2021 Mercedes GLE 350 4-Matic: Overview
The midsize SUV of Mercedes is 25 years young. A quarter of a century go it was difficult to imagine that SUVs would become so popular and fill every segment of the automobile landscape including luxury brands. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 4MATIC, our tester, is now one of the most preferred models of the German brand in Canada and the USA.
This latest generation of the GLE is beautifully yet conservatively designed with good proportions. This vehicle is easily recognizable as a modern Mercedes with excellent built quality inside and out. Our tester had four optional packages worth almost 10K thus climbing the MSRP to 79K. (The Premium Package, Premium Plus Package, Technology Package and Sport Package) Features such as 20-inch wheels, heated armrests and door panels and Burmester audio system complement the luxury ambiance. (See also below Pricing.)
2021 Mercedes GLE 350 4-Matic: Engine and Powertrain
2021 Mercedes GLE 350 has a 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. It delivers 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque. The acceleration for 0-100km/h is 7.1 seconds, as per specification. (We did not perform an instrumental measurement.) The power and torque feel sufficient for daily use. Still, we noticed the difference between the more powerful E 450 with the 3.0-litre engine we tested earlier this year. This engine is mated to a 9-speed G-Tronic transmission and provides a smooth ride and change of gears.
2021 Mercedes GLE 350 4-Matic: Interior
The interior, which is largely identical to the E Class has a smart and sophisticated design. The dashboard, built around the MBUX system is impressive, with high-quality materials and first-class craftsmanship. The combination of open-pore wood, soft plastic and leather creates a luxurious atmosphere. The ambient lighting is impressive while driving at night. Both the first and second-row seats provide the highest comfort and wide space. Mercedes made this task easier by giving up with the third row. Unlike some rivals like Audi Q7, Mercedes offers only two rows of seating for its midsize SUV. Whoever needs more space with the same level of comfort, should move to the more expensive GLS Class. Alternatively, customers who stay in this class can order the third-row option for $2,400 but should be satisfied with an emergency space.
Nevertheless cooled front seats remain as an unfulfilled wish even as an option.
The head-and legroom in the second row elevates this vehicle to an executive-level comfort. The panoramic sunroof does not reduce headroom and gives more light.
Twin 10.25-inch displays housing the MBUX infotainment system display and show the level of the GLE 350’s technology and refinement. But this system deserves an easier and less distracting control. Simple commands like changing tracks require multiple movements. The displays are crystal clear and the commands are executed fast. Voice commands work well, even if slower than the buttons and conventional controls. The augmented reality for the navigation system is simply impressive and another proof of technological advancement Mercedes has reached.
It is surprising that Mercedes does not offer adaptive cruise control even at this price point and level of technology.
The cargo space is reasonably good for a midsize SUV. With the second row in use, it is 934 litres and can be expanded to 2121 litres with the second-row seats folded down. Under the floor, there is additional space for dirty or wet items.
2021 Mercedes GLE 350 4-Matic: Driving Impressions
The ride is very comfortable and smooth even without the more advanced air suspension available at higher models. Different ride modes are well-sorted and more on the comfort side. This was the case at least for our test drive and the routes we selected between Toronto and Niagara Falls. We did not have a chance to test the vehicle on mud or gravel. And we believe that most GLE drivers would do the same.
Mercedes-Benz has yet to announce official consumption ratings for the 2021 GLE 350 4-MATIC, but we observed 10.7 L/100km in a combined cycle biased towards highway driving. This model requires premium 91-octane fuel. All models of the GLE come with standard 4-MATIC all-wheel-drive in Canada. The GLE 350 has a towing capacity of 7,700-pounds or 3500 tonnes.
2021 Mercedes GLE 350 4-Matic: Pricing and Equipment
Starting at $69,900, our tester has an MSRP of 79K. This is comparable to rivals like the BMW X5 or Audi Q7. However, Audi offers a third row with space for adults. The Japanese rivals, the Acura MDX and Lexus RX are more competitively priced.
For pricing and equipment details of our tester, please see the window sticker below:
2021 Mercedes GLE 350 4-Matic: Conclusion
The GLE 350 is a wise choice in the luxury SUV segment for those who appreciate the prestige of the three-corner star and top-notch German engineering.
For more detailed and up-to-date information, please visit: http://www.mercedes.ca