Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

ROAD TEST: Mercedes-Benz GLE is all-round performer

Mercedes-Benz GLE,
Mercedes-Benz GLE,

Think of all the reasons not to like a large, luxury SUV. Thirst. Poor performance. Huge tax liabilities. Wobbly handling.

Yet upper-middle class motorists still love them, patiently sure that one day, the brands involved would bring us something better.

Something, perhaps, like this: the second-generation Mercedes GLE.

This contender sits at the heart of the large section of the luxury SUV segment, just above the brand’s more compact Audi Q5 or BMW X3-sized GLC model, and just below the Range Rover-sized Mercedes GLS.

Cars in this GLE’s class tend to fall into two categories in their approach to likely buyers.

Seven-seat practicality is favoured by SUVs like Land Rover’s Discovery, Audi’s Q7 and Volvo’s XC90.

As an alternative, contenders like BMW’s X5, Porsche’s Cayenne and Volkswagen’s Touareg give you only five seats but offer more dynamic looks and agile handling.

This Mercedes can now offer up to seven seats and hopes to appeal to both areas of this segment.

There are four GLE engine options and most buyers are likely to choose the base diesel derivative, a 300d 4MATIC variant that features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 245hp and 500Nm of torque.

It can go from 0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph.

Next up is the six-cylinder diesel 350d 4Matic, which offers 272hp, the same engine also available in 330hp guise in the GLE 400d 4Matic.

If petrol power is of more interest, there’s an alternative GLE 450 4Matic variant powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with EQ Boost, which has an output of 367hp and 500Nm of torque. EQ Boost uses a 48-volt onboard network with a belt-driven starter/alternator. The system adds 22hp to overall output.

It can sprint from 0 to 62mph in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph.

In all variants, power is transmitted via 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.

The broad ratio spread of gears allows for a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed.

Ride comfort and agility improvements are promised by the optional 48V E-Active Body Control suspension, which is combined with the optional Airmatic air suspension.

This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. It counteracts body roll, pitching and squat.

This second-generation GLE has a much more purposeful look.

With this MK2 design you get a longer wheelbase, short overhangs and large, flush-fitted wheels.

There’s also a very upright radiator grille and a purposefully-sculpted bonnet with two power domes.

Inside, the 80mm wheelbase increase makes the car feel much more spacious.

However, the first thing you’ll probably notice at the front is that the designers have incorporated a couple of 12.3-inch TFT screens, one in the instrument binnacle and one in the centre of the dash that works with the new ‘Mbux’ voice-activated multimedia system.

There’s more space in the second row, and a third seating row has been fitted.

When you’re not using it there’s 825 litres of luggage space, or up to 2,055 litres if you fold down all the seats.

There are four mainstream models on offer and pricing kicks off with the GLE 300d 4Matic diesel derivative at around £56,000.

Next up is the GLE 350d 4Matic (around £61,000), with the GLE 400d 4Matic costing around £63,500.

The GLE 450 4Matic petrol version retails for around £62,500.

Mercedes quotes a figure of 46.3mpg (combined cycle) with emissions of 162g/km for the GLE 300d diesel, with the GLE 350d and GLE 400d V6 diesel variants managing 40.4mpg and 184g/km.

The GLE 450 petrol variant manages up to 33.6mpg on the combined cycle and emits 191g/km of CO2.

So, how to sum up this GLE?

First, here’s what it won’t do: stride across the Gobi desert quite like any Land Rover product.

Or power round Brands Hatch quite like a more sporting BMW X5.

But for us, that’s not a problem.

This car, after all, intentionally sets out to offer more of a middle ground between these two extremes and it’s a place in which this second-generation GLE seems far more comfortable than its predecessors was.

It’s true that there are sportier, more dynamic models of this kind you could buy.

But we’re struggling to think of many that offer a better all-round package.

Quick, capable, practical and luxurious, this is at last the car Mercedes always should have had in this segment.


Model: Mercedes-Benz GLE

Price: From £56,000

Engine: 4Matic 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 140mph

Economy: 46.3mpg

CO2: 162g/km

Already a subscriber? Sign in