2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 review: The standard bearer

    The AMG Line styling package is under no circumstances a compulsory addition, but it surely does give the GLE350 a little bit additional edge.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    Since the 1990s, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (beforehand known as the M-Class) has slowly helped convert luxurious sedan consumers into luxurious SUV consumers. It’s not exhausting to see why, both — individuals love sitting up excessive, and wrapping that have in a conventional Mercedes-Benz shell means no sacrifices when it comes to feeling fancy. The 2020 GLE-Class builds upon all the pieces that is come earlier than with a continued deal with the locations that depend, and the end result continues to be price your time.

    LikeComfortable rideExcellent inside designGreat tech

    Don’t LikeNot the smoothest transmissionOverwhelming choices record

    New outdoors, however that inside… The GLE-Class could have modified its identify, however its modus operandi stays the identical. Thus, there’s not a lot in the way in which of untamed revolution outdoors. It seems to be very similar to each different flashy new Mercedes SUV from the entrance, whereas the rear maintains a connection to GLEs and MLs of yore. My tester will get a little bit additional visible punch by the use of the $2,900 AMG Line exterior bundle, which provides a novel grille, particular wheels and body-colored fender flares, all of which mix properly with the $720 paint job, a coloration known as iridium silver. A $300 Night Package eliminates a lot of the exterior chrome, making it vital in my e book. The greatest a part of the GLE’s new look is inside, the place nearly each panel has been given a large makeover. The end result is sort of a smaller GLS-Class, and I adore it. The heart console’s seize handles trace at some underlying off-road functionality, whereas I simply actually just like the structure of the squared local weather management vents and the recess that homes each dashboard screens.

    While I believe the outsized mottling on the black leather-based seats ($1,620) seems to be a little bit iffy in execution, the final consideration to element within the GLE350 is spectacular. Whether it is the knurled metallic on the steering wheel or the satisfying method the local weather management keys really feel when pushed, it is clear that Mercedes put plenty of thought into the GLE’s new inside. The shiny wooden trim is current solely in small doses, maintaining it from being overwhelming. At night time, the SUV turns right into a discotheque with the perfect multicolor ambient lighting within the trade, a part of a $1,000 Premium Package that additionally provides wi-fi gadget charging and satellite tv for pc radio. The GLE350 does not simply look good. The leather-based seats are comfy, providing up a commanding view of the street by the tall, plentiful glass on all sides, though it is a bummer you must shell out $350 for an influence passenger seat with reminiscence. My time within the GLE350 has been made much more comfy by the addition of the $2,100 Energizing Comfort bundle, which provides entrance seat air flow and a therapeutic massage perform. The rear seats may not get all that frippery, however they’re nonetheless comfy, with loads of house for heads and legs.

    Instead of a 3rd row on my tester, there is a sizable cargo space behind the liftgate, though one is on the market as a paid choice. I discover 33.3 cubic toes to be sufficient to deal with a household’s amount of groceries or suitcases. Sure, it is a whopping 0.6 cubic foot much less capacious than a BMW X5, however you will not discover a distinction that small.

    Comfortable cruiser The GLE350 is technically a “base” mannequin, slotting beneath the GLE450, and whereas it may not have the identical forward-motion hustle as beefier, costlier variants, it positively carries the identical type of consolation, which is strictly what potential GLE350 consumers are demanding. Despite this tester not being outfitted with a comfortable air suspension, the GLE350’s trip errs on the supple facet, with its static dampers doing an incredible job of minimizing movement within the cabin. There remains to be some suggestions making its method by the physique, however passing over my tester’s 21-inch wheel improve ($1,000) ought to solely proceed to iron the wrinkles out of that shirt. A little bit of wind noise sneaks its method in across the window seals, however in any other case, the cabin stays good and quiet on the street. Even although “350” on a Mercedes badge used to indicate a V6 engine, occasions have modified. Now, the GLE350 rocks a 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine making 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Aside from a conventional I4 engine notice, I’ve a tough time realizing there is a downsized engine in right here. It pulls like I’d anticipate a V6 to — a 7.1-second dash to 60 mph is not the quickest, but it surely’s a lot in each day use, with usable torque down low within the revs to maintain issues transferring alongside throughout a morning commute. The GLE350’s seats are comfy, though precise leather-based instructions a premium over the bottom MB-Tex vinyl.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    The solely sore spot with the powertrain is the nine-speed computerized transmission. The interaction between cog swapper and engine is not my favourite — some shifts appear too arrive too early, inflicting acceleration to drop precipitously, whereas different occasions I’m caught miserable the pedal and ready for one thing to really occur. The shifts themselves are easy, although. The brake pedal is lifeless easy to modulate, making for easy stops each time. Ditching a pair cylinders means the GLE350 has a crack at higher gas economic system figures. The EPA estimates that this SUV will obtain 19 miles per gallon metropolis and 26 mpg freeway. A easy foot that retains the engine out of enhance ought to, by my expertise, reward a freeway economic system nearer to 30, with the town economic system determine seeming a little bit extra correct, if not a little bit optimistic. Pleasant, useful tech With a brand new physique comes a complete bunch of latest tech, and Mercedes-Benz’s newest infotainment system stands on the forefront of the GLE350’s technological freshening. MBUX has been slowly creeping into each revised Mercedes, and I believe it is a implausible system. It eliminates the submenu hell of Comand, with vastly improved responsiveness whether or not you are utilizing the touchscreen itself, the touchpad on the middle console or the thumbpad on the precise facet of the steering wheel. Its natural-language voice recognition works practically flawlessly for me, turning on seat massagers or adjusting any variety of elements with a easy request. It’s annoying that it enters the dialog anytime you a lot as utter the phrase “Mercedes,” however that is MBUX’s largest disadvantage. MBUX is prepared for the 2020s. Aside from all of the stuff I discussed above, it additionally consists of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, embedded navigation and related automobile companies. MBUX additionally hides a enjoyable little innovation that asks on your top and places the seat and steering wheel in what it believes to be the optimum place. If you do not have a USB-C cable on your gadget but, I recommend selecting one up, as a result of that is the one method you will get a wired connection within the entrance row. Between each rows of seats, there are a formidable 5 USB-C ports normal. While there are some security methods normal within the 2020 GLE350, the overwhelming majority of them stay (like so many creature comforts) locked behind an elective bundle. The GLE350 comes from the manufacturing facility with computerized emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and an lively parking assistant. The remaining package comes by the use of the $2,250 Driver Assistance Package, which provides full-speed adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, lane departure warning and visitors signal recognition. As far as hands-on methods go, that is certainly one of my favorites. It operates easily in nearly each state of affairs, lowering the tedium of commutes and providing a little bit additional peace of thoughts on the similar time. A surround-view digicam array can also be on supply for the surprisingly inexpensive value of $400. MBUX is lifeless easy to get used to, which retains distraction to a minimal.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    How I’d spec it If you observed what number of greenback indicators had been scattered round this assessment, it isn’t exhausting to choose up on the concept constructing a correctly luxurious GLE-Class requires greater than only a base mannequin. My tester’s $56,200 beginning value is fairly stable, however the as-tested value of $72,685 (together with vacation spot) is usually a little eye-watering. I can avoid wasting money by ignoring the $3,200 in AMG Line-specific exterior enhancements, and ditching the 21-inch wheels knocks one other $1,000 off the invoice. MB-Tex vinyl is a nice normal seating materials if you wish to keep away from spending $1,620 on leather-based. I’ll, nonetheless, drop $250 for a heated steering wheel and $1,100 for thicker home windows and extra sound insulation. I’ll retain the $1,850 Premium Package for its Burmester sound system and 64-color ambient lighting, along with spending $580 on heated second-row seats and $450 for front-seat air flow. My remaining choice is a $1,710 improve to air suspension, bringing us to a way more palatable $62,690 conclusion. Down to brass tacks The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a part of a really busy area. If you need extra deal with driving dynamics, the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne are equally priced and sized, whereas technophiles (and third-row addicts) will just like the house and slick screens within the Audi Q7. The Volvo XC90 affords its luxurious in a extra staid-looking wrapper, however I do not suppose it is as comfy because the GLE-Class. If you are huge on American metallic, the Lincoln Aviator packs extra wagonlike seems to be whereas carrying fancier appointments than ever earlier than. Yet, regardless of standing in the course of a thick crowd, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class continues to impress. The 2020 GLE350 goals to maintain issues environment friendly with out sacrificing one iota of the posh that consumers have come to anticipate from a three-pointed star on the grille. For so long as it has been kicking, the GLE feels recent as a daisy.

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