2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Review, Pricing, and Specs

Overview

For people who shop based on bougie brands, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE-class is the mid-size SUV with designer credentials. Never mind that it does little else to differentiate itself from less expensive rivals such as the Genesis GV80 and Volvo XC90. For some, only a Mercedes will do, and for those types, the GLE will satisfy. The cabin is nicely equipped and roomy—except in the optional third row. Mercedes also packs the GLE with modern features destined to keep tech fanatics happy, including a wall of displays festooned on the dashboard. The entry-level turbocharged four-cylinder engine is punchy enough for most people, but there’s also a turbo six-cylinder and a twin-turbo V-8 for those willing to sacrifice fuel efficiency for quickness. The GLE offers more than a semblance of off-road capability, too, with options such as an adjustable air suspension giving it more adventure-ready cred than other luxury SUVs.

What’s New for 2023?

Other than adding new no-cost metallic paint colors, the GLE-class rolls into the new model year with no other changes.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

After driving two of the three available powertrains, we’d suggest sticking with the entry-level turbocharged four-cylinder GLE350 model. Even though it’s the least powerful option, it moves the GLE with enough authority to satisfy most drivers, and it returned the best fuel economy in our testing. With the money saved by selecting the base model, we’d splurge on the Premium package (Burmester audio system, 360-degree camera, and 115-volt household-style power outlet) as well as the Warmth and Comfort package (heated front armrests and upper door panels). We’d also add heated seats in the second row and four-zone climate control, both of which are standalone options.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Models wearing the GLE350 badge are powered by a 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with either rear- or all-wheel drive (4Matic in Mercedes parlance) and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the GLE450 brings standard all-wheel drive and a 362-hp powertrain that consists of a turbocharged inline-six and a 48-volt hybrid system. The GLE350 we tested took 6.6 seconds to reach 60 mph, and the six-cylinder GLE450 managed a 5.3-second time. While the souped-up Mercedes-AMG GLE53 (reviewed separately) brings even more heat, the Benz-branded GLE580 represents the most powerful and expensive non-AMG model. The 48-volt system combines with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 to make up to 504 horsepower. Every GLE can be outfitted with an advanced air-suspension system that can lean into corners and even wiggle itself loose if the driver gets it stuck in sand or mud. The standard setup is traditional steel springs and anti-roll bars.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Surprisingly, the six-cylinder GLE450 with all-wheel drive has the same fuel-economy estimate as the rear-drive, four-cylinder GLE350; both have EPA ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway (22 mpg combined). The V-8-powered GLE580 burns gas at a faster rate and is expected to have estimates of 16 mpg city, 21 highway, and 18 combined. On our 75-mph fuel-economy route, an all-wheel-drive GLE350 4Matic returned 25 mpg and a GLE450 4Matic delivered 23 mpg. The GLE450 goes head-to-head with the six-cylinder BMW X5 xDrive40i, but the Bimmer wins in our real-world test with its 28-mpg result. For more information about the GLE-class’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Fine materials such as genuine leather, wood, and metal impart a sense of true luxury inside the GLE, but they also add a pretty penny to the bottom line. Not only can the front seats be heated, but the armrests and center-console lid can, too—quickly taking the chill out of a frigid morning. The spacious interior can be outfitted with an optional third row of seats (a tad snug for adults). The GLE’s dashboard boasts prominent displays, and the interior is filled with other tech-focused bells and whistles. With the optional third-row seats stowed, we fit 11 carry-on suitcases in the cargo area. With all seats folded flat, the GLE offers room for up to 26 carry-ons. The rival X5 matches the Mercedes in both metrics, but other competitors such as the more coupelike Audi Q8 held far fewer.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Dual 12.3-inch infotainment displays stretch nearly the length of the dashboard and offer several ways to interact with the system, including the MBUX voice-recognition system. Like Apple’s Siri or Google’s virtual assistant, MBUX can respond to many commands, thus enabling the driver to keep their hands on the wheel but still turn up the heat, switch on the ventilated-seat function, or tune to a specific radio station. A touchpad on the center console allows for tactile interaction with the infotainment system, and the screen is also touch-sensitive. Still, the menus aren’t all logically structured. Navigating them is better done when the GLE is parked. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard, which makes keeping up with calls, texts, and other communications while on the go a little easier.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

A standard suite of driver-assistance features makes the GLE-class a good pick for families. For more information about the GLE-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Available adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Whereas BMW and Volvo include three years of maintenance in the price of any new X5 or XC90, Mercedes offers zero complimentary maintenance. As far as warranty policies go, the GLE’s standard offerings are among the most basic in the luxury car marketplace.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance

Specifications

Specifications

2020 Mercedes GLE350 4Matic

VEHICLE TYPE

front-engine, all-wheel drive, 5-passenger, four-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED

$71,835 (base price: $57,195)

ENGINE TYPE

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 1991 cc; Power: 255 hp @ 6100 rpm; Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

TRANSMISSION

9-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink

Brakes (F/R): 13.0-in vented disc/13.0-in disc

Tires: Michelin Primacy Tour A/S F: 275/45ZR-21 107H M+S MO, R: 315/40ZR-21 111H M+S MO

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 117.9 in

Length: 194.3 in

Width: 76.7 in

Height: 70.7 in

Passenger volume: 111 cu ft

Cargo volume: 33 cu ft

Curb weight: 4794 lb

C/D
TEST RESULTS

Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec

60 mph: 6.6 sec

100 mph: 19.2 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.7 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.6 sec

¼-mile: 15.1 sec @ 91 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 128 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 169 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.92 g

C/D
FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 19 mpg

75-mph highway driving: 25 mpg

Highway range: 560 miles

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/city/highway: 22/19/26 mpg 

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450 4Matic

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED
$80,955 (base price: $61,150)

ENGINE TYPE
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 362 hp, 369 lb-ft + AC motor, 21 hp, 184 lb-ft (combined system, 362 hp, 369 lb-ft; 0.9-kWh lithium-ion battery)

TRANSMISSION
9-speed automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 14.8-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc
Tires: Cooper Discoverer SRX LE, 275/50R20 109H M+S MO

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 194.3 in
Width: 76.7 in
Height: 70.7 in
Passenger volume: 111 cu ft
Cargo volume: 33 cu ft
Curb weight: 5151 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 5.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.4 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.9 sec @ 100 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 129 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 175 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.82 g
*stability-control-inhibited

C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 17 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 23 mpg
Highway range: 510 miles

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 21/19/24 mpg

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

More Features and Specs

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