Mercedes has finally given us a mid-range non-AMG model with a V8.
It was less than a month ago that we strolled into a Mercedes dealership and learned that the German automaker was planning a new GLE model set to be infused with the powertrain of the upcoming 2020 GLS 580. When the new GLS 580 hit the stage at this year’s New York auto show, it came packing a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine augmented by a 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system, enabling it to achieve good gas mileage while sending 483 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels using Mercedes’ 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive system.
Well, the day for that GLE to arrive has come because Mercedes has announced the release of the GLE 580 4Matic, boasting that exact same powertrain and making the exact same horsepower and torque figures as the larger GLS 580 does.
What this means, of course, is that we have a little more respect for hybridized drivetrains because they have enabled Mercedes to bring V8s back into non-range-topping, non-AMG models. The GLE 580 4Matic’s impressive power output is only reached when the hybrid system adds a short 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 horsepower boost into the powertrain.
But when it’s not busy helping the GLE 580 launch away from a stoplight, this Benz’s 48-volt hybrid system is used to power the all-new E-Active Body Control suspension system and the dual 12.3-inch touchscreens running Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system with augmented reality video navigation. The system’s workhorse, aside from its battery, is an integrated starter generator (ISG) that’s responsible for capturing energy upon deceleration, starting the engine when the Stop/Start system deems the deed necessary, and adding a fat torque boost when a driver needs power.
When the GLE 580 4Matic goes on sale by the end of this year, it will join the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder GLE 350 4Matic and 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six GLE 450 4Matic with EQ Boost, which make 255 horsepower and 362 horsepower, respectively. The GLE 580 will sit at the top of the ranks with a starting price of $77,795 including destination, while the GLE 350 and GLE 450 each start at $57,195 and $62,145, respectively, with both prices including destination.
Mercedes-AMG also sells its own versions of the GLE, but only the AMG GLE 53 is based on the current generation SUV while the AMG GLE 43, GLE 63, and GLE 63 S all use the previous generation as the base vehicle.