Mercedes has sold more than 20,000 units of the GLE (and the ML before it) and that says a lot for the kind of popularity this luxury SUV enjoys in our market. It does have a lot of rivals and yet it has managed to grab eyeballs which is a great feat. For 2024, Mercedes has given the GLE a mid-life update and with that, the prices of the vehicle have also gone up by upwards of Rs. 20 lakh which is significant, so what do you get for so much?
The exterior looks unmistakeably GLE thanks to its curvy design and wraparound glass at the back. Mercedes has given the bumpers a redesign while the headlamps, taillamps and DRLs have also been tweaked a little. The vehicle also gets a new grille with a single slat design. The 300d variant comes in the Professional trim with simple bumpers while the 450d and 450 get the AMG pack.
We sampled the 450 petrol which is priced at Rs. 1.37 Crore (on-road, Mumbai). It comes with 20-inch wheels that go really well with the SUV’s design. What’s different on the inside? Well not much apart from a new steering wheel, air purifier, fragrance dispenser and heating/ventilation function for the front seats. While the SUV retains its 12.3-inch screen, the UI does get a refresh and it now has extra features like 3D maps for the onboard navigation, better resolution for the 360 view camera and wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay.
The GLE also gets basic ADAS features but not the whole suite like other Mercedes vehicles and hence it misses out on features like adaptive cruise control. What’s also missing is wireless charging for the rear passengers. The GLE is a comfort-oriented SUV and boy it doesn’t disappoint here at all. I really loved the size of the front seats, the superb driving position and the sheer comfort that these seats offered.
The same story continues at the back because the rear seats are also extremely good. While the middle passenger may not get a lot of leg space, the side passengers will love the space and comfort on offer. I think chauffeur driven owners are going to love spending time at the back. What’s also nice is the ride height of the car which is not too much and not too less. The GLE that we get in India is the LWB version and while the rear passenger cannot control the front passenger seat, the driver can control it and slide it all the way ahead to free up even more space.
Now let’s talk about the performance. We sampled the 450 petrol version which comes with a 3.0-litre inline-6 engine churning out 380 HP and 500 Nm. The engine is fabulous and comes with great figures to boot. This 2.3 ton SUV is propelled from zero to 100 km/hr in about 5.6 seconds which is excellent. The engine is also superbly refined. At idle, there are no vibrations or noises whatsoever and even when you’re on the go,
The engine and the 9-speed gearbox work in tandem to offer a great driving experience but that said, the GLE doesn’t really have a sporty side when it comes to handling. It is big & heavy, the suspension is soft and it prefers going easy rather than being driven very aggressively. The BMW X5 in comparison has much better handling. The usual GLE customers won’t find this to be a deal-breaker though. The GLE also misses out on a Sport mode which could have probably made things more interesting.
By segment standards, the new Mercedes GLE is pricey but it does score high on the luxury and comfort fronts. This SUV rivals the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 and looking at the kind of sales the previous versions of the GLE got, I think people would still be ready to pay a premium for this one as well, and once they do that, they’ll love this comfortable SUV.