2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e: Proving Even Hybrid SUVs Don’t Have to Be Slow [Video]

These days, in addition to aiding efficiency, hybrid powertrains can also bolster performance.

Consider this: Twenty years ago, automakers were just introducing the world to this concept of using electric motors with gasoline engines. Back then, we had cars with such sporting pretensions as the original Prius. Or the funky Honda Insight. They were certainly efficient, but speed wasn’t part of the mantra. Now, though, things have changed. We have a wild array of cars with high-performance hybrid powertrains. Here, electric motors are used to aid performance as much as efficiency. That’s where the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e comes in.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e Plug-in Hybrid
Photo: Mercedes-Benz]

Under the hood of this ordinary-looking Mercedes SUV is an engine, as you’d expect. It’s a 3.0-liter biturbo V6. On its own, that powertrain would probably suit the GLE 550 just fine. However, with an 85 kW (113 horsepower) electric motor on board, the plug-in hybrid version is quick. Actually, with 436 horsepower and 473 lb-ft of torque combined, it’s properly quick. Just how fast is it in the sprint to 60 MPH? We took it to IMI Motorsports Park in Dacono, Colorado to find out. Watch the video above for the results!

In addition to its multiple drive modes – Comfort, Sport, Slippery (for wet conditions), and Individual – the Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e also has multiple modes to direct its electric power. By default, there’s Hybrid mode, which drives the car on electric power entirely, or uses that motor to aid performance. On top of that, there’s E-Mode, which drives on electricity alone without the gas engine (unless you floor it or the battery runs low). Then, there’s Charge mode, which tops off the battery using the engine and regenerative braking. There’s also E-Save mode once its charged up, so the Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e won’t use the electric motor as a wingman to aid performance.

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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e Plug-in Hybrid
[Photo: Mercedes-Benz]