But not all tests can hide the GLE’s size. In the figure eight, the GLE logged 26.8 seconds at an average of 0.66 g, straddling the BMW’s time (25.8 seconds at 0.71 g) and the Land Rover‘s time (28.9 seconds at 0.58 g). “Roll and pitch are significant, and the whole vehicle has a remoteness to it,” noted testing director Kim Reynolds. “A lot of understeer, but it’s mitigated by the stability control. Brake power is OK, but pedal feel is likewise remote.”
Predictably, fuel economy won’t knock your socks off. But it’s actually not that much lower than the four-cylinder version of the GLE. The six-cylinder Benz gets 19/24 mpg city/highway. A comparable X5 delivers better efficiency at 20/26 mpg, but the Discovery only nets 16/21 mpg.
Along with its steady ride, the interior is another major strength. Soft-close doors, 64-color ambient lighting, luxurious wood trim, heated and cooled cupholders, heated rear seats, heated front armrests and door panels, illuminated running boards, and a Burmester 3D surround sound system are just some of the amenities. The MBUX system with what Mercedes calls “natural language understanding” still has its hiccups with voice commands, but some impressive tech is baked in. With the augmented reality navigation system, street names, guiding arrows, and other info is superimposed onto the central display to help you find your destination more easily. For more on our thoughts about the GLE interior, read our separate article coming soon.
We’ve driven a pre-production version, but we can’t wait to take a spin in the completed 2020 GLS. And it may sound strange to say, but we hope it takes after the GLE. Its confidence-inspiring ride, quick and smooth power delivery, and superior creature comforts make it a desirable pick in the midsize luxury SUV segment. If you want a third row, you’ll probably want to make the jump to the GLS, since the GLE’s optional third row is pretty small and is best suited for children.
|2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450 4Matic|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$97,080|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.0L/362-hp/369-lb-ft turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6, plus 21-hp electric motor (362-hp comb)|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||5,438 lb (52/48%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||194.3 x 76.7 x 70.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.3 sec @ 96.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||118 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.88 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.8 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||19/24/21 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||177/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.93 lb/mile|
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