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TOP MERCS New Mercedes Benz GLE PHEV and coupé deliver goods in luxurious style


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Mercedes GLE 350d PHEV

Mercedes GLE 350d PHEV

Mercedes GLE 350d PHEV

Mercedes benz - gle phev

There aren't many people who will sit down and genuinely consider buying this car.

Ignore its looks for a moment. The price tag (start at €86k and head upwards for anything above 'entry level') alone is enough to put most people off. Some might be put off by the badge. Others just aren't ready to jump into a plug-in hybrid yet and there is a growing number of car buyers who naively think diesel is dead.

So, when you combine all four of those factors you could be forgive for thinking that the Mercedes GLE PHEV is on a road to nowhere.

It is fair to say that this won't rank amongst the top sellers here in Ireland due to its pretty niche target market. But that is not a fair reflection on how good this car really is.

Now let's talk about its looks. It is A thing of beauty. Big, robust, angular, strong yet with a few delicate deft touches of German sleekness, it sits on the road like it owns it.

This is the 4th-generation of the giant German SUV and while it may have launched back in 2019 it has gone under the radar due to Covid.

It's a diesel plug-in hybrid which is a rare find but using that powertrain in such a big vehicle is even more rare.

For starters, having a car this big allows the maker to fit bigger batteries into it so your fully-charged electric mode will actually get you over 100km which is twice as many kilometres as the vast majority of plug-in hybrids on the market. And having driven a few dozen in recent years, that was a very welcome feature meaning we could realistically complete our daily commutes three to four times before needing to plug in again.

Even when in ICE mode this is very economical on juice. Combined, Mercedes claim 7l/100km and we believe them after a long test week that saw me take it away for the weekend using up most of what was in the tank.

The weekend jaunt also gave me a chance to fully appreciate what Mercedes has achieved inside too.

From the outside, this looks and feels like a good sized seven-seater. But the reason it isn't is because Mercedes has used up some of the boot space to fit in their enormous battery, so a third row is impossible. They do still leave you with a 490-litre boot when the second-row seats are fully upright and that leaps to a mind-boggling 1,915 litres when you fold the seats 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 spec you would expect from a car that won't give you much change from €100k and has that distinguished badge emblazoned on the new style of grille.

It oozes class from front to back and all over the inside. It's a 2-litre, 4-cylinder 194hp (the electric motor offers 122bhp) and can reach 210km/h.

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The AMG Line exterior (an extra €5,258) offers you these 20-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke alloy wheels painted in tremolite grey with a high-sheen finish, the AMG front apron with trim elements and striking, sporty air outlets, flared wheel arches at front and rear, painted in the vehicle colour (this 'Brilliant Blue' is one of my favourite blues out there right now but will cost you an extra €1,492).

The seats are two-tone macchiato beige/black mix of leather and upholstery (€339 extra) and come with a 4-way lumbar support.

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Mercedes GLE 350d PHEV interior

Mercedes GLE 350d PHEV interior

Mercedes GLE 350d PHEV interior

There are additional USB ports (as standard), ambient lighting (a gimmick which the kids got a great kick out of), an Interior Chrome package, the 'Mirror Package' which includes automatic dimming, folding and projection of brand logo, a gorgeous multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather, a reverse camera, wide-screen cockpit, velour floor mats and a wide-screen cockpit. This is a luxurious drive.

The driver is perched up high above most other vehicles on the road and thanks to centre console and bulky elbow shelf (not a technical term) on the door, you almost feel like you are sitting in an armchair when driving.

It loves to be driven too, and while it is huge in size it eats up rural country roads with ease and adores cornering, as all Mercs do. These hybrids come with air suspension as standard which soaks up bumps and Roscommon-based potholes.

In electric mode it glides along in utter silence, which is surprising to those outside the vehicle but to no one inside.

Motorways are chewed up. At one point I floored it and with a single shudder (largely due to its weight thanks to the battery) I was instantly transported to the speed limit without breaking into a sweat. It can do it all.

This vehicle is not cheap and starts from €86,930 with options on my test vehicle bringing it up to €95,410. But if your next car is in that price bracket then you could do a lot worse than this stunner.

Mercedes were years behind the competition when it came to electrification of cars but they learned from others' mistakes and are now producing utterly brilliant EVs and PHEVs and this tank is the latest to join the family.

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Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé

Gle coupe

Mercedes Benz offers the GLE in two styles - SUV and coupé - and Motormouths has saved the best for last.

The coupé is certainly the more stylish of the two models but it does compromise on headroom for rear-seat passengers.

What we definitely cannot fault is the economy figures and handling this big beast can deliver.

We gave the big coupé an overnight charge before heading off on a road trip to the west of Ireland.

We set off last Sunday morning on a coast-to-coast drive from east to west to see what it could do and boy did it deliver.

The overnight charge didn't quite get us the claimed 100km on the electric range, but it came in quite close at 80km.

However, the mixture of the electric power and the diesel produced some very satisfying figures when we returned to the big smoke.

We drove from the outskirts of Dublin Bay to Doolin pier in Co Clare and back in just one day and there was still more than a quarter of a tank of diesel left when we handed back they keys on Monday morning.

Add into that mix that we clocked up a fair few kilometres more taking in the stunning scenery along the Banner county's Wild Atlantic Way and took it off the beaten track to Clare's highest point via a dirt track through an unused quarry, and you might understand how impressed we were.

Even on the wet, muddy roads that tried to challenge us, the big GLE coupé couldn't put a foot wrong.

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