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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Overview
The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class sits firmly in the midsize luxury SUV category, competing with versions of the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, and Lexus RX. The current model has been available since 2012, when it was known as the M-Class under the previous nomenclature system. For 2019, the final year of the current generation, it sees no major updates.
In typical fashion for Mercedes-Benz, a dizzying number of trims are available under the GLE-Class umbrella. It starts with two body styles: The regular GLE SUV is a traditionally styled upright model that blends comfort and practicality, with up to 80.3 cubic feet of cargo room after stowing the rear seats. Meanwhile, the GLE Coupe is a sleeker affair, trading some of that utility for a coupe-like roofline and slightly elongated body.
From there, the trims highlight the basic powertrain of each GLE-Class variant. Last year’s base GLE 350 doesn’t return for 2019, so the lineup now starts out with the GLE 400. Available solely in the SUV body style, it gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine with 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. It’s backed by a 9-speed automatic transmission and standard 4MATIC, Mercedes-Benz’s intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. The GLE 400 hits 60 miles per hour in a respectable 5.9 seconds and tows as many as 7,200 lbs. Expect fuel economy of 17 city, 23 highway, and 20 combined.
The remaining trims were worked upon by Mercedes-Benz’s own performance house, AMG. In addition to aggressive styling and trim, these models see enhanced suspensions, engines, brakes, and tuning. The AMG GLE 43 comes with an uprated version of the base twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. It makes 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, and cuts the 0-to-60 time down to 5.6 seconds. It returns 17 mpg city, 22 highway, 19 combined. The brawnier AMG GLE 63 houses a hand-crafted twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 that puts out a massive 550 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It’ll do 60 miles per hour in as few as 4.2 seconds. Fuel economy drops to 12, 18, 14. Finally, the range-topping AMG GLE 63 S bumps things up to 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque using the same engine, while 60 miles per hour comes up in only 4.1 seconds. The GLE 63 S will return 14, 18, 15. Each of the AMG models use a performance air-suspension setup, the 4MATIC AWD system, and an AMG-specific 9-speed automatic transmission. You can get the SUV in any of the AMG variants, but the Coupe body style includes only the AMG GLE 43 and AMG GLE 63 S.
The GLE-Class comes with plenty of standard and optional content, including LED taillights, genuine wood trim, power seats, a power liftgate, leatherette upholstery, memory settings, keyless access, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start via mobile app, a power sunroof, a garage door opener, and heated front seats. Options include cooled front seats, heated and cooled cup holders, a heated steering wheel, keyless start, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive LED headlights, various grades of genuine leather, sport seats, and several appearance packages.
Despite being an older vehicle, the GLE-Class has all of the latest crash-avoidance technology. Every unit includes a reversing camera, automatic emergency braking, a driver-attention monitor, crosswind assist, and PRE-SAFE, which prepares the vehicle for an imminent collision by adjusting passenger position and closing the windows and sunroof. From there, Mercedes-Benz lets you add systems like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with intervention, active lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic detection, speed-limit recognition, automated parking, night vision, and a surround-view camera. With all of that, the GLE-Class procured a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2018.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a comfortable and luxurious midsize SUV with ample performance in every version, from the seriously quick to the wickedly wild. Mercedes-Benz plans to release the next generation of the model for the 2020 model year, but the outgoing one is certainly a compelling choice.
Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.
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