You will never get a shortage of spy photos if you have access in Nurburgring. Recently, spies caught a variant of the Mercedes-Benz GLE in the endurance track. What made this model special is that it is a plug-in hybrid—a feature that was given away when the vehicle was caught juicing up its battery in a charging station.
According to TopSpeed, the subject of the spy shots shown here will debut in 2015 under a 2016 model year. The report noted that the GLE would be the first SUV of the three-pointed star marque to offer a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
No official hint was given by the German automaker yet regarding the engine powering up the spied 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Plug-in Hybrid. However, the source speculated that it might carry a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with at least 200 hp. Then, it would likely be mated with an electric motor that would provide the SUV with additional 80 hp. The report also claimed the power of the GLE Plug-in Hybrid would be distributed via a seven-speed automatic transmission gearbox.
Furthermore, TopSpeed pointed out that the said SUV would be Mercedes’ answer to the BMW X5 and Audi Q7. On the other hand, a related report from GT Spirit revealed Audi is presently working on a plug-in variant of its next-generation Q7. The other source mentioned it would probably have an output of 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque.
Therefore, judging the possible rivals of the next-generation GLE Plug-in Hybrid, particularly the Q7 plug-in, Mercedes might try to reach a total level of output similar to them.