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Mercedes-Benz GLE gains power, efficiency in wider model range (pictures)

NEW YORK -- At the 2015 New York auto show, Mercedes-Benz showed off a wider model range than ever for its GLE SUV, formerly the ML model, with a high-powered AMG version and a very economical plug-in hybrid.

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Wayne Cunningham

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Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Mercedes-Benz enacted a name change for many of its models last year, updating its old ML five passenger SUV with a GLE name plate.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

At the New York auto show, Mercedes-Benz showed more than just a name change, giving the newly christened GLE new drivetrains and performance technology.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

The Mercedes-AMG GLE63 is a new high-performance version in the GLE line.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

As per Mercedes-AMG styling, this model gets a single-bar grille.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system comes standard on the GLE63.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

An air suspension can increase ground clearance, but can also stiffen the suspension for better handling.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Mercedes-AMG fits the GLE63 with a 5.5-liter V-8 engine using twin turbochargers, one for each bank of cylinders.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Output from the GLE63's twin turbo V-8 is rated at 550 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, while a GLE63 S version increases output to 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet or torque.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

A system called Active Curve uses the GLE63's stabilizer bars to counteract roll in the turns and keep the tires in full contact with the pavement.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

An LED headlight system will be available.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

The 21-inch wheels suit the proportions of the GLE63.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

In the cabin, the Mercedes-Benz Comand interface includes this ergonomic touch controller for navigation, stereo and phone systems.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

A dial next to the Comand controller lets you choose drive settings, affecting suspension and engine response.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

As a high-trim model, the cabin features many material options, such as leather, carbon fiber and aluminum.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Sport seats feature the AMG logo.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

The speedometer goes up to 200 mph.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Rear-seat passengers can enjoy individual entertainment screens.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Carbon fiber trim surrounds Mercedes-Benz's traditional door-mounted seat controls.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

A flat-bottom steering wheel emphasizes the GL63's sport focus.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Mercedes-AMG GLE63

The Mercedes-AMG GLE63 joins a very small set of high-performance SUVs when it hits the market.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

As another option in Mercedes-Benz's GLE lineup, the GLE550e provides a sweet spot of power and efficiency.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

The GLE550e is a plug-in hybrid, adding electric propulsion to its twin turbocharged 3-liter V-6.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

Mercedes-Benz rates the output from the GLE550e's drivetrain at 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The GLE550e is also capable of driving under electric power alone, with a stated range of 18.6 miles.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

The GLE550e comes standard with all-wheel drive, called 4Matic by Mercedes-Benz. The gasoline filler sits at its usual place on the right rear fender, while a charging port for the batter is mounted on the left corner of the bumper.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

Wood trim and quilted upholstery adorn the cabin, emphasizing Mercedes-Benz's luxury side.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

Mercedes-Benz's cabin electronics include the center screen with navigation, app integration, stereo and hands-free phone system.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

The center screen can show a power flow animation, a real-time schematic of engine and battery output.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

The driver can choose Comfort, Sport and Snow settings with this center dial.

Mercedes-Benz G550e
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Mercedes-Benz G550e

An 8.5-kilowatt lithium ion battery pack intrudes into the cargo area, raising the load floor by about 6 inches.

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