From the second I first get in and regulate the motive force’s seat within the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450, I do know this SUV is one thing particular. The giant middle display prompts me to enter my top, and after doing so, the seat, steering wheel and pedals transfer on their very own, placing me within the excellent seating place. That’s one heck of a primary impression.The GLE-Class — previously referred to as the M-Class — is the automobile that arguably began the posh SUV craze, greater than 20 years in the past. This fourth-generation mannequin guarantees to be an enormous leap ahead when it comes to each onboard tech and driving dynamics, making it higher poised to tackle a rising crop of premium SUVs.Turbocharged and electrifiedThe 2020 GLE-Class begins with the GLE350, powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 engine. But I am rocking the GLE450, which makes use of a 3.0-liter, turbocharged I6, placing out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. While the GLE350 may be had with a selection of rear- or all-wheel drive, the GLE450 solely comes with Mercedes’ wonderful 4Matic AWD system, in addition to a nine-speed computerized transmission.
This energy plant has an ace up its sleeve: Mercedes’ EQ Boost electrical help. It’s a mild-hybrid system, form of just like the eTorque tech within the new Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500, with a 48-volt onboard motor-generator that may add 21 horsepower for brief bursts.
The 48-volt system additionally provides juice to the GLE450’s E-Active Body Control system, which is a mix of air suspension and hydraulic dampers that may management every wheel independently. It actually comes into play after I flip the drive mode to Curve — as an alternative of leaning to the suitable whereas taking a left-hand sweeper, the automotive truly leans into the flip. That makes for practically flat cornering, which actually is a bit unusual at first, however simple to get used to.The GLE began the posh SUV craze greater than 20 years in the past.
If you ever take your fancy GLE450 to the filth, the EABC system provides a number of get-unstuck-quick tips. For instance, the automotive can bounce itself up and all the way down to self-extract if you end up mired in smooth sand. You can even regulate the peak of any particular person wheel in an effort to search out grip. Or, , you possibly can simply make it dance.The EABC tech is definitely cool, however remember, it is a expensive add-on. On this GLE450, it provides $8,100 to the underside line.In Sport and Sport+ modes, the GLE450’s throttle snaps to consideration and the nine-speed transmission downshifts underneath braking so I’ve plenty of energy popping out of a flip. The transmission is so properly tuned I do not even hassle with the paddle shifters.Of course, if you wish to obtain most gasoline economic system, it is best to remain out of the Sport modes, and right here, you may discover a plush trip with mild, correct steering. The EPA estimates gasoline economic system rankings of 19 miles per gallon metropolis, 24 mpg freeway and 21 mpg mixed for the GLE450, which is not too dangerous, although throughout my week of testing, I noticed numbers decrease than that.The newest driver-assistance techThe GLE450 has an enormous checklist of driving aids, making my commutes round San Francisco a breeze. Adaptive cruise management is nothing new, neither is stop-and-go performance, however the Benz will do you one higher. Using GPS, the GLE450’s system can learn the highway forward and decelerate routinely for curves, toll sales space plazas and so forth.
When visitors opens up, the GLE provides an Active Speed Limit Assist perform. I can set the cruise management to 65 miles per hour, however when the restrict drops to 55 mph, the automotive routinely slows down. The navigation system options augmented actuality with addresses and instructions laid immediately over the forward-facing digital camera show. Active Steer Assist will get an replace for the 2020 GLE and now provides full steering help on tighter-radius curves. The Mercedes will even change lanes for you, utilizing the blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping options. All it’s important to do is activate the flip sign. How simple is that?Voice management and augmented-reality navigationThere’s a ton extra tech inside, by the use of Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system. The greatest improve right here is the addition of superior voice management — simply say, “Hey, Mercedes,” and use pure speech to manage the local weather features, media, navigation and extra. All I’ve to say is, “Mercedes, turn on the massaging seats,” and earlier than I do know it I am receiving a rolling stress level therapeutic massage that does wonders whereas I slog by way of Bay Area visitors.Other Roadshow editors have had reasonable to nice success with the MBUX system, and I am going to admit, it is hit and miss right here, too. It has no downside telling me the climate and giving me data after I ask, “Who is Steph Curry?” But after I ask it to modify over to Apple CarPlay, nothing occurs.The GLE450 provides a pair of 12.3-inch screens, with a digital gauge cluster in entrance, and the principle MBUX infotainment display to the suitable. You can management MBUX by way of contact, which is a brand new little bit of tech for Mercedes-Benz, or you should use a central touchpad or smaller thumbpads on the steering wheel. I discover I like utilizing the middle touchpad probably the most, just because I by no means should take my eyes off the highway, in contrast to discovering a spot on the display to the touch.Putting the star entrance and middle.
Though I am often in favor of utilizing smartphone mirroring for navigation features, the GLE450’s system actually has it happening. The forward-facing digital camera provides augmented-reality overlay to indicate me precisely the place to show, and the addresses of close by buildings pop up on the display so I by no means miss my vacation spot. This is a big step ahead for navigation tech.If you continue to desire to depend on your telephone’s capabilities, each Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are commonplace, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot and wi-fi charging. It’s additionally price noting that whereas there are a variety of USB charging ports, they’re all the brand new Type-C design. Have an adapter useful.Comfortable and spaciousThe cabin appears to be like and feels top-notch, with nice leathers and various completely different wooden and metallic inlay choices. Luxury options are in nice provide, although lots of them are non-obligatory extras. My private favourite is the seat kinetics program, which, if you do not have the massaging seats activated, could make minor changes to my driving place so I do not get stiff and tense. Combine that with heated and cooled chairs, in addition to a heated middle console and heated door panel, and heated and cooled cupholders, and I am within the lap of heat and luxurious.Mercedes’ new Interior Assistant is constructed into the MBUX tech, which may acknowledge hand and arm actions to, say, activate the map lights or carry up preprogrammed favorites within the infotainment display.You can spec the GLE class with a 3rd row of seats, however my tester has the five-passenger configuration. Head- and legroom are about common for the category — taller people will not have hassle stretching out within the GLE. Cargo house is equally common and sufficient.Expensive, however price itThe 2020 GLE-Class begins at $53,700 for the GLE350, or $56,200 for the GLE350 4Matic. The GLE450, in the meantime, begins at $61,150, and issues can escalate rapidly from there. The tester you see right here has practically $30,000 price of choices, a few of that are extra must-have than others. My excellent GLE450 would have the heated and massaging seats, in addition to the MBUX augmented actuality navigation, which retains the value underneath $70,000.So sure, it is costly. But with its absolute onslaught of driver help and infotainment tech, to not point out nice driving dynamics and top-tier luxurious, it feels price each penny.