It’s anticipated to be the start of a new era for Mercedes-Benz. The existing M-Class is being ‘spruced up’ once again and it’s rumored that the M could instead become GLE. Though this has not been confirmed as of yet, it would make sense with the E stating the class in which the car falls under as Mercedes look to reinstate their classings.
Newly taken spy photos show what is undoubtedly the existing M-class with a few different aesthetic features, and essentially the plug-in charger located just above the rear bumper.
What drive-train will be used to power the luxury crossover? It’s currently unknown but speculation suggests two possible candidates; the S500, which hosts a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and an 80-kilowatt electric motor capable of 100 mpg. Additionally, this set-up in the current S500 hybrid Mercedes can match the 0-62 time of the Porsche Boxter S. Another likely contender is the C-Class PHEV turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine making 208 hp with an electric motor.
Although appearance is bound to change due to the fact that the car isn’t expected to be officially revealed until next summer it seems that there are various modifications made in comparison to its predecessors of the same class. The headlights seem to have gone under the hammer, fitting the Mercedes suave bill as they take a slight reshape, fitting in to the newly designed grill.
Mercedes has also jazzed up the exhausts with a slightly sportier feel to them now, positioned downward facing in the rear bumper, similar to the Porsche Cayenne S E-hybrid which once completed it will be running against in the same luxury crossover class.
Last month, Thomas Weber, head of group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development at Daimler AG, explained at a press conference in Stuttgart for the first show of the S550 that “We will have a plug-in hybrid version of every volume model,”. He went on to explain how by 2017 Mercedes plans to have released 10 plug-in hybrids, though did not specify timings.
Weber added that by 2020, compact front-wheel-drive vehicles such as the A class, CLA and GLA also will also be offered as plug-in hybrids.
Mercedes, and therefore Daimler too, have stated their intent for fending the opposing competition off by setting large goals especially in the plug-in hybrid field. It will be interesting to see whether by the end of 2017 how the proposed plug-ins fare in the constantly evolving hybrid market.