Mercedes-Benz's GLE-Class model continues to be available as a standard SUV and a rakish SUV "coupe" designed to appeal to lifestyle oriented buyers who neither want nor need the interior space and practicality of a typically boxy SUV body.
Changes to the GLE-Class are minor for 2018: in the GLE 400, LED headlights with automatic high beams become standard equipment, while both the GLE 400 and GLE 550e gain a backup camera. And in the AMG GLE 43, the gateway to this model's high-performance models, the turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine gets a 23-hp bump to 385.
Other updates include changes in Benz's naming convention for its active safety systems to make their functions easier to identify on the options sheet. Parking pilot is now called active parking assist, and distance pilot Distronic with steering pilot is now known as the wordier active distance assist Distronic with active steering assist.
While the GLE Coupe wears a lower roofline, this rakish model somehow looks more imposing, particularly when viewed from the rear. In our opinion, the basic model boasts better proportions, but the Coupe is the one more likely to catch the eye of passers-by.
There are few mid-size SUVs, upscale or otherwise, that look more like they were hewn from solid blocks of metal. Coupe or not, the GLE is an imposing-looking vehicle that is more comfortable and luxurious than its bold, truckish styling suggests.
The range begins with the GLE 400 and its twin-turbo V6 making 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Other models sharing that engine include the AMG GLE 43 (385 hp/384 lb-ft) and the GLE 550e plug-in hybrid, which gets 436 hp/479 lb-ft from its V6 combined with an electric motor that also promises 30 km of electric-only driving on a fully charged battery. The GLE 550 gets a turbocharged 4.7L V8 good for 449 hp and 516 lb-ft, and finally, the AMG GLE 63 uses a 5.5L turbo V8 that cranks out 577 hp and 561 lb-ft.
As a nod to its more extroverted design, the Coupe comes only in AMG GLE 43 and 63 forms, using powertrains copied and pasted from the SUV model.
Six-cylinder models use a nine-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid and V8 variants use a seven-speed. All versions of the GLE-Class get Mercedes' 4Matic AWD system as standard.
Standard features include keyless start, heated front seats and leather-trimmed steering wheel, 19-inch wheels, eight-inch infotainment display, automatic climate control, sunroof, backup camera, active brake assist, blind spot assist and crosswind assist. Options in the GLE 400 include a premium package that bundles a panoramic sunroof, active parking assist, 360-degree camera, heated rear seats, passive keyless entry and Apple and Android smartphone integration. An intelligent driving package brings Benz's active safety features.
As the GLE's various trims are built around powertrains, standard features and options don't vary much as you move up the ladder. There are bigger wheels, measuring 20 and 21 inches, and AMG versions get styling touches that hint at those models' added performance potential.
Fuel consumption estimates range from the GLE 550e's thriftiest figures of 11.8/10.3 L/100 km (city/highway), to the AMG 63's 17.3/13.5 L/100 km.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed