You might not be as familiar with the GLE name, but chances are you know the ML-Class. That model, one of the first crossovers from a German luxury brand, arrived way back in 1997. The latest GLE is much newer, having come to market just last year.
What's New / Key Changes from Last Year
Redesigned for 2020 and in the fourth generation of the Mercedes midsize crossover, there are no big changes for 2021. What Mercedes has added instead is the return of the curvaceous GLE Coupe bodywork. There are still no V8s for the model this year.
Mercedes offers the 2021 GLE SUV, the one with more cargo space, as the GLE 350 4Matic and the GLE 450 4Matic. The former gets 255 hp from a 2.0L turbo-four, the latter a 362 hp 3.0L inline-six with 48V mild hybrid assist. An AMG 53 model gets a tuned version of that engine with 428 hp. The GLC Coupe comes in GLE 53 version. Both also offer a 63 S-badged AMG model with a twin-turbo 4.0L V8 offering 450 hp and 568 lb-ft. All get all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic with an AMG-modified version of the box for those cars.
Standard GLE features include 20-inch wheels, LED lighting all around, auto-dimming for the driver's mirror, and interior features like wireless charging and a heated wheel. It also has a power hatch and widescreen cockpit including navigation with augmented reality and "Hey Mercedes" voice commands. It has faux-leather seating, heated seats, dual-zone climate, and sunroof. Standard safety kit includes blind spot assist, traffic sign assist, rain-sensing wipers, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
GLE 350's standard technical and exterior features include a selective damping suspension, 20-inch wheels, aluminum roof rails, LED headlights/taillights/daytime running lights, an auto-dimming driver's side mirror, power tailgate, and power-folding side mirrors.
Inside, the GLE 350 comes with a heated/Nappa leather-trimmed steering wheel, multi-colour ambient lighting, oak wood trim, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated/power-adjustable front seats with memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, Artico upholstery, a power-adjustable steering column, a sunroof, 12.3-inch infotainment and digital gauge cluster displays, navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
AMG GLE 53 trim brings an air suspension with adaptive damping, AMG-tuned transmission and all-wheel drive, a sport exhaust, performance brakes, 21-inch wheels, climate-controlled front cupholders, a panoramic sunroof, and in-car Wi-Fi.
AMG GLE 63+ models add even more performance and luxury trimmings inside and out, along with firmer suspension, larger wheels, and beefier brakes.
On 350 and 450, a Premium Package adds an integrated garage door opener, active park assist, panoramic roof, Burmester audio, and keyless go. Premium Plus heats the rear seats and most of the front cockpit, Comfort adds massage and ventilated front seats, Technology adds head-up display, 360-camera, and active LED lights, while Intelligent Drive Package adds radar cruise, active steering assist, enhanced stop-start, and route-based speed control. A third-row seat is also available.
On GLE 450, e-active body control uses the 48V system to electronically control body roll.
GLE 350 models offer 12.4 L/100 km city, 9.0 highway while GLE 450 is rated at 11.4/9.2. GLE 53 SUV's rating is 13.2/10.8 and the GLE 63 S's is 16.2/12.5. GLE 53 Coupe is rated for 12.7/10.4 with 16.3/12.8 for the V8 coupe.