Mercedes-Benz have been about the sport utility vehicle (SUV) business for many years now and that expertise shows in their ability to judge the right vehicle for the right sector. The GLE is one such model; one of the best long-haul, family-friendly SUV’s available today and what’s more it comes in two body styles. The regular models offers a choice of five or seven seats while the coupé version adds some athletic styling.
On The Outside
Imposing is the word here: It’s big with a tall, well proportioned body, tons of space and some added luxury touches. On and off the road, the GLE just looks capable thanks to a long wheelbase, short overhangs and large, flush fitting wheels. Despite the size, it floats through the air with the greatest of ease thanks to a really low drag
coefficient. That’s good design.
Further, the striking design is enhanced by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated under-guard and the bonnet (hood) with two power-domes adding emphasis. This striking appearance is further enhanced by the distinctive headlamp design. Optional multi-beam headlights project a particularly long-range beam of light.
On The Inside
The interior of the GLE is a bit special and there’s plenty of room for the family. The front seats offer superior support and have plenty of adjustment. A nice option to have is a special second seat row with six fully electric adjustment options. Adds to the bill of course, but makes long journeys even more stress-free for passengers.
The rear seats split in a 40:20:40 ratio and the backrest can also be completely folded down electrically, using a switch in the luggage compartment. The luggage capacity is up to 825 litres behind the rear seats, and up to 2055 litres when the second seat row is folded down. Even more flexibility is possible with the optional, folding third seat row (not on the coupé), which provides two extra seats. Thanks to the ‘Easy Entry’ function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can easily reach their seats without an unseemly scramble.
The GLE has a 12.3” digital instrument cluster as standard and which offers really clean, clear graphics displaying a vast array of customisable driving information. The comfortable steering wheel has touch-sensitive controls and the few remaining buttons on the dashboard are within easy reach of the driver, as is the central control touchpad. MBUX technology abounds with all the latest in infotainment and driver assistance.
On The Road
The ride is great being both comfortable and agile. Further, this can be improved upon by the optional ‘E-Active Body Control’ suspension, which is combined with the newly developed ‘AIRMATIC’ air suspension. This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat. This function delivers an extraordinary level of comfort which Mercedes-Benz claim to be the world's most intelligent SUV suspension.
Drivers who like a slightly stiffer air suspension should step up the range to the GLE 53 variant. It may not be so silky smooth over damaged highways but is super-comfortable on country roads thanks to superior body control. Vertical movements are suppressed when driving over a crest, say.
Power comes from a selection of diesel engines plus the alternative of a petrol version, the latter augmented with 48volt hybrid technology. All deliver when it comes to performance and, of course, buyers who would like to import this fine SUV can also choose the range-topping AMG variant. In all variants of the new GLE, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission and 4MATIC delivers all-wheel-drive, as ever.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE comes with an impressive list of standard safety equipment, including blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping. It also has an enviable record of reliability, which can’t be said for some of the popular SUV competition. Find out more by contacting us here at MHH Japanese Cars.