As brilliant as the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 is, the field of competitors against which it is pitted is strong. While the model does offer greater offroad capability than the top ranked models in the segment, prowess in this area isn’t the hole card one needs to take the pot in this game.
Buyers shopping this category seldom (if ever) venture off pavement, so it usually comes down to style, features and yes — price. In those regards, the GLE-Class SUV is closely matched and —in some cases — even bettered by its rivals from Genesis, Porsche, BMW and Volvo.
With that said, this would be a bad time to for you stop reading, as a strong case can be made for the Mercedes just the same.
Slightly updated exterior styling, a new plug-in hybrid iteration, a refreshed interior treatment and a revised infotainment interface all deem the midsized luxury SUV worthy of a test drive.
A paragon of style, tech and sheer capability, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE glides into the new model year with a lot in its favor. I spent a week with the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic to see just how much.
Those of you with an acute sensitivity to detail will note the new grille treatment’s tiny three-pointed stars. Additionally, the revised treatment is convex, rather than concave and the horizontal elements flanking the main logo have been enlarged.
Brightwork has been added to the lower front air intakes and the lighting treatment has been reworked to feature a new daytime running lamp configuration.
New alloy wheel choices in 19-inch and 20-inch sizes are now available, with diameters ranging up to 22 inches should one opt for the AMG Line exterior treatment.
At the rear, a new taillight treatment distinguishes the ’23s from the ’24s.
The new steering wheel incorporates touch sensors on the main spokes. This enables interaction with comfort, convenience and control features without removing your hands from the steering wheel.
HVAC vents are now enhanced with chrome surrounds, a feature previously exclusive to the top line Mercedes-Maybach GLS. The ambient light piping now offers the same choices found in the GLS.
Four engines are offered with the 2024 GLE. Each powerplant employs a 48-volt electrical system with an integrated starter generator. Thus, all of them are electrified. Each powerplant is also mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The base engine, a 2.0-liter 255-horsepower turbocharged 4, is fitted to the GLE 350 and can be had with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. The other powertrains are all-wheel drive only.
My GLE 450 test model ran a 375-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6. The V-8 option, designated GLE 580, displaces 4.0-liters and employs twin turbocharging to produce 510 hp.
Rounding out the offerings is the GLE 450e, which combines plug-in hybrid capability with the turbocharged four to produce a total system output of 381 hp.
Safety and Technology
The widescreen instrumentation and infotainment interface is back for a return engagement, with dual 12.3-inch monitors encased in a single frame. The right-most screen, dedicated to infotainment functions is also touch activated.
The “Hey Mercedes” function has a learning component now and can initiate online services in the “Mercedes Me” app. Additionally, there is no longer a need to use the phrase “Hey Mercedes” for certain operations, such as responding to a phone call. It is also capable of teaching — upon hearing a request beginning with the word “help.”
The system performs functions such as adjusting the climate control; activating seat ventilation and tuning the radio, Mobile WiFi, as well as wireless CarPlay and Android compatibility are standard.
Serving up 375 hp at 5,800 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque at just 1,800 rpm, the GLE 450 I drove offered strong acceleration throughout its rev range. Steering and brake response were commensurately balanced against the performance potential of the engine.
However, I found the GLE 450 to display a surprising deficit of body control when driven in the comfort and eco modes. Undulating surfaces imposed a startling measure of sympathetic ride motions, perhaps best described as wallowing. While the effect was diminished in sport mode, this made the GLE 450 deliver something of a stiff-legged response to pavement irregularities.
On the other hand, ride quality over smooth pavement was outstanding, accompanied by the relative quiet and stability on the highway one expects from a Mercedes.
2024 Mercedes-Benz 450 GLE 4Matic Specifications
|Dimension||L: 194.3 inches/W: 79.1 inches/H: 70.8 inches/Wheelbase: 117.9 inches|
|Powertrain||3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder; 9-speed automatic transmission and AWD|
|Fuel Economy||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||375 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $69,500; As tested: $97,275|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
There is much to admire about the updated 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. That said, there is much to admire about the competitive set as a whole. The Genesis pretty much matches Benz in style and content for quite a bit less money. The BMW and Porsche are more attuned to the driving enthusiast, while the Volvo’s interior treatment bests every model listed above.
Still, there is the undeniable cachet of driving a Mercedes-Benz product. The Merc is better off road.
2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic — Frequently Asked Questions
What is new in the 2024 GLE 450?
A redesigned front and rear styling includes a new grille, new bumpers and updated front/rear lamps. There are two new paint colors: Twilight Blue metallic and nonmetallic MANUFAKTUR Alpine Grey. Two new interior colorways are offered; Catalana Beige/Black and Bahia Brown/Black. There is also a new steering wheel with sensor surfaces.
Is the Mercedes GLE reliable?
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE achieved a J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 80 out of 100. A score of 91-100 is considered the Best; 81-90 is Great; 70-80 is Average; 0-69 is Fair, which is considered below average.
Where is the Mercedes GLE 450 made?
Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The GLS, GLE Coupe, and C-Class sedan are also produced there.