity dropping from 630 to 490 litres with the seats up).

The GLE is capable of AC and DC charging thanks to its Type 2 and CCS sockets, and a new on-board charger doubles the AC charging capacity from 3.6 to 7.4kW. A public rapid charger can take it from 10 to 80% in 20 minutes thanks to the maximum DC charging rate of 60kW. You only need to keep it plugged in for another 10 minutes for a full charge.

Plugging it in to a home wallbox will give you a full recharge in 1.5 hours, rising to five hours if you use a conventional domestic socket. On the road, you can find nearby charging points using the car’s infotainment system and pay for charging through an app – on the continent, at least.

Mercedes quotes the officially tested fuel economy of 257mpg and CO2 emissions of 29g/km. The hybrid GLE uses Mercedes’ 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and the brand's latest energy-recuperation technology. As energy is recaptured at each wheel, the car has a natural braking capability, allowing for ‘one-pedal’ driving.

The GLE 350 de 4MATIC also has a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine with 192bhp. When combined with the electric motor, it generates 315bhp, giving a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, as well as an electric-only top speed of 99mph.

Those who need to tow will note the GLE’s towing capacity of 3,500kg and Mercedes ‘Trailer Manoeuvring Assist’ system, which controls the steering angle of the car to make reversing a trailer, caravan or horsebox easier.

The GLE is the latest in a range of plug-in hybrid models from Mercedes, including C-Class, E-Class and S-Class saloons and estates. By the end of 2019, the carmaker will have more than 10 on sale, from its smallest car to its most luxurious. The aim is to have 20 models capable of driving on electric power by 2020.