Mercedes-Benz GLE In-Depth Video Review

Merc GLE Video


The story of the Mercedes Benz GLE begins in Munich, at a place called BMW’s Head Office. In 1999, BMW launched the X5, a luxury SUV that was an instant hit and spawned a vast field of rivals, including the Mercedes ML, Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7, to name a few.

Sometime later, BMW decided to chop off a bit of the X5’s boot, creating the X6. Locally, BMW claims that the split between X5 buyers and X6 buyers is 50/50. This has warranted Mercedes-Benz throwing it's hat into the mix.

Concurrently, Mercedes have been on a mission to clean up their naming system (or nomenclature, if you insist). And so the ML nameplate is no longer, with GLE bringing the new model in line with the GLA (BMW X1 competitor) and GLC (BMW X3 competitor).

The GLE range will be split into the Coupe and normal GLE, which retains it’s traditional SUV shape. In the GLE Coupe range, South African buyers can choose between three models: the GLE350d 4MATIC feature in our video, the GLE 450 AMG and the GLE 63 AMG S.

For “normal”, every day driving, we think the diesel powered GLE is the one to have. It’s an impressively smooth, quiet and powerful engine, and copes easily with the bulk.

The GLE interior can be specced to be as luxurious as any car in the Mercedes line-up, and as you’ll see in the video, the interior doesn’t disappoint, sharing many features and devices with cars like the S-Class.

And quite importantly, the GLE with its sloping roofline and odd rear end doesn’t suffer too much in the practicality stakes, with a vast if slightly shallow boot and rear seats that fold completely flat. Interestingly, our road test Editor, Ashley Oldfield, found that he could easily fit his mountain bike in the Honda HR-V we testedwhilst the GLE proved quite difficult with it's sloping roofline, meaning the front wheel had to be removed from the bike.

With prices starting at around R1-million, the GLE Coupe is probably going to find its fair share of buyers in SA. Those who do occasionally want to take the car offroad can feel safe with the GLE's capabilities. In that sense, it does seem to have one-up on its rival, the X6, with hill descent control and standard adaptive suspension.

Mercedes-Benz GLE vs BMW X6 – Specs and Pricing

Mercedes GLE 350d 4MATIC BMW X6 Xdrive40d
Price R1 006 774 R1 098 912
Engine 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel 3.0 litre Inline-6 turbo diesel
Power 190 kW 230 kW
Torque 620 Nm 630 Nm
0 – 100km/h 7.0 seconds 5.8 seconds
Fuel economy 7.2L/100km 6.2L/100km
Airbags 9 6
Boot space 650 litres 580 litres
Leather upholstery Std Std
Adaptive suspension Adaptive (Opt adaptive air) Opt
SatNav Opt Opt
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe BMW X6 M
Price R1 876 111 R1 757 659
Engine 5.5 litre twin turbo V8 petrol 4.4 litre twin turbo V8 petrol
Power 430 kW 423 kW
Torque 760 Nm 750 Nm
0 – 100km/h 4.2 seconds 4.2 seconds
Fuel economy 11.9L/100km 11.1L/100km
Airbags 9 6
Boot space 650 litres 580 litres
Leather upholstery Std Std
Adaptive suspension Adaptive Air Adaptive
SatNav Std Std