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GLE 550e is finally here!

 
Old 11-25-2016, 09:15 PM
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GLE 550e, BMW Z3
GLE 550e is finally here!

After sitting in Alabama for weeks, the Dealer emailed me to day to let me know that the 550e was on their lot. Was told they needed 90 minutes notice if I was going to take the car. This is because there was a color change from what I ordered with regard to the headliner and I wanted to check it out. Was told I could come look at it anytime though. I left work early, went home to find my post turkey day lunch almost ready. After eating, I emptied out my trade and headed down to the dealer about 50 minutes away. They close at 6 and it was about 3:50. Took a little longer due to some traffic, got there about 4:50.

When I arrived my salesman told me the car was plugged in on the lot. I walked over and to my surprise it was plugged in, but not prepped in any way. Seats covered in plastic, cardboard strewn about, and plastic still on the outside. The salesman advised me they still needed the pre-delivery inspection to be performed and to clean up the car, which they could not do tonight. They wanted to do the sales paperwork, and bring my car to me tomorrow and pick up the trade. Mentally, if I was doing the paperwork, I was not prepared to take my trade back home. I suggested leaving the trade and asked for a loaner. The salesman checked, and came back and said ok.

The paperwork was mostly a breeze. I had a check from my credit union at a rate the dealer could not beat. I wanted to lower my payment a smidge, so I put some additional money on a credit card (the loan check was for any amount up to a certain amount and the car was under that, but I was aiming for a specific payment and has some cash to put down). Light sales pitch on the extended warranty and appearance packages. 3 year maintenance was thrown in as an extra for the delay in getting the vehicle (dealer said MB was going to cover it) due to whatever caused the delay (EPA? ) while my trade sat and lost value...In the end I got 1K less for my trade than it had been appraised for in July when I ordered the car.

Dealer gave me a new 2017 GLE 350 (about 450 miles on the clock) to drive home. They offered to deliver the car tomorrow, but I said I would come back and pick it up. I want to put those first miles on it myself. Driving the GLE home gave me the opportunity to really play with the controls, which will be similar to my 550e, although I got P3 so there will be a lot more gadgets to work out on mine.

It's been a long road since July, first the waiting for the original build which was scheduled for mid-September, then the delay for unknown reasons in the production, and finally the delay after it was built in delivery. The sales experience was mostly great. Pricing was great off the bat, I did not have to or want to haggle. Trade was a little low, but I have come to expect that, and it was on par with what CarMax offered to buy it for, plus in MD I get a tax break on the trade in. At the end of the day, the price was about 12.5% below MSRP, or about $4200 below invoice as best I can figure. This was with the additional USAA fleet discount which is up to 2K for November.

Specs are as follows:

GLE 550e (only comes in 4matic)
Black exterior/ Saddle Brown interior
Premium Package 3
Ventilated seats
Multi-contour seats with massage
Soft close doors
Magic Vision
Heated steering wheel
Aluminum running boards
Approximately $4000 tax credit in early 2017 when I file my taxes.

MSRP $75605.00

Pics to follow after I bring it home tomorrow. Then I need a level 2 EVSE installed to cut the charging time down.

DarrenK

Last edited by DarrenK; 11-26-2016 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 11-26-2016, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DarrenK View Post

Then I need a level 2 EVSE installed to cut the charging time down.

DarrenK
I'm assuming this is some kind of special charger for your house (or wherever you park the car). How much time does it cut down on? Is this an easy install or something expensive that only an electrician can do? What is the normal charge time when using a standard home outlet? I'm just curious because I've never researched these types of cars but I know I'll probably have to do it one day.
Looking forward to seeing some pictures too! Congratulations.
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:02 AM
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Congrats! Look forward to pics!
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:11 AM
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GLE 550e, BMW Z3
Originally Posted by BACnMercedes View Post
I'm assuming this is some kind of special charger for your house (or wherever you park the car). How much time does it cut down on? Is this an easy install or something expensive that only an electrician can do? What is the normal charge time when using a standard home outlet? I'm just curious because I've never researched these types of cars but I know I'll probably have to do it one day.
Looking forward to seeing some pictures too! Congratulations.
Yes, it is special equipment. Technically it is not a charger, although many people call it that. EVSE stands for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. The charger is actually built into the car. The car controls the flow of electricity. It can be a very easy install if you already have a high voltage outlet (like a dryer outlet) available. Unless you are qualified, I would not try to run a 220/240 volt line from the breaker box, so most folks (like me) will need to have an electrician do it. The car does come with a Level 1 EVSE which charges at a lower (and slower) rate, and uses a regular outlet. The EVSE is the power cable that is used to supply the electricity to the car's charger.

Charging time with the supplied Level 1 EVSE is supposed to be about 7 hours (good for overnight charging). The product specialist at the dealer told me it can take longer than that, depending on how good your electrical service is. I have excellent electrical service, so I think it should be fine. The Level 2 EVSE can charge in as little as 2.5 hours from 0% to 100% charge. The max amps needed is about 20. However, I plan on putting a 50 amp line in (which can take a 40 amp EVSE - you have to have 25% overage built in per code) and a NEMA 14-50 plug. This is because manufacturers are already putting chargers in some cars capable of using the higher amperage, so to some extent the higher rated line will future proof the setup.

Also, EVSEs come in many different set-ups, including a variety of plug options, and hardwired versions. I may move in the next year or two, so I am getting a plug in version so I can take it with me. The cost will depend on the length of the run from your circuit breaker, and whether you want it inside the drywall or out, and of course whether it is hardwired.

I hope this info helps.
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:31 PM
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congrats DarrenK
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:29 PM
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GLE 550e, BMW Z3
First pic

Spent most of today traveling to the dealer, getting trained on some of the features and then driving the wife around. First a late lunch after the dealer, then her parents to take them for a ride, then the movies, then Lowes to look at an EVSE. I think she just liked the heated massaging seats! Anyway I managed to get a pic coming out of the theater. More to follow when I have some time. Right now it is in the garage, plugged in for my first trip to work (sadly on a Sunday) tomorrow on all electric.
Attached Thumbnails GLE  550e is finally here!-20161126_182654.jpg  

Last edited by DarrenK; 11-26-2016 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 12-01-2016, 08:03 PM
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Congrats Darren!!!! An exciting day for sure!

Can't wait for you to get a full charge, you'll be doing wheelies in 1st and 2nd gear!
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Old 12-01-2016, 09:45 PM
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where is the charging port on the car for hookup. Cant tell in the picture
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Isawelvis View Post
where is the charging port on the car for hookup. Cant tell in the picture
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Old 12-01-2016, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Nor Cal SL55 View Post
Congrats Darren!!!! An exciting day for sure!

Can't wait for you to get a full charge, you'll be doing wheelies in 1st and 2nd gear!


Thanks NorCal. I have actually been charging at home with the supplied 110v charger. Ironically the product specialist at the dealer told me it was only for emergency use. That is not what the manual or the booklet with the charger [sic] say. But a lot of his information was wrong. I have been studying this car since July and he got quite a few things wrong. The car is powerful, and fun to drive, but per the owners manual I am keeping the revs low for the first 1k miles. I will actually extend that because currently a significant portion of the miles are in electric, so of course the engine is not running and thus not breaking in. I wish they had a dedicated tripometer for that, but I just plan on not resetting the one which is continuous.

Loving this car right now and managed to sna a pic of the interior today including a shot of the contrast stitching on the dash which matches the saddle brown seats. It looks great!




Last edited by DarrenK; 12-02-2016 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 12-02-2016, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by DarrenK View Post
Spent most of today traveling to the dealer, getting trained on some of the features and then driving the wife around.
Congratulations! She's a real beauty.
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Old 12-02-2016, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by DarrenK View Post

Thanks NorCal. I have actually been charging at home with the supplied 110v charger. Ironically the product specialist at the dealer told me it was only for emergency use.
Been using the supplied charger for 4000 miles up to this point and it works just fine.
I just ordered a new level II charger yesterday and it is coming next week.

Beautiful interior! Enjoy the vehicle!
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Old 12-02-2016, 04:31 PM
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Sweet! How is the cargo space? Does the battery take up much cargo space?
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Old 12-03-2016, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Nor Cal SL55 View Post
Been using the supplied charger for 4000 miles up to this point and it works just fine.
I just ordered a new level II charger yesterday and it is coming next week.

Beautiful interior! Enjoy the vehicle!
I too just ordered a level 2 charger. There are only a handful on the market, and they all have their pluses and minuses. I went with the Clipper Creek, mostly because there were only 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. All the others had at least some negative (and even a little concerning) feedback. Now if only the electrician would call me back.

Thanks for the compliment. The contrast stitching was a very pleasant surprise. I am also pleased that the Saddle Brown Interior was a lot more brown, and a lot less orange than the Mercedes website portrayed. I wanted something that would hide the dirt better than light colored seats as we are expecting our first child in April. And black just gets so very hot. I like the way it turned out.

Last edited by DarrenK; 12-03-2016 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 12-03-2016, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by janky View Post
Sweet! How is the cargo space? Does the battery take up much cargo space?
Cargo space is severely impacted. Mercedes is really the only plug-in Hybrd SUV with such an obvious battery hump. The BMX X5 40e, Volvo XC90 T8 and Porsche Cayenne eHybrid all do a much better job. In fact, when loading something into the car this week, it became super evident that the trunk area is very high.

However, let me be clear that I knew about this going in. I test drove every other vehicle, and Mercedes was the clear winner. The X5 40e has a 4 cylinder engine. When the battery is not assisting, it is just way too underpowered. Plus, honestly, I see a TON of X5's where I live. I would say they are ubiquitous. I wanted something a little special, and the 550e is pretty rare. The Cayenne is also rare, but their implementation of the electric drive was poor. Unlike BMW and Mercedes who mount the electric drive in the transmission, they have an electric motor at the rear wheel. And the electric motor is underpowered. To keep the car in electric, you cannot exceed the pedal detent (although the detent is a feature I liked). And the acceleration was pitifully slow if you keep it in electric. The rear motor is only 47kwh. Porsche knows this is a problem, and I understand the 2018 will have an 80-90Kwh motor (and a larger battery capacity in the same sized shell - an improvment in the actual battery). I loved everything else about the Porsche (except the price). The cockpit is just amazing, as is the look and the hyrbid badging, which is an electric (lime) green. But also, since only the rear wheels are electric powered, you don't get electric all wheel drive. The Volvo XC90 T8 is a magnificent car. The battery is in the floor of the vehicle, and so you truly get a full sized SUV. It drove well. And it can seat seven. It also comes with a level 2 charging cord, a big plus. But to me it looks like an oversized station wagon. I LOVED the nappa leather in the Inscription version. It was as buttery soft as any car I have ever seen. I think Mercedes has a Nappa leather option, but you have to get sport seats or something, and it is not available in the saddle brown. The Volvo uses two electric motors, one in the front, and one in the rear to drive the car in electric. Because there is no transaxle, they were able to put the battery in the floor. And the engine, while a four cylinder, is both turbocharged AND supercharged, and had plenty of power. The huge Sensus screen is very very cool (I love tech). At the end of the day, it was a close second choice, mostly because it came late to the decision making process. Volvo lowered the MSRP by 4K which brought it into the conversation, but I had mostly decided on the Mercedes at that point. The final tipping point was, oddly, the size. My wife had just gotten a Volvo XC60, and space in our garage was at a premium. The XC90 T8 is both longer and wider than the GLE 550e. I can say affirmatively now that I made the right choice. I can, with trepidation, squeeze the GLE into the garage alongside the XC60. I suspect the Volvo would not fit. Plus the Volvo charging port is on the front driver's side, which would have created it's own issues since I have to park on the right, and we might not have been able to get by in the small gap between the vehicles if the car was plugged in.

Another factor which came into play was that the Mercedes can recharge while driving to 100% of electric charge. For some reason, the other manufacturers stop their regen short of that (I think Volvo is 75% and BMW is 50%). That is a nice feature, as I can get through the city, get on the highway, get to another city up or down I-95 (here on the east coast) and have a full battery when I get back to city driving.

All the plug-in hybrids get about the same claimed 18-19 miles on electric (and all really do only about 13 miles in electric)

For me, it came down to the Mercedes excelling in so may areas: electric regen, 6 cylinder engine (the 3.0L V6 that was in the GLE 400) with great oomph, the tons of awesome tech (my wife LOVES the massaging seats), the intergration of the electric drive into the transmission structure (which means I get the full benefit of the 4Matic traction) and lastly the price, which when I tacked on my USAA discount (courtesy of my wife's service) brought me in at about 12.48% below MSRP. I do not think I could have touched any of the other vehicles (maybe the BMW) for the same actual cost in dollars. It's only been a week, but I love this car!

I will follow with a full write up of the first week, pros and cons when I get a chance.

DarrenK

Last edited by DarrenK; 12-04-2016 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:39 PM
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Good review. Keep us posted. Not sure if you have, but can you list the options on your car like packages, etc
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Isawelvis View Post
Good review. Keep us posted. Not sure if you have, but can you list the options on your car like packages, etc
Thanks. As noted in my original post, the options (slightly more detailed here) are:

GLE 550e (only comes in 4matic)
Black exterior/ Saddle Brown interior
Premium Package 3 (includes a ton of stuff including Active LED Headlights, rear side shades, heated /cooled cupholders, Parking Pilot, Distance Pilot, Steering Pilot, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist)
Ventilated seats
Multi-contour seats with massage (Wife loves this)
Soft close doors
Magic Vision
Heated steering wheel
Aluminum running boards
Approximately $4000 tax credit in early 2017 when I file my taxes.

Also because it is in the "electric Mercedes Family" it has some additional features, including Time of Departure Preconditioning of the Cabin, Pre-Condition Cabin on remote opening, and the My Electric Mercedes web access (if they ever get mine working) which allows remote monitoring of the charge status and battery level, and maybe some other stuff but its not working for me now due to a glitch in getting me the proper code to enable it online. More on that later in my 1 week write-up.

Darren

Last edited by DarrenK; 12-03-2016 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 12-04-2016, 02:48 PM
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Additional pics

Had time to take a couple more pics. Car is a little dirty now, and forecast is for rain, so I passed on washing it this weekend.

Blue calipers
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:57 PM
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What is the button to the right of the driver's side cool seat button? It has what appears to be a fan blade and squiggly lines like heated seas printed on it. Is it for the heated steering wheel?
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by BACnMercedes View Post
What is the button to the right of the driver's side cool seat button? It has what appears to be a fan blade and squiggly lines like heated seas printed on it. Is it for the heated steering wheel?
That is the cabin pre-conditioning indicator. I don't get to use it much now as I am still waiting on my VVC from Mercedes to allow remote access to the electrical functions. It can also be set to turn on when the remote is used to unlock the car, or if you have a preset departure time via the in dash menu (or the app if you have a VVC). You do need a pretty good charge (the exact percentage is not stated in the manual that I could see) for it to work. According to the manual, you can heat or cool the cabin, and the color of the light will vary depending on the function. In addition to heating or cooling the cabin, the preconditioning can turn on the heated seats or turn on the seat ventilation.

The heated steering wheel switch is actually inconveniently located on the end if the stalk of the electric steering wheel adjustment lever. It's an odd placement. On my wife's new Volvo XC60 the heated steering wheel is a button on the center console which is convenient, and you can see it. The Mercedes does have a red indicator light but it is impossible to see due to placement.

Interestingly, my wife's Volvo has another neat feature which is if the temp is below a certain setting, the heated seats and heated steering wheel turn on automatically when you start the car. The Mercedes will activate precondition when you unlock it, if it is set up, but I don't think it turns the heated steering wheel on.

Last edited by DarrenK; 12-05-2016 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 12-06-2016, 11:26 AM
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what size are the rims and were they upgrades or standard i like their appearance
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Old 12-06-2016, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Isawelvis View Post
what size are the rims and were they upgrades or standard i like their appearance
They are the standard 19" rims that come on the 550e. But if anyone wants to trade for the chrome w/ black 20" rims that come on the AMG/Night package, I would seriously consider it.

Last edited by DarrenK; 12-06-2016 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 12-06-2016, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DarrenK View Post
They are the standard 20" rims that come on the 550e. But if anyone wants to trade for the chrome w/ black 20" rims that come on the AMG/Night package, I would seriously consider it.
Nice car, enjoy it! These rims are 19" as far as I know.
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Old 12-06-2016, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by yavor View Post
Nice car, enjoy it! These rims are 19" as far as I know.
You are 100% right. They are 19".
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Old 12-11-2016, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BACnMercedes View Post
What is the button to the right of the driver's side cool seat button? It has what appears to be a fan blade and squiggly lines like heated seas printed on it. Is it for the heated steering wheel?
If you stop at the store on a HOT day and want to run in and get something, you can use this button to keep the air conditioning on while your in the store while turning your car off. Same/similar if you want heat. It also turns on the cup cooler/heater system that is available with this option.

As Darren states, there are quite a few things this will do. Learning, knowing, and the actual need of these features is a little mind boggling to me.
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