Mercedes GLE review

Category: Luxury SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Mercedes GLE 2021 rear tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 front tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 rear tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD instrument panel
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 rear seats
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 infotainment
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 front tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 front right panning
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD front seats
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD folding third row
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD control closeup
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 boot open
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 front tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 rear tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD instrument panel
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 rear seats
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 infotainment
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 front tracking
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 front right panning
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD front seats
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD folding third row
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 RHD control closeup
  • Mercedes GLE 2021 boot open
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

We’d stick to the 245bhp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel Mercedes GLE 300d. It pulls strongly from around 1500rpm and the standard nine-speed automatic gearbox kicks down promptly when you floor the accelerator pedal, with similar performance to the Audi Q7 45 TDI. The six-cylinder 350d and 400d offer more punch, with the latter delivering particularly strong acceleration smoothly and without fuss.

If you’re looking to go green or save money on company car tax, there’s the 350de plug-in hybrid. It has a less powerful (194bhp) version of the 300d’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine plus an electric motor. The hybrid is officially a little quicker than the 300d and feels quite muscular when pulling away. Its claimed electric-only range is up to 66 miles and low official CO2 emissions put it in a very low company car tax band.

Suspension and ride comfort

Two suspension setups are available on the Mercedes GLE, but the decision is made for you depending on your engine choice. In short, the entry-level 300d comes with conventional steel springs, while plusher air suspension is fitted to the more potent engines.

We haven’t tried it with steel springs yet, but we’ve been impressed by the cars we’ve driven with air suspension (Airmatic in Mercedes speak). The GLE is more comfortable than a Land Rover Discovery on town roads and is really quite cosseting on a motorway. However, the slightly wallowy nature means you’ll notice your head swaying around on uneven country roads. We’d recommend standard 20in alloy wheels; cars with the bigger optional 22in alloys are much less comfortable.

New car deals
Save up to £2,291
Target Price from £64,670
Save up to £2,291
or from £777pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £69,980