Like the mid-size Mercedes SUVs that came before, the 2022 GLE-class delivers the latest tech, a spacious interior, and more off-road capability than most owners will dare to explore. Most models come with two rows of seats, both of which are comfortable and luxurious. An optional third row is available, but it’s really good only for kids. A wall of screens dominates the GLE’s dashboard and provides a fully digital gauge display and an expansive look at the car’s infotainment all in one panel. A turbocharged four-cylinder serves as the base powertrain, but a turbo inline-six and a twin-turbo V-8 are also offered (although the V-8 will be offered in a limited supply this year). For those seeking to venture far from paved roads and civilization, the GLE can be had with an adjustable air suspension that can provide additional ground clearance and can also help rock the SUV free from deep sand or mud.
What’s New for 2022?
The GLE-class receives few changes this year, but automatic high-beam headlamps are now standard, and buyers can choose new two-tone Espresso Brown-and-black or white-and-black leather upholstery schemes. The V-8-powered GLE580 will be available only in limited quantities as Mercedes wades through a “quality issue” with its line of eight-cylinder engines.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
After driving two of the three available powertrains, we’d suggest sticking with the entry-level turbocharged four-cylinder GLE350 model. Despite the fact that it’s the lowest-powered option, it moves the GLE-class along with enough authority to satisfy most drivers, and it returned the best fuel economy in our testing. Since we’re saving our hard-earned dollars by going with the base model, we’d allow ourselves to splurge on the Premium package (Burmester audio system, 360-degree camera, and a 115-volt household-style power outlet) and the Warmth and Comfort package (heated front armrests and upper door panels). We’d also add heated seats in the second row and four-zone automatic climate control, both of which are standalone options.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Models wearing the GLE350 badge are powered by a 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with either rear- or all-wheel drive (4Matic in Mercedes parlance) and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the GLE450 brings standard all-wheel drive and a 362-hp hybrid powertrain that consists of a turbocharged inline-six and a novel 48-volt electrical system. The 2020 GLE350 required 6.6 seconds to reach 60 mph at our test track, and the six-cylinder GLE450 managed a 5.3-second time. While the souped-up Mercedes-AMG GLE53 (reviewed separately) brings even more heat, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE580 represents the most powerful and expensive non-AMG model. The 48-volt system combines with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 to make up to 504 horsepower. Every GLE-class can be outfitted with a cutting-edge air-suspension system that can lean into corners and even wiggle itself loose if the driver gets it stuck in sand or mud. The standard setup is traditional steel springs and anti-roll bars.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Surprisingly, it’s the six-cylinder GLE450 that earns the highest fuel-economy estimates from the EPA at 21 mpg city, 26 mg highway, and 23 mpg combined. The four-cylinder GLE350 earns ratings of 19/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined, while the GLE580 burns gas at a faster rate and earns ratings of 17/22/19 mpg. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test route, an all-wheel-drive GLE350 4Matic returned 25 mpg and the GLE450 4Matic delivered 23 mpg. The GLE450 goes head to head with the six-cylinder X5 xDrive40i, but the BMW wins in our fuel-economy testing with its 28-mpg result. For more information about the GLE-class’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Fine materials such as genuine leather, wood, and metal impart a sense of true luxury, but they also add a pretty penny to the bottom line. Not only can the front seats be heated, but the armrests and center-console lid can, too, quickly taking the chill out of a frigid winter morning. The spacious interior can now be outfitted with an optional third row of seats—which is a tad snug for adults—and features modern Mercedes technology found in the company’s latest luxury sedans. With the optional third row of seats stowed, we fit 11 carry-on suitcases in the cargo hold. With all seats folded to their flat positions, the GLE-class offers room for up to 26 carry-ons. The rival X5 matches the Mercedes in both metrics, but other competitors such as the more coupelike Audi Q8 held far fewer.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Dual 12.3-inch infotainment displays stretch nearly the length of the dashboard and offer several ways to interact with the system, including the MBUX voice-recognition system. Like Apple’s Siri or Google’s virtual assistant, MBUX can respond to many commands, thus enabling the driver to keep his or her hands on the wheel but still turn up the heat, switch on the ventilated-seat function, or tune to a specific radio station. A touchpad on the center console allows for tactile interaction with the infotainment system, and the screen is also touch-sensitive, but the menus aren’t all logically structured. Navigating them is better done when the GLE-class is parked. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard, which makes keeping up with calls, texts, and other communications while on the go a little easier.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
A standard suite of driver-assistance features also makes the GLE-class a good pick for families. For more information about the GLE-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Whereas BMW and Volvo include three years of maintenance in the price of any new X5 or XC90, Mercedes offers zero complimentary maintenance. As far as warranty policies go, the GLE-class’s standard offerings are among the most basic in the luxury-car marketplace.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
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