Mercedes Benz

Replacing the old ML 4×4 model, the GLE is a very capable all-rounder that is packed with technology and creature comforts. The GL means it is part of Mercedes’ SUV range and the E links it in size to the E-Class saloon.

The good

Dynamic, agile, economical, practical and packed with technology

The bad

The industry is bursting with SUVs

Tech Specs

Price from
Combined Fuel up to
0-62 from
4.2 seconds
max speed up to
co2 from

Test Drive

Mercedes GLE 350d 4MATIC AMG Line Coupe

Understanding the naming process of some cars takes some doing with all sorts of random numbers, letters, underscores, apostrophes and hyphens thrown into the mix. But the Mercedes GLE is actually fairly simple … ish.

Firstly, the company phased out its ageing ML-Class model and all new SUVs were given the GL tag. Then the third letter in the title relates to the car it is comparable to in the Mercedes model line-up. So, a GLA would be styled similarly to the A-Class, a GLC to the C-Class and the GLE to the E-Class.

There it is then, clear as mud. So, I was expecting my GLE to be on the larger side of the SUV range to match its E-Class styling and I wasn’t disappointed. The Coupe model is elegantly designed and simply impossible to ignore with larger-than-life dimensions, sweeping curves, LED headlights and tail lamps, AMG-styled bumpers, twin tail pipes and dark privacy glass. A Night package priced at £495 introduced a black radiator grille, black exterior mirrors, black front and rear underguards, black belting and shoulder line trim strips, black rear trim and 21-inch alloys with the five twin-spoke design painted – you guessed it – black.

Move inside and the cabin oozes premium build quality with lots of soft-touch surfaces, luxuriously-styled seating and upholstery, plus all the on-board technology and creature comforts you could possibly wish for. The test car featured an additional Premium Plus pack (£3,995 extra) that introduced Parking Pilot with a 360-degree camera, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound music system, a panoramic electric sunroof, plus memory settings for the front seats, steering wheel and exterior mirrors.

Other optional packs included an entertainment package so two rear seat passengers could kick back and watch a movie on 8-inch screens with a DVD player, two sets of headphones, a remote control and TV tuner.

Initially the test car began life costing £61,715, but after picking up all the extras along the way, the price-tag rose quite dramatically to £72,840. So, it would be fair to say my GLE was fully loaded.

Powered by a 3.0-litre, 258hp diesel engine mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, it could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in a rapid 7.0 seconds and topped out at 140mph. According to official figures the GLE Coupe can deliver combined fuel economy of 39.2mpg with carbon emissions of 187g/km.

Despite its size (just shy of five metres in length), it proved deceptively agile with impressive manoeuvrability. In congested town centres, it weaved its way through the traffic and the driver benefits from good visibility thanks to the elevated driving position. However, in true coupe tradition the view through the rear window is not that great as it slopes away and is quite narrow.

Out on the faster motorways, the GLE Coupe seemed to glide along with the excellent suspension system and efficient insulation working well to iron out any uneven surfaces and suppress outside noises.

Finally, on the long winding country lanes, the vehicle can be driven enthusiastically with confidence and bends can be attacked at quite a click without losing any grip. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts are there if you fancy taking more control over the gear switches and a choice of Individual, Sport, Comfort or Slippery driving modes can be selected to alter the car’s suspension, steering and throttle responses.

All occupants are treated to excellent levels of comfort and there is ample room for five adults to travel in style. Storage options are impressive too with a boot capacity of 650 litres. With the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat the capacity rises to a creditable 1,720 litres. There are nets and boot pockets to stop items rolling around and a generous number of storage compartments scattered throughout the car.

As one would expect from such a premium marque, the vehicle’s safety features are comprehensive with the likes of anti-lock brakes with brake assist, attention assist, traffic sign recognition, electronic stability programme with acceleration skid control, crosswind assist, four-wheel electronic traction control and numerous airbags.

A Driving Assistance Pack (£1,695 option) added active blind spot assist, active lane-keep assist, active brake assist with cross traffic detection, a distance and steering pilot to keep the car a safe distance and in its lane, plus a number of other driver aids.

All in all, the GLE Coupe is quite a magnificent piece of machinery. It looks imposing and certainly has a presence on the road. It is packed with technology, delivers outstanding levels of comfort and also boasts exciting driving dynamics along the way.

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