PERFORMANCE AND FUEL ECONOMY
The GLE-Class utilizes one of the few non-turbo engines left in Mercedes portfolio, a 3.5-liter V-6 found in the base GLE350 (rear-wheel drive) and GLE350 4Matic that produces 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The GLE350 comes with an EPA rating of 17/23 mpg city/highway with rear-wheel drive and 18/22 mpg with all-wheel drive. The GLE550e 4Matic plug-in is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 436 hp and 479 lb-ft and delivers 20/23 mpg, 43 mpge with help from the plug-in hybrid system, and can run on all-electric power for up to 8 miles. The AMG GLE43 sports a twin-turbo V-6 that now produces 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque and is rated at 17/23 mpg. The AMG GLE63 and range-topping GLE63 S pack a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 that produces 550 hp, 516 lb-ft in GLE63 form with 577 hp and 561 lb-ft if you go for the S model. The engine delivers 14/18 mpg in both power outputs. With the exception of the rear-drive GLE350 base model, all models come standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The GLE AMG43 is the only GLE model to utilize the nine-speed automatic, the remaining models use a seven-speed automatic.
The GLE-Class is considered a 2021 Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS (the highest designation) because the crossover received the highest rating of Good in all five conducted crash evaluations and the highest score of Superior for front crash prevention. The GLE completely avoided 12- and 25-mph frontal collisions thanks to the optional Active Braking Assist with Cross-Traffic Function that is found in the available Premium 3 package. Unfortunately, the standard Active Braking Assist system did not properly warn the driver of a possible collision and the IIHS did not test this system’s emergency automatic braking feature. Additional driver assist safety features found in the Premium 3 package include Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keep Assist, Active LED headlights, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Parking Pilot (self-parking system), Distance Pilot Distronic with Steering Pilot (adaptive cruise control with lane centering), a surround view camera system, speed limit assist, and Pre-Safe Plus (applies brakes after accident). Standard features include Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist (drowsy driver alert), trailer stability assist, crosswind assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep warning, rearview camera, and Pre-Safe (pre-collision preparation).
UTILITY (CARGO SPACE AND INTERIOR ROOM)
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 (also 4Matic) and GLE550e offer 38.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up and 80.3 cubic feet with the seats folded down. That’s a decent amount of cargo room but slightly less than the three-row Volvo XC90’s 85.7 cubic feet of total cargo room. Front seat legroom measures in at 40.3 inches and 38.4 inches for the rear seats.