Auto123 evaluations the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350.
It was referred to as the ML. And chances are you’ll do not forget that below that identify, it made an enormous impression when it hit the market in 1997 as Mercedes-Benz’s first mass-market SUV (not counting the stand-apart G Class, in fact).
Maybe as a result of it was such a pioneer, it was a hit from the beginning. Nonetheless, the ML additionally left its mark for one more cause: its poor construct high quality and reliability. Mercedes-Benz, nonetheless, ignored the criticism and caught with its offspring. Because the, the generations which have succeeded each other have seen the mannequin develop in high quality and stature.
Throughout its earlier redesign, launched for 2012, the ML entered the massive leagues. In 2015, it adopted the brand new nomenclature nonetheless in impact at Mercedes-Benz and have become the GLE. Final 12 months, it was redesigned to begin the last decade in fashion.
And that is what it does. It did effectively within the first pandemic 12 months and 2021 guarantees to be its greatest gross sales interval in lots of moons. So what makes it so fashionable?
Listed below are my explanations for the GLE’s reputation, and why it’s so worthwhile for the German automaker. As a result of make no mistake: for Mercedes-Benz, this mannequin is a real money cow.
A GLE for everybody
This overview issues the 350 model of the GLE, however you must know that there are a number of variants within the lineup and that every one is geared toward a unique purchaser. Right here, a fast tour of the household to know the model’s technique.
From 255 to 603 horsepower
Inside a given lineup, it’s normal to seek out completely different variations of a mannequin, every providing gear ranges applicable to the variant’s place within the hierarchy. The GLE isn’t any completely different, however the selections prolong to what consumers can get below the hood.
And of these selections, there are 4. Sure, 4!
It begins with the 350 mannequin and its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Then comes the 450 mannequin and its 3.0L turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, that one able to 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Then come the AMG variants. First, there’s the 53, which makes use of the identical engine, however tuned to provide extra energy. It boasts 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Lastly, with the AMG 63 S variant, a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 sits below the hood, pushing the output to 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. A light-weight hybrid system helps every of the AMG engines.
A 9-speed transmission, tuned for extra sportiness within the AMG fashions, is customary all through, as is 4Matic all-wheel drive.
Which one is extra fascinating? Truthfully, it depends upon your tastes and wishes. In my humble opinion, the only option is the 450 variant, highly effective sufficient to do justice to the emblem on the entrance however not fully overpriced just like the AMG variations.
And anyway, what would we do with 603 horses on our roads in Canada? The AMG fashions are tailored for Germany and its Autobahn, however however the corporate loses nothing by providing them right here, particularly because the clientele desires them.
For these clients, success is measured in horsepower.
The 350 mannequin
So what in regards to the entry-level 350? It is not uninteresting, however regardless of the goodwill and competence of the 4-cylinder engine that drives it, an enormous luxurious SUV saddled with a small-displacement engine isn’t usually a mix that turns my crank. The shift to electrical will resolve the difficulty of such mismatches, however for now, it’s nonetheless like bringing a knife to a gunfight.
That, in fact, is a matter of opinion. Mine. You would possibly discover the wedding to be simply high quality. If that’s the case, good for you. I simply assume that with the 6-cylinder below the hood, the 450 model is extra compelling. And the value distinction? The 350 mannequin begins at $69,990, whereas the 450 mannequin begins at about $77,000.
With AMG merchandise, we’re on one other degree – however so are the costs, with the GLE fashions going for about $92,000 and $133,000 respectively.
Right here’s my second argument for why I might select the GLE 450 over the 350. Let’s take the next two examples. Whereas each autos profit from 4Matic all-wheel drive, its settings are extra various with the 450 mannequin. Particularly, torque will be distributed in 50/50 proportion (entrance and rear) with the GLE 350. With the 450, it will probably go from 0 to 100% at every axle.
As well as, the optionally available E-Lively Physique Management system will be chosen to handle the firmness of the springs and shocks, in addition to the peak of the suspension at every wheel. This modifications every part in terms of dealing with.
There are lots of examples of this. Let’s simply say that if you wish to construct a GLE that is good, you’ve got extra selections with the 450 mannequin, and that is to not point out the truth that it is a greater deal.
As for the driving expertise, you may have guessed that it varies enormously from one GLE to a different. With the 350, the emphasis is on consolation and that is what you must search for. Efficiency is respectable, however neglect about any notion of sportiness; dealing with is extra gentle than agency. As soon as once more, this brings us again to the alternatives of a correctly geared up 450 model.
As for all times on board, it is good. High quality, soundproofing, consolation – discovering fault in any of these areas is an actual problem. As for the gear, it’s important to make selections, or compromises, with the 350 mannequin.
By the best way, relating to the query of choices, know that with Mercedes-Benz, as with German luxurious automakers, the amount of add-ons provided is staggering. As are their costs.
Contemplate your wants before you purchase; your pockets shall be higher off.
And contemplate as effectively the upkeep prices past the producer’s guarantee. Leasing ought to be a precedence in case your price range will not be limitless.
The GLE continues to be a great deal, however within the quick time period. I would not decide to a really long run with this automobile. Its wonderful resale worth means you could reap the benefits of cheap month-to-month funds (cheap within the context of the class), however, once more, every part will rely in your selections.
As a result of when you begin ticking gadgets on the choices record, an the invoice can and can go up in a short time.
The selection provided to customers
Construct and end high quality
MBUX multimedia system and inside design
We like much less
Worth of the choice packages
The 350 model is a bit bare-bones
Barely lazy journey (350 model)
Land Rover Defender 110
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 footage