Fitting it between the smaller GLC and the bigger GLS, the Benz GLE is a wonderful blend of power and sophistication that offers spice and entertainment both on and off-road. And for 2024, it gets an impressive all-new plug-in hybrid edition, GLE450e.
Under the hood of the five-seater 4Matic (all-wheel drive) SUV sits a 2.0-liter inline-four turbo and intercooled engine cranking out a combined 381 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque. It is complemented by a synchronous motor powered by a 23.3-kWh lithium-ion battery. Plug it in for a charge and you can essentially go up to 40 miles on battery alone. This is no speedster, but 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph are no small feats. Power reaches all four wheels via a meaty, crispy and accurate nine-speed auto gearbox. The independent double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension with coil springs works well to absorb unpleasant bumps and sudden turns on the road. Handling and steering feel were good overall, thanks to the electro-mechanical rack-and-pinion. Tow capacity for the steel unibody structure is admirable at 7,700 pounds.
Up front, the face is instantly recognizable as a Benz, highlighted by two horizontal, chrome-accented louvres crisscrossing a radiator grille with the familiar three-pointed star emblem. Power domes on the bulging hood meet up with horizontal LED headlights to convey an attractive stance. Space is ample in both rows and the dashboard and center console is complemented by alluring wood and lush leather to give the SUV a classy feel. A touchpad controls the audio, nav and phone infotainment on the massive 12.3-inch screen, also similar in size to the digital instrument cluster. A personal infotainment system, the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), works through voice, touch and even hand gestures (just say, “Hey Mercedes!”). It can’t get any more intuitive and personal for new Benz owners. Other creature comforts include dual auto AC, a power/tilt slide moonroof, 10-way power front heated seats, 40/20/40 folding rear seats, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and copious aluminum and chrome accents.
Dual front and side airbags, a side curtain airbag, a driver knee airbag, electronic stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, active parking/brake and lane keep assists, a blind-spot monitor, Pre-Safe, forward-collision and lane departure warnings, a rearview camera, a tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.
Loaded with tech and infotainment-laden features, the GLE450e delivers performance and class that’s matchless for the money. The plug-in feature makes the vehicle even more desirable for daily short-commute drivers. You will be hard-pressed to find a midsize luxury SUV that will pay heed to your command (“Hey Mercedes!”) as you experience the outstanding ride.