- Revised engine range
- Plenty of kit on offer
- More modern looking
- Not as good to drive as some rivals
- Large potholes can upset ride
- May not be as frugal as rivals
The well loved but ageing ML has finally been replaced by GLE. The designers have been given what looks like a blank page, the lines are curvier and much more aesthetically pleasing. It receives the family face on the front and it has been brought much more in to line with the current crop of Mercedes cars. Mercedes has confirmed to Motoring.co.uk that the 'GL' tag refers to Mercedes' SUV range, while the 'E' part points to the comparable car it's related to; in this case, the Mercedes E-Class saloon. Glad we’ve cleared that up.
Rivals include the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, can GLE overcome the competition? Find out below.
On The Road
The entry-level four-cylinder GLE 250d is powered by a 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 201bhp and comes with 500Nm of torque. Performance levels are good. This model will get from zero to 62mph in 8.6 seconds and go on to a top speed of 132mph.
Up next is the 3.0-litre turbo V6 diesel in the GLE 350d. It has a power output of 254bhp and 620Nm of torque. This means it will complete the benchmark sprint in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph.
If you fancy doing your thing for the environment, don’t worry - the GLE 500e hybrid is no slouch. Producing 346bhp and 650Nm it will reach 62mph from a standing start in 5.3 seconds and has a top speed of 152mph.
Need more oomph? Then there’s the AMG GLE 63 S V8. Fast and furious it is, it will get from zero to 62mph in 4.2 seconds, while its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
It may not feel as good to drive as say a BMW X5, however, it’s not bad. This is a big car but it feels fairly agile while the Mercedes’ Drive Select system does help. It allows the driver to adjust the weight of the steering and the throttle response. You can toggle between three modes, Slippery, Comfort and Sport.
Choose the 350d and this model adds Airmatic air suspension with adaptive dampers. You can change the firmness of the ride depending on how you want to drive - a great addition to this car while permanent four-wheel drive is standard across the range.
Large potholes can upset the ride, which is not brilliant considering the road network in the UK. Our advice is to choose the smallest alloys available to lessen the lumps and bumps in the roads and make sure to toggle to comfort mode when pootling around town.
Switch into Sport mode and the car is noticeably firmer – great for cornering, however, your passengers may not thank you. Road, tyre and engine levels are good and do not affect noise levels in the cabin.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Four trim levels are offered, Sport, AMG Line, designo Line and AMG.
All models come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, Mercedes’ Dynamic Select system, satnav, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, Bluetooth, DAB radio, cruise control, 19-inch alloys.
On the inside, the cabin has had a huge overhaul from the previous cabin, there’s a new central tablet screen. This is flanked by two large air vents AND it certainly gives the cabin the air of a more modern feel.
Space & Practicality
Mercedes cars are well known for having vast interior space whether in the cabin or in the boot and the GLE is no different. It is huge. There’s tons of headroom and legroom, so long journeys should be child’s play. With the rear seats in place, the GLE offers a load space of 690 litres, however, the hybrid has 480 litres as the battery pack eats into the space.
The entry-level GLE 250d averages 47.9mpg and emits 155g/km CO2 while the 350d averages a claimed 42.8mpg combined and 174g/km CO2.
The hybrid GLE 500e’s emits an impressive 78g/km CO2 total (84g/km on the smaller wheels) while the claimed 76.4mpg looks ambitious in-world driving conditions.
Quality & Reliability
Based on the E-class, this GLE should fare well. Mercedes has been working hard to improve its reliability record so it is a matter of watching this space.
Safety & Security
Safety kit is high on the GLE. Innovations include an adaptive bonnet that pops up in the event of a pedestrian impact to cushion the blow, as well as Attention assist that monitors driver behaviour and informs you of when you should take a break. That’s not it, there’s also Collision prevention assist plus and Crosswind assist to help on open roads. We expect this car to achieve five stars when test by Euro NCAP.