Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC SUV (2020)

Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC SUV (2020)

Price:  $72,800 (MSRP)

Price as tested: $107,840

Engine: 48 Volt – 3.0-liter turbo and e-supercharged DOHC 24-valve I-6 plus (21-hp/184-lb-ft electric motor),

Trans:  9G-TRONIC (automatic)

Power:  362 hp @ 5500 – 6100 rpm

Torque: 369 lb-ft @1600 – 4500 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,700 – 4,900 lbs 2130 – 2222/ kgs

Fuel Consumption: (L12.6 /100km – City/Hwy (Our Combined Total)

New for 2020: The term new and improved gets bandied about quite a bit these days, but in this case – it is well warranted. Where to begin? Well let’s start with the GLE 450’s bump up in size. The wheelbase has gone from 114.72 in (2915 mm) to it’s now 117.9in (2995 mm) which translates into a roomier, more comfy 2nd row of seating. Third row seating is optional, but for my money, I’d rather the increased cargo size that accompanies keeping it a 5 passenger. There is also a new (optional) E-Active Body Control System along with the MBUX infotainment system… more on those in a minute,

Segment Competitors:  Porsche Cayenne/ BMW X5/ Lincoln Aviator/ Audi Q7

The Skinny: The powertrain specifics are a hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine  producing 362 hp and 369 lb/ft of torque with an electric motor adding in an extra boost of 21 hp and 184 lb/ft hooking up to what is being called a 9G-TRONIC (or 9 speed automatic). As alluded to, there is the E-Active Body Control System (EABC) that permits independent control of each damper via its 48-volt driven air spring/ electro-hydrolic system… and is activated by a one touch control touchscreen. We’re talking seriously cool here. Imagine being jammed off-road somewhere, off kilter and unable to make any ground contact with one of your wheels, and with a simple touch command, drop the offending wheel a few inches while raising the other side up a few… et voila, you’re back on sure footing. The use of variable torque when using low gears is also a new technology employed with the GLE. Not sure how many will be going exploring too far off-road with theirs, but very cool technology none the less.

Back on the blacktop, the technical wonders continue with cameras scanning the road ahead and then correctly adjusting the lean of the vehicle for track ready lean-in cornering. Which for a weighty mid-sized SUV, might seem a little odd and create some nose dipping, however dial down the speed a bit and you are rewarded with the unbelievably silky ride that the EABC system serves up… with handling to match. Inside the cockpit – it is quiet… I mean confessional like quiet. Although you may not want be confessing anything in particular, as you will be heard. This brings us to another high-end, high-tech component of this ride – the MBUX. That acronym stands for Mercedes-Benz User Experience, and is a cloud-powered infotainment command center c/with a large flat screen display console serving as the instrument cluster. Natural language recognition means that anytime you want to tell the system that your cold, or want directions to somewhere, open the sunroof or fix a martini (ok maybe not the later) you have but to ask, and ye shall be heard… and responded to. Sometimes even when not at all intended, so be careful what you confes… er say.

Pros: The technology spoon fed into this ‘as tested’ GLE is top of class and in some cases standard setting. Incredible performance combines with an unbelievable level of driving comfort. 

Cons: The cost of all of the upgrades to this Mercedes mid-pack SUV adds up to being a somewhat pricy proposition. All of the extras also mean a fair amount of weight gain which is not unnoticeable.

The Verdict: If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable driving experience with no noise and all the technological trimmings that can be added into the mix in a mid-sized SUV – you’ve chosen well. If you want a ride that is as refined as they come, you won’t be disappointed. Everything has its price and if you’re able and willing to pay it – you are away to the races… just don’t race it.


Categories: Driver Plus, Road Tests