The GLE is Mercedes’ first regular-production plug-in hybrid SUV. Positioned near the top of the lineup, the GLE550e 4MATIC is powered by a gasoline-electric drivetrain consisting of a 329-horsepower direct-injected V6 engine and a compact electric motor that makes 114 ponies. Together, the two power sources send 436 horsepower and a massive 479 foot-pounds of torque to all four wheels via a hybrid-specific seven-speed automatic transmission.
Built into the gearbox, the motor draws electricity from a 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The pack can be fully charged in about two hours when plugged into a wallbox charger.
A switch located on the center console lets the driver choose one of four driving modes called Hybrid, E-Save, Charge and E-Mode, respectively. Hybrid uses both power sources to deliver the best possible blend of performance and fuel efficiency, E-Save shuts off the electric motor in order to keep the battery’s full charge for a later time and Charge tops up the pack on-the-go. In E-Mode, the GLE can drive on electricity alone for over 18 miles at speeds of up to 81 mph.