Reviewed: The new GLE

The new GLE has been making waves ever since its launch earlier this year. Combining the size and practicality of a seven seat SUV, with the power and agility of a four-wheel drive, it’s a class defining vehicle. The new engine boasts the most powerful and efficient acceleration ever, as well as being the first SUV to feature our state of the art MBUX infotainment system. There’s no doubt that this car has a lot to get excited about.

We invited County Gazette’s Motoring Expert, Brendan Cox, to explore this car and its extensive features…

Let’s hand over to Brendan:

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE is a stunning large luxury SUV with a more dynamic look and a more sophisticated feel than ever before.

The second generation Mercedes GLE is a strong contender in the segment thanks to smarter looks, more efficient engines and the option of seven seats for the first time. That’s because it’s significantly bigger inside than its predecessor, hence a bigger boot. The suspension’s improved too and there are greater levels of safety and media connectivity.

Think of all the preconceptions around a large, luxury SUV: thirst, poor performance, huge tax costs, wobbly handling? Yet some motorists 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 very heart of the segment and is positioned nicely in the Mercedes-Benz range.

As you might be aware, cars in the GLE’s class tend to fall into two categories in their appeal to likely buyers. Seven seat practicality is favoured by some, while others are attracted by five seat options which offer more dynamic looks and agile handling. This Mercedes, now offering up to seven seats, hopes to appeal to both areas of this segment taking it all on the chin.

This GLE has a more purposeful look than its predecessor. You get a longer wheelbase, short overhangs and large flush fitted wheels. There’s also an upright radiator grille and a beautifully sculpted bonnet showing off two power domes with a muscled shoulder look which continues all the way to the rear.

Inside, the 80mm wheelbase increase makes the car feel much more spacious, but 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 work with the new MBUX voice-activated multimedia system.

There’s more space in the second row too plus, for the first time, a third seating row has been fitted into this car. 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. In conjunction with AIRMATIC air suspension, the vehicle’s rear can be lowered by around 40 millimetres for easier loading and unloading.

Other standard kit runs to Blind Spot Assist, 20 inch five-twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels, illuminated grab handles, illuminated running boards, LED headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist and privacy glass. Inside, there’s anthracite open pore oak wood trim with Nappa leather upholstery. A mirror package includes automatic dimming for the driver’s exterior mirror and the rear-view mirror, plus logo projection onto the ground when you open the door at night.

You also get heated front seats, a parking package including Active Park Assist, automatic two-zone climate control and Traffic Sign Assist. A long list of camera-driven safety features are now included, including Active Steering Assist and an Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC feature that gives a degree of autonomous driving.

There’s also an ASSYST dashboard service indicator that monitors engine use and tells you exactly when a garage visit is due. It’s also worth mentioning that the Mercedes me remote online services package, that comes as part of the infotainment system, includes remote self-diagnostic capability, enabling your GLE to monitor wear and tear items, and alert your local dealer to let you know if something needs seeing to.

So, how to sum up this GLE? Well I am struggling to think of any other vehicle in this category that offers a better all-round package. Quick, capable, practical and luxurious, this is the car Mercedes always should have had in this segment.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is available now. Visit your local dealership, or book a test drive today. 

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