April 21, 2019

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE First Drive

Here's everything you need to know about the new Mercedes-Benz GLE!

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has just arrived in Ireland, priced from €78,395. This is a new generation of Mercedes-Benz large family SUV, and there is a seven seat option for the first time. Caroline went to the Irish press launch in Dublin to check out the new Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Styling

The GLE has been spruced up in line with the brand’s current line-up of cars. The wheelbase is 80mm longer and the new SUV has a more rounded and elegant presence, with distinctive LED headlights and rear lights. 18” alloys come as standard, while AMG Line models add AMG bodystyling and 20” alloys. The new styling has helped the GLE to achieve the best aerodynamics in its segment, with a Cd figure from 0.29.

Interior

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE features a widescreen cockpit as standard with two 12.3 inch screens – one for the driver information display and the second for the infotainment. The material quality is excellent throughout with the addition of some slightly more rugged looking features than a traditional Mercedes-Benz saloon – check out those rectangular shaped air vents. There is a prominent raised centre console between the driver and passenger housing cupholders, storage and the controls for the MBUX infotainment system. Hey Mercedes!

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE

Practicality

The GLE is now available as a five or seven seat SUV. The cabin is very spacious with lots of legroom in row 2. There is electrical assistance to move the seats in row 2 forward and back with adjustable recline. Space is tight in row 3 but is adequate for the extra versatility that these seats offer. When not in use they can be stowed into the floor. The luggage capacity is up to 825 litres behind the rear seats, and up to 2,055 litres when the second row is folded down. There has also been a 72 mm increase in loading width.

Engines

In Ireland the new GLE will be available with petrol and diesel engines in the 1950cc to 2999cc capacity range. A diesel plug-in hybrid will arrive before the end of the year with a pure electric range of up to 100 km. The big seller in Ireland will be the 300d with a 2.0-litre diesel putting out 245hp. Other diesels include the GLE 350d, GLE 400d and GLE 450d. There is a GLE 450 petrol available powered by a six-cylinder engine with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Motor tax ranges from €570 to €1200. 4MATIC four wheel drive is standard on all models.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE range starts from €78,395
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE range starts from €78,395

On the road

The Mercedes-Benz GLE has a newly developed steel suspension, while there is also the option of a new AIRMATIC air suspension and E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL for engine variants with six and more cylinders. This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel to counteract body roll, pitching and squat, and take the GLE out of difficult off-road situations.

On a short drive on standard suspension, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d 4MATIC was a comfortable and refined companion, and easy to manoeuvre for its size. I look forward to bringing you more detailed driving impressions after a longer test drive later in the year.

Equipment

Standard equipment includes cruise control, 18” alloys, widescreen cockpit with two displays, dual zone climate control, MBUX multimedia system, Mercedes me connect, parking package with rear camera, Dynamic Select, leather upholstery, blind spot assist, attention assist, lane keeping assist and traffic sign assist.

The AMG Line exterior pack adds sport braking system, 20” alloys, diamond grille with chrome pins and AMG bodystyling.

The GLE now comes with the option of seven seats
The GLE now comes with the option of seven seats

AMG Line cars include interior equipment such as AMG floor mats in black velour, AMG sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with black rubber studs, ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre upholstery, Nappa leather dashboard, door panelling plus armrests in black ARTICO man-made leather, multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather and sports seats for driver and front passenger.

The 7-seat package for €2,944 adds the two extra seats, 20” 5-spoke light-alloy wheels and electrically-adjustable rear seats.

Pricing

The range starts with the GLE 300d 4MATIC at €78,395. With an AMG Line exterior package, this model is available from €84,202. The AMG Line is available from €84,762.

The GLE 450 4MATIC petrol is available from €95,995.

Rivals

Rivals for the new GLE include the Audi Q7 and the BMW X5.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE brings the latest Mercedes style and technology to the large family SUV class
The Mercedes-Benz GLE brings the latest Mercedes style and technology to the large family SUV class

Summary

The new generation of the Mercedes-Benz GLE ups its game in terms of styling, interior finish, technology and connectivity, bringing modern Mercedes-Benz features to the large family SUV class. The seven seat option is new for the GLE and makes the whole package even more competitive than before.

Mercedes-Benz Ireland is offering generously equipped GLEs undercutting their BMW and Audi rivals on pricing with the popular GLE 300d 4MATIC, though rivals do offer a bit more power like for like. I look forward to putting the GLE to the test at a later date to see how it stacks up against rivals!

Caroline Kidd