There are not many people who would sit down and honestly think about buying this car.
He ignored her appearance for a moment. The price (starting at €86,000 and going up for anything above “entry level”) alone is enough to put most people off. Some may be postponed from the badge. Others aren’t ready to jump to the plug-in hybrid just yet and there are a growing number of car buyers who naively believe diesels are dead.
So, when you combine all four of these factors, you can be forgiven if you think the Mercedes GLE PHEV is headed down a path to nowhere.
It is fair to say that this would not be among the top sellers here in Ireland given its niche target market. But that’s not a fair reflection of how good this car really is.
Now let’s talk about its appearance. It is a thing of beauty. Big, powerful, angular, powerful but with a few subtle touches of German softness, it sits on the road as if it had its own.
This is the fourth generation of the German giant SUV, and while it may have been launched back in 2019, it has come under the radar due to Covid.
It’s a diesel hybrid engine which is a rare find but using this powertrain in such a large car is rare.
For starters, having a car this size allows the manufacturer to install larger batteries in it, so your fully charged electric mode will actually save you over 100km which is twice as many miles as the vast majority of hybrids on the market. And having paid a few dozen in recent years, this has been a very welcome feature which means we can realistically complete our daily commute three to four times before needing to hook up again.
Even when in ICE mode, this is very economical on juice. Combined, Mercedes claims 7L/100km and we believe it after a long test week that saw me clear it out for the weekend using most of what was in the tank.
The weekend trip also gave me a chance to appreciate what Mercedes has achieved on the inside as well.
From the outside, this looks like a good size for a seven seater. But the reason isn’t that Mercedes used up some trunk space to fit its massive battery, so a third row is impossible. They still leave you a 490-liter trunk when the second-row seats are fully upright and that jumps to a bewildering 1,915 liters when the seats are folded down. But you don’t want to do that.
Each seat (yes, we tested them all) is a stunning example of comfort and luxury. The kind of specs you’d expect from a car that won’t give you much change from 100,000 euros and has that distinctive badge embossed on the new grille style.
It filters the layer from front to back and all over from the inside. It is a 2-liter 4-cylinder, 194 hp (the electric motor delivers 122 hp) and can reach 210 km / h.
The exterior of the AMG Line (additional €5258) offers you 20″ 5-spoke AMG wheels painted in tremolite gray with a high-gloss finish, the AMG front apron with decorative elements and stunning sporty air inlets, front and rear wheel arches, painted in the color of the car ( This “brilliant blue” is one of my favorite blues right now but it will cost you an extra €1492).
The seats are in two-tone beige and black Macchiato combination leather and upholstery (€339 extra) and come with four-way lumbar support.
There’s additional USB ports (as standard), ambient lighting (a gimmick the kids got a big kick out of), a chrome interior package, a ‘mirror package’ that includes auto-dimming, foldable, drop-in brand logo, and a multifunction sport leather steering wheel. Nappa, rear camera, widescreen, cockpit, plush floor mats, widescreen cockpit. This is a luxury ride.
The driver sits high above most other vehicles on the road and thanks to the center console and massive elbow rack (not a technical term) on the door, you feel like you’re sitting in an armchair while driving.
They love to be driven too, and although they are huge in size, they easily gobble country roads and love turning, as all mers do. These hybrids come with air suspension as standard to absorb Roscommon-based bumps and pits.
In electric mode, the car glides in complete silence, which is surprising to those outside but no one inside.
The highways are chewed up. At one point, I pinned it to the floor and with one tremor (largely due to its weight thanks to the battery) I was promptly taken to the speed limit without breaking in a sweat. It can do everything.
This car is not cheap and starts at 86,930 euros with options on my test car going up to 95,410 euros. But if your next car is in this price bracket, you can do much worse than this staggering.
Mercedes has been years behind the competition when it comes to electrification of cars but they have learned from the mistakes of others and are now producing absolutely fantastic EVs and PHEVs and this tank is the latest to join the family.
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Mercedes-Benz offers the GLE in two models – an SUV and a coupe – and Motormouths have provided the best for the latter.
The coupe is certainly the sleeker of the two models, but it compromises headroom for rear seat passengers.
What we definitely can’t go wrong with are the numbers the economy and dealing with this big beast can deliver.
We gave the large coupe a fee for one night before heading off on a road trip to the west of Ireland.
Last Sunday morning we set out on a coast-to-coast drive from east to west to see what she could do and the boy had achieved.
The night charge did not quite reach us within 100 km of the electric range, but it did get quite close to 80 km.
However, the combination of electric and diesel produced some very satisfying numbers when we got back to the big smoke.
We drove from the outskirts of Dublin Bay to Doolin Pier in Co Clare and came back in just one day and there was still more than a quarter of a diesel tank left when we handed over the keys on Monday morning.
Add to the mix that we logged a few more scenic kilometers along the Wild Atlantic Way in Banner County and took it off the beaten path to Clare’s highest point on a dirt track through an unused quarry, and you understand how impressed we were.
Even on the wet and muddy roads that tried to challenge us, the big GLE coupé couldn’t go wrong.