Limited powertrain lineup. Last year, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class was available with four different engines. For 2022, the ongoing chip shortage has forced Mercedes to stop offering its V8 engines. We hope the change is just for 2022, but Mercedes hasn’t confirmed when the V8s will return. With the change, the 2022 GLE is only available with three engines.

The GLE comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 255 horsepower. While the engine doesn’t sound that powerful for a midsize SUV, it has plenty of low-end grunt to feel quick. Still, our preferred choice is the available turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 362 hp. It’s a pricey upgrade at $53,000 over the base four-cylinder with all-wheel drive, but makes far more power, feels much quicker, and doesn’t require a massive hit in fuel economy.

With the V8 engines gone, the AMG GLE 53 is the most powerful version of the SUV available. The trim features a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine with a mild-hybrid system. Combined output is rated at 492 hp and the midsize SUV can get to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The AMG GLE 53 is an extra $10,050 over the GLE 450 and only brings the zero-to-60 mph time down by 0.3 seconds, but comes with extra performance parts that give it far more impressive handling.

Opulent, high-tech cabin. If you’re willing to pay the high price for optional features, Mercedes will pack your GLE with the latest tech features and opulent materials. The standard GLE comes with enough high-tech features to justify its price tag, but there are a large number of options that can drive the SUV’s price up.

On the tech front, the GLE comes standard with two 12.3-inch screens, smartphone compatibility, a virtual assistant that answers to “Hey Mercedes” commands, a Wi-Fi hot spot, five USB ports, a wireless charging pad, navigation, and Bluetooth. The SUV’s options list includes augmented video for the navigation system, a head-up display, and a Burmester surround sound system.

Not many midsize SUVs in the class can match the GLE’s opulent interior. The modern design, high-end materials, and upscale features result in a cabin that spoils passengers. Synthetic leather upholstery, a sunroof, ambient interior lighting, a power liftgate, keyless entry, power-adjustable front seats, and heated seats are standard. Available massaging seats, ventilated front seats, heated and cooled cupholders, quad-zone climate control, acoustic glass, soft-close doors, and Nappa leather upholstery add to the GLE’s luxurious feel.

The main issue with the GLE’s interior is the lack of space in the optional third row. It’s an additional $2,100 and doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you have small children and require seven seats. We don’t think the package is worth the price unless you try it out before purchasing the SUV. For consumers that prefer style over space, the available GLE Coupe still manages to feel comfortable for up to five people and does without the optional third row.

Plush ride or sporty handling. Because of their size, midsize SUVs aren’t exactly sports cars to drive. The available AMG GLE 53 manages, somehow, to offer athletic handling that’s impressive for a vehicle of its size. With an electronic limited-slip differential and a high-performance all-wheel-drive system, the AMG models offer surprisingly lithe handling. Options like roll stabilization and upgraded brakes further improve the GLE’s handling capabilities.

Shoppers that stick with the non-AMG models will find that the GLE delivers a plush ride. While the majority of people will find the GLE’s standard suspension to be incredibly smooth, Mercedes does offer an available air-suspension system that can be fitted with a hydropneumatic active body control system. The latter scans the road ahead and prepares the suspension for a smoother ride on rough tarmac. Additionally, the suspension can also wiggle the SUV loose if it gets stuck in mud or sand.

Great safety scores. The GLE comes with an extensive list of standard safety features, though a few more advanced features are optional. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, and a surround-view parking camera are optional. Other optional safety features include evasive steering assist, front cross-traffic alert, active emergency stop assist, active blind spot assist, and active lane change assist. A lot of these features are packaged as part of a $1,950 bundle.

The 2022 GLE has received great crash-test scores from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA gave the SUV a five-star overall safety rating. In the IIHS’ tests, the GLE won a Top Safety Pick+ award.

Final thoughts. Regardless of whether you choose the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV or coupe, the result is a luxurious, high-tech, and comfortable midsize SUV. The optional third row is cramped, the best optional features are incredibly expensive, and the GLE delivers impressive performance with the optional AMG trims. We do miss the available V8 engines and hope they return in 2023.

The Genesis GV80 may not have the cachet as the GLE, but it delivers a lot of the same features and qualities for a far more affordable price. Just like the GLE, the GV80’s optional third row is tight and the standard four-cylinder engine lacks grunt.

For a sportier SUV, there’s the Porsche Cayenne. It’s available with a dizzying lineup of engines that includes a 670-hp plug-in hybrid. Offers even more athletic handling than the GLE, can tow up to 7,700 pounds, and is only available with five seats.

Check prices for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class »