BUYER’S GUIDE: 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE
The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is the car that launched the luxury CUV segment back in 1997. Certainly, the 2018 version has a prestigious heritage to live up to, and to ensure it does, the engineers at Daimler AG made sure that it’s bigger, fancier, safer, and far more upmarket than the original. It also comes in so many trim levels that’ll make your head spin. Let us tell you all about them here in our Mercedes-Benz GLE Buyer’s Guide.
The GLE comes with a wide array of engine options, both gas and diesel types. There are five choices in all: the 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection for the GLE 350 trim, a 3.0-liter V6 biturbo for the AMG GLE43, a 3.0-liter V6 with plug-in hybrid electric motor for the GLE 550e, and a handcrafted AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo with direct injection for both the AMG GLE63 and AMG GLE63 S. The transmission systems are just as varied as the engines, with seven- and nine-speed options available. Without a doubt, there’s a GLE version to suit different driving sensibilities.
Debuting in 2012, the GLE began life as the third generation of the M-Class. That car came with a new design overall, a swankier cabin, fancy new headlights, the introduction of the COMAND infotainment systems, and more driver-assist features than any of its predecessors combined. The car also added an inch to the overall length, which really doesn’t mean much, considering the cabin was already quite spacious as it were. As for the standard exterior features, owners get 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive/automatic high-beam headlights, front and rear foglamps, LED daytime running lights and taillights, a sunroof, roof rack, auto-dimming power-fold mirrors, and a power liftgate, among others.
The GLE’s cabin is dramatic and sporty, starting off with the deep binocular gauges and a dizzying array of electric steering and seat adjustments not just for the driver, but front passenger as well. No matter your heft or height, it’s impossible for you not to find a position that you can be comfortable with. Meanwhile, a multi-mode control knob lets you choose your preferred steering and transmission mode from a variety of combinations. Other neat things to find inside the GLE include LED accent lighting, a choice between MB-Tex premium vinyl and plush leather upholstery, backup camera, 4G LTE connectivity, and MB’s highly intuitive COMAND electronics interface.
While the coupe variant is naturally less spacious at the back, families will be perfectly happy with the expansive back seat and high roofline of the SUV variants. The generous spaciousness extends to the massive trunk, further benefitted by its flat loading floor, automatic hatch, and standard tonneau cover.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE is a Top Safety Pick awardee of the United States’ Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and that’s all that really needs to be said about the car’s safety features. For those that need a little more convincing, check out this veritable list:
- Antilock disc brakes
- Front seat side airbags
- Side curtain airbags
- Driver knee airbag
- Hill start assist
- Rearview camera
- Forward collision warning system with automatic braking
- Blind spot monitoring w/ intervention
- Lane departure warning w/ intervention
A slew of advanced driver assist technologies are also onboard, such as the Pre-Safe system which can detect an imminent crash and automatically secure occupants, and the Mbrace telematics system that includes automatic collision notification, geo-fencing, emergency assistance, alarm notification, remote door lock/unlock, and stolen vehicle location.
Though it doesn’t have the last word in sport or utility, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE comes close, thanks to its expressive styling and top-of-the-line features all over. As far as modern SUVs go, the GLE is fully geared up to take on all comers.