Mercedes-Benz may have developed a little bit of a reputation for spicing things up if the new 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is anything to go by.
The middle-of-the-range Mercedes GLE SUV sits neatly between others in the German manufacturer’s arsenal which includes the GLA crossover, the G-Class and the high-end GLS, but this one offers something different: not only is it available as an SUV, but also as a coupé.
So what did we make of the Mercedes GLE 2018?
As ever, there’s a huge choice of configurations for this latest mid-range SUV, but they all come with either a seven-speed or a nine-speed automatic gear box, depending on how high up the range you go.
We start with the 250d, which offers a respectable top speed of 130 MPH. Moving up through the range to the Mercedes GLE 350, which peaks at 140, then the AMG Line 450, which will get you to 60 MPH in just 5.7 seconds and reach 155 MPH.
As if that wasn’t enough, those with £97k to spare can bag themselves a very tasty GLE 63 S 4Matic Premium 5dr 7G-Tronic with a 5.5-litre bi-turbo petrol engine. You won’t find much in terms of fuel economy with this, of course, so you’ll be pleased to hear there’s also a Mercedes GLE Hybrid, which offers up to 50 miles of electric travel and is touted as a rival to the BMW X5.
If vanity’s more your bag, then you can’t miss the Mercedes GLE Night Edition, which is bolstered by “package design elements” including a high-gloss black louvre in the radiator grille and high-gloss black exterior mirrors.
The Mercedes GLE price (UK) understandably varies, starting at the 50k mark and almost doubling in the abovementioned turbo powerhouse.
So what do we get for our money?
Regardless of the trim you choose, you’ll find the same dimensions of 70.7 inches in height, 189.7 inches in length and 76.2 inches in width.
It certainly outdoes its competitors when it comes to boot space, too: it’s got 650L of space with the seats up and 1,720 with the seats down, compared to the BMW X6’s paltry 580 or 1,525.
Despite the uniform dimensions, there is some difference in the weight – for the mega-beast 550E 4Matic Plug-in Hybrid, for example, you’ll be amazed how incredibly well it pulls along at 5,456 lbs, whereas the 350 weights a comparatively low 4,650 lbs.
Do these differences have any effect on the way it drives?
In a word, no. Even in the entry-level models, like the four-cylinder 250d, there’s no struggle to get the GLE moving.
Naturally, as you progress up through the range, you’ll find it’s even more rapid and responsive - for example, the 350d six-cylinder diesel.
Take on the juggernaut 63 S AMG and you’ll be in for one hell of a ride – it pulls like a train despite its incredible kerb weight.
On the downside, the lower-end models can be a little unrefined with their engine noise, and Comfort mode should not be chosen for going over bumps. But for all these minor faults, it’s still incredibly efficient and powerful for its size.
There’s great visibility thanks to the raised height, though be extra cautious when changing lanes as the side mirrors are a little bulky.
In spite of this, there are still plenty of comfort options including heated front seats and dual climate control, plus you can even make use of the electronic four-way lumbar adjustment.
When it comes to technology, there’s everything and then some: the GLE offers standard features such as a satnav and DAB radio, but they go the extra mile with on-board DVD players.
The downside to this is that you are quite literally spoilt for choice – you can waste hours trying to make simple changes using the touchpad, rotary dial or even voice control, when you really should just be focusing on the road.
Still, it’s got a very plush leather interior, but that’s to be expected from a Mercedes GLE for sale at this price.
We loved being spoilt for choice with this latest SUV, even right down to choosing whether to buy it outright or choose the Mercedes GLE lease option.
There are still areas that could be refined, but what we have is an efficient, powerful range of cars that wipe the floor with their competitors.