The standard Mercedes-Benz GLE comes in six different trims, while the GLE coupe offers a further two trims to choose from. A total of six different engines are offered amongst those various trims, starting with a 2.1L turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine. It makes 201 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque--plenty to get the GLE moving with urgency. The gasoline-powered 3.5L V6 offers less torque, but it does make more horsepower, with a total of 302. A more powerful, but also more efficient, 3.0L twin-turbocharged engine makes 385 horsepower and offers a good compromise between fuel economy and power, while this same engine is also available on the GLE coupe. Two 5.5L twin-turbocharged V8s are offered at the top of the range, the standard version making 550 horsepower, while the more powerful "S" version makes 577 horsepower. All GLEs send power to the wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The base GLE350 comes standard with the 3.5L V6 engine, which sends power to the rear wheels. A 4Matic all-wheel-drive version is also available. Standard features on the GLE350 include 19-inch wheels, adaptive computer controlled suspension, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, power, power folding rearview mirrors, synthetic leather upholstery, wood trim, an 8-inch high resolution screen, Bluetooth audio streaming and a built-in garage door opener.
The GLE300d 4Matic is the least expensive all-wheel drive option and comes similarly equipped to the GLE350. Its diesel engine, however, sets it apart, with up to 29 mpg available on the freeway.
The GLE400 4matic comes with the bi-turbo 3.0L V6 and all-wheel drive. Standard features include a Harman/Kardon stereo, SiriusXM satellite radio, a navigation system, a power tilting sunroof, a powered liftgate and 20-inch wheels.
With its 550-horsepower V8, the AMG GLE63 can sprint to 60 mph in a claimed 4.2 seconds, making it faster than many sports cars. Unlike those sports cars, however, the GLE63 will coddle occupants in Napa leather upholstery and burnished walnut trim. The GLE63S, meanwhile, adds 21-inch wheels, a more performance-oriented suspension, and bigger brakes, making it the ultimate version of the standard GLE.
Finally, the GLE Coupe gets lower and leaner bodywork; squint at it just right and you can almost see the profile of a sports car within the styling lines of this mid-sized SUV. The GLE43 AMG Coupe gets the same 385-horsepower version of the bi-turbo V6 that powers the four door, as well as air suspension, 21-inch wheels, Napa leather upholstery and LED headlights. The top-of-the-line AMG GLE63 S Coupe rides on 22-inch wheels and a performance exhaust system, which is sure to let everyone in earshot hear what that 577-horsepower V8 sounds like under hard acceleration.
From the moment I first get in and adjust the driver's seat in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450, I know this SUV is something special. The large center screen prompts me to enter my height, and after doing so, the seat, steering wheel and pedals move on their own, putting me in the perfect seating position. That's one heck of a first impression.
The GLE-Class -- formerly known as the M-Class -- is the vehicle that arguably started the luxury SUV craze, more than 20 years ago. This fourth-generation model promises to be a big leap forward in terms of both onboard tech and driving dynamics, making it better poised to take on a growing crop of premium SUVs.
The 2020 GLE-Class starts with the GLE350, powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 engine. But I'm rocking the GLE450, which uses a 3.0-liter, turbocharged I6, putting out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. While the GLE350 can be had with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive, the GLE450 only comes with Mercedes' excellent 4Matic AWD system, as well as a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The Good The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class has an excellent in-dash navigation system with augmented reality, a snappy drivetrain and plenty of luxury features.
The Bad The new MBUX infotainment system is still not as user-friendly as others in the segment.
The Bottom Line The GLE-Class is a great choice for those who want the latest and greatest in technology matched with a responsive chassis and power plant.
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