Mercedes plugs in GLC and GLE SUVs for 2020

  • Mercedes adds plug-in hybrids to SUV range
  • Petrol-hybrid for GLCs in both body styles
  • Plus diesel-hybrid for the larger GLE

Not only is Mercedes-Benz continually expanding its range of SUVs, its now making them available with a wider range of engines. Hybrid versions of the GLC and GLE have been added. The larger car gets a diesel plug-in option, while the smaller gets a petrol plug-in across both SUV and Coupe body styles.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de 4Matic (that's a diesel plug-in hybrid with four-wheel drive) and the GLC 300 e 4Matic (petrol plug-in four-wheel drive) are on sale now, joining Mercedes' ever expanding plug-in range, which should swell to 20 models by the end of 2020. First deliveries of these models are expected in the summer.

These come off the back of the all-electric EQC, as well as plug-in variants of its popular A-Class and B-Class models.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 e 4Matic

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 e plug-in hybrid AMG Line

Powered by a combination of a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 13.5kWh battery, Mercedes' mid-range GLC SUV has a pure electric range of 24-27 miles according to the latest WLTP real world testing (29 miles NEDC).

Fuel economy is rated at 113-129mpg, but you’ll need to be charging it as frequently as possible and barely using that petrol engine, while CO2 emissions are measured at 51-57 g/km. From a home wallbox, it should fully charge from zero in 1.5 hours.

It’s also available in all trim levels that are available on petrol and diesel GLCs, meaning AMG Line kicks off the line-up, with more kit available across AMG Line Premium, Premium Plus and Ultimate levels. Go for that top-spec Ultimate and you’ll get 20-inch alloy wheels and air suspension.

You’re probably better off going for a Premium or Premium Plus car, both of which still feature those big alloy wheels, but still have multibeam LED headlamps, full leather interior, a more advanced sat-nav system and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (on top of the regular MBUX infotainment setup).

Unlike the larger GLE, boot space is down in comparison to the regular model. With the seats up, it drops from 550 to 395 litres (up to the load cover). Seats down, it goes down from 1,600 to 1,445 litres.

Prices start at £49,687 for the GLC 300 e AMG Line, while the Coupe variant starts at £52,562.

Mercedes GLE 350 de 4Matic

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de plug-in hybrid - plugged-in and on charge

While many plug-in hybrids (like the GLC above) use petrol engines, Mercedes has introduced diesel plug-in hybrids to its larger cars. There’s already an E-Class with this setup, and now the GLE SUV gets the same treatment, badged GLE 350 de 4Matic.

It uses a 2.0-litre diesel with 194hp and 400Nm of torque, while the 31.2kWh battery adds an extra 136hp and 440Nm of torque, making for a strong performer, despite its eco credentials.

The GLE's all-important all-electric range is around 62 miles. To put that into context, Volvo's plug-in XC90 (badged T8) will only do around 34 miles on electrical charge. It takes 20-30 minutes to recharge the battery (from 10-80%) at a rapid charging point, while a wallbox should charge it from 10-100% capacity in just over three hours.

It's also brisk: the 0-62mph time is clocked at 6.8 seconds, and it can do 99mph just using electric power. Although how long you could do 99mph in pure electric mode remains to be seen (but only where laws permit).

2020 Mercedes GLE plug-in hybrid plugged in

Towing capacity is a generous 3,500kg, while Trailer Manoeuvring Assist controls the steering angle automatically.

Fuel economy from the combined power sources, consisting of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine and 31.2kWh battery, is officially 257mpg, while it emits only 29g/km of CO2.

What's doubly clever about this is that despite adding the hybrid technology and a whopping great battery, the boot doesn't lose any space thanks to a modified rear axle. This means it still has 1,915 litres of space in the back with the rear seats folded flat.

Just AMG Line-based trims are available, with that model kicking things off, moving up to AMG Line Premium and Premium Plus above that. All cars come well specified, but Premium Plus throws in features like keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof, Burmester sound system upgrade and something called Air-Balance package, as well as Energising package.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE interior - left-hand drive

These are programmes you can activate in the car to promote wellbeing while on long journeys, by altering things like the seat position and climate control to keep you comfortable and alert.

We’d recommend going straight down the middle with the AMG Line Premium model, as it includes niceties like electric seats, 360-degree cameras and upgraded LED headlights over the standard AMG Line ones.

The GLE kicks off at £61,360, while an extra £3,500 gets you the Premium upgrade. You’ll need to spend another £3,500 again for the Premium Plus.

What this means for you

For those who want to save on their company car tax, but aren't ready to go for the full-electric experience, a plug-in hybrid is always a good alternative. The Mercedes-Benz options are generous in how far they'll go on battery power only, epecially the GLE, making these more usable as electric commuter cars that will switch to a conventional engine when needed for longer trips.

Further reading:

>> Read our full Mercedes-Benz GLC review

>> Read our full Mercedes-Benz GLE review

>> Read our full Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe review