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Mercedes-Benz unveils GLC and GLE plug-in hybrids

New electric hybrid tech reaches Mercedes’ updated GLC 350e petrol and GLE 350de diesel hybrids.

Mercedes-Benz will concentrate on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) at the Frankfurt motor show this week, unveiling its GLC and GLE plug-ins ahead of the show’s opening.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power

The updated GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power brings a larger 13.5kWh lithium-ion battery to the third-generation vehicle, charged via a port on the rear and providing up to 43km of electric-only driving range according to its World harmonised Light vehicle Testing Procedure (WLTP) rating.

Underneath the bonnet is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which develops 155kW of power and 349Nm of torque. A single 90kW/440Nm electric motor augments total output to 235kW and 700Nm. That’s good enough to see the GLC PHEV dispatch the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.7 seconds, heading up to a top speed of 230km/h.

Visual changes are minimal, with unique EQ badging, LED head and taillights and tweaks to the front and rear fascias. The small battery does not impede much on boot space, which measures 395-litres.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de 4Matic plug-in hybrid

Larger than the GLC, the diesel GLE 350de 4Matic joins the GLE 350e petrol plug-in hybrid on stage in Germany.

It packs a larger 31.2kWh lithium-ion battery but its heft punishes acceleration. However, the diesel PHEV claims double the fully-electric driving range, rated at up to 99km on the WLTP.

Equipped with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine, it combines with the 101kW electric motor to produce 239kW and 700Nm, claiming a 0-100km/h run in 6.8 seconds, and a top speed at 210km/h. Towing capacity on the diesel hybrid is a healthy 3500kg braked.

Charging time is also impressive, the battery going from 10 to 80 percent in 20 minutes on a DC fast-charger unit. Left into the socket for 30 minutes, the charge goes from 10 percent to full.

Boot space takes a hit though, dropping from 2055-litres to 1915L. Mercedes says the sacrifice to cargo volume was minimised by using a unique rear-end design with a modified axle underneath.

The two models are part of more than 20 plug-in hybrid models Mercedes-Benz plans to launch in the next two years.


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Alex Rae

Alex Rae