The BMW X5 rival is priced from £55,685 in GLE 300d 4Matic form, which replaces the old 250d. It features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine making 242bhp and 369lb ft of torque, powering the SUV from 0-62mph in 7.2sec and on to a top speed of 140mph. Claimed economy figures are 46.3mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 162g/km.
Standard kit on all GLEs includes Mercedes' new MBUX set-up, featuring two 12.3in displays and the Interior Assistant, an advanced voice control system. Also included is 20in AMG alloy wheels, active high beam assist, blindspot monitoring, privacy glass and heated leather seats.
The sole petrol option at launch is the GLE 450 4Matic, priced from £62,300. It's powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine using the brand's 48V EQ Boost mild hybrid tech, producing 362bhp and 369lb ft of torque; 0-62mph is quoted at 5.7sec and the top speed is 140mph. Economy of 33.6mpg is quoted, while it officially emits 191g/km of CO2.
The 450 builds on the standard kit list, with the seven-seat equipment line as standard. As well as the extra row of chairs, it brings electrically adjustable rear seats, extra USB ports and four-zone climate control.
The petrol-powered model also features an advanced suspension system as standard, surpassing even that found on Mercedes' flagship S-Class.
There will also be a plug-in hybrid variant with a “particularly long range” – thought to be more than 50 miles on electric power alone.
The new suspension system is a more advanced version of the Magic Body Control found on the S-Class. It is the first on sale where the spring and damping forces are individually controlled at each wheel, counteracting not only body roll but also pitch and squat.
Mercedes claims the GLE’s 4Matic all-wheel drive “ensures great agility on road and superior performance off the beaten track”. The system controls the torque distribution between the front and rear axle from 0% to 100% depending on the driving mode. The optional Offroad package has fully variable all-wheel drive with low and high range available, a feature that Mercedes says is a world first.