The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S off-roader has been announced, spelling the end of the ML and the beginning of a new naming system first seen with the GLE Coupe crossover.
Like the Mercedes ML it replaces, the GLE is designed to conquer tough terrain with the family in tow. In AMG 63 S form it also has the added benefit of 585hp and 760Nm of torque developed by a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8.
0 to 62mph takes just 4.2 seconds, which is ridiculous for any vehicle let alone a sports utility vehicle, while the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph but can be increased to 174mph if you spec the AMG Driver’s package.
Below the GLE 63 S are three non-AMG variants, the most powerful of which is the 500 e 4Matic. It has a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and a 116hp electric motor, resulting in a hybrid capable of producing 650Nm of torque.
Fuel economy is a claimed 85.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are just 78g/km. No doubt the real world figures will be significantly less generous, but at least it can travel 30km on electric alone, saving you from having to waste fuel on short journeys.
Further down the range is the 250 d four-cylinder diesel (available in two and all-wheel drive) and the GLE 350 d 4Matic V6 diesel, the former capable of 204hp and 500Nm and the latter 258hp and 620Nm. Fuel economy is 49.5 and 44.1mpg, respectively.
Dynamic Select lets the driver swap between up to six different drive programmes, including Slippery, Sport, Comfort and Offroad. Spec the Off-Road Engineering package and you can choose Offroad+ for even better terrain-conquering performance.
Up to 285mm of ground clearance and protection underneath the car, meanwhile, lets the GLE conquer harsh terrain and wade through water up to 600mm in depth – just in case you encouter a particularly deep puddle on the school run.
A quick lesson on the naming convention of Mercedes SUVs going forward. There’s the GLA (SUV in the A-class), GLC (C-class, formerly GLK), GLE (E-class, formerly M), GLE Coupe (E-class coupe), GLS (S-class, formerly GL) and G (unchanged). Got it?
Expect to see the GLE 63 S and its less ridiculous cousins from September 2015 in the UK. Prices and specifications will be announced nearer then.