Welcome to the new Mercedes GLE - the revised M-Class SUV, which has been given a shiny new name under the marque's new system of nomenclature. The new system means that all of the marque's SUV cars now have the letters GL added, in a nod to the classic G-Wagen.
The GLE we have for hire here is the top of the line AMG model, which boasts adjustable air suspension, 20 inch alloys, front sports seats, upgraded brakes and a whole host of AMG styling touches. It's a vehicle that feels like a true sports car right from the word go. Despite the fact that it's an SUV, complete with four-wheel drive, raised seating position and an all-round view, the experience is far racier - even the engine sounds like something out of a sports car, and the direct response to driving commands will make you forget you're in something that can go off-road.
Despite its capabilities, the GLE can also create a superior feeling of calm, coupled with unshakeably serene driving dynamics. These two different worlds can normally only be experienced in two separate vehicles, but in this new Mercedes GLE AMG Line you truly get the best of both worlds.
The GLE 350 AMG Line backs up its sporty credentials with a 2987cc V6 turbodiesel, producing 255bhp and 457lb ft at just 1600rpm. This well-engineered beast will help you do 0-60 in around seven seconds, which is not too shabby for a 2250kg SUV.
Coupled to the powerhouse is the 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission, alongside the performance-oriented 4MATIC drive which sends the drive torque more towards the rear axle, providing for the signature AMG high driving dynamics and superlative driving enjoyment - no matter what terrain you're going over.
Also on board is DYNAMIC SELECT - a Mercedes feature that all drivers fall in love with. It's a dynamic handling control system with five distinct transmission modes - INDIVIDUAL, COMFORT, SLIPPERY, SPORT and SPORT+ - all of which can be selected through a rotary dial on the centre console. SPORT+, for example, turns the car into a sporty, dynamic vehicle with pronounced longitudinal and lateral dynamics, while COMFORT provides relaxed, effortless cruising with the greatest possible energy efficiency. Each option affects not only the suspension and gear changes, but also the way that the instruments display information to the driver.
The car's unique styling is a product of Mercedes-Benz combining two classes of vehicle - each with its own distinct style - to make a new model, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé. The sporty nature of the coupé is blended with the robust characteristic of an SUV, creating a surprising and distinct aesthetic. With its flowing side contour, elongated and low cabin, and rear end design, the GLE Coupé cites styling features typical of particularly sporty Mercedes-Benz models.
The AMG model comes with special body styling, including a specific front and rear apron, a rear spoiler lip and 21-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. Other distinctive features are the forward-sloping bonnet with its typical Mercedes power domes, and the striking radiator grille with central chrome louvre, framed by 3D-designed LED headlamps.
Mercedes fans will notice that the rear end design borrows discreetly from the S-Class, with its slim band of rear lights and chrome inserts in the rear bumper. Other features here are the chrome plated underride guard and the distinctively Mercedes styled rear window.
Alongside predictable Mercedes-levels of comfort and refinement comes the kind of space you can only get in an SUV. Providing space for up to five people, the cabin offers ergonomic seating and, in the rear, the widest seat bench in its class. This spaciousness continues in the boot, too: the coupé offers the largest luggage compartment in its class and provides 690 litres of storage space.
The sporty seats are covered in ARTICO man made leather, which also covers the dash top in this AMG Line GLE. Chrome accents also lift the cabin, particularly around the centre air vents.
Not only does the interior radiate elegance and serenity, but there is an impressive amount of technical equipment on offer. Features include a reversing camera, keyless entry and start, powered tailgate, and sat-nav.
The centre console houses the COMAND controller with the touchpad fitted above in an optimum ergonomic position. This allows the driver to access the COMAND infotainment system, displayed through a bright eight inch colour screen on the dashboard. Quality of sound is guaranteed by the Audio 20 CD system with eight loudspeakers.
The Mercedes GLE 350d AMG Line is a great all-round car. Combining an impressive four-wheel-drive system and AMG performance flourishes with styling and quality that can rival some of the big SUV names on the market, it's a safe, reliable and fun option for a wide variety of occasions. Whether you're embarking on a self-drive family holiday, or need a way to chauffeur employees or clients in comfort and style, the Mercedes GLE 350d AMG Line will prove to be an excellent choice.