All-around luxury comes at a cost. There's no denying that Mercedes has revamped its focus on delivering the most luxurious vehicles in their respective classes. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is no exception with its luxury- and tech-filled cabin that'll satisfy just about any buyer.
Of course, all of that opulence comes at a cost befitting the brand. The GLE-Class starts at $55,745 including destination.
Beyond its luxury, the Mercedes GLE also offers power in gobs once you move away from its underwhelming four-cylinder base engine.
Premium interior, but gets a little noisy. Inside, the Mercedes GLE-Class boasts a cabin pulled straight from the brand’s top-selling sedan, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The interior is gorgeous and well equipped with dual 12.3-inch screens, premium upholstery, supportive seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more.
Despite its premium look and feel, the GLE was a little louder on the road than we’d expect from a luxury SUV. It’s nothing overly jarring, just more than expected. While its front thrones feature delightful equipment and comfort, the second row doesn’t get as luxurious a feel. The third row is tight and best-suited for children only.
Buyers seeking more equality between the first- and second-row comfort will find this in the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90.
Powertrain options galore, but the base engine lacks oomph. The GLE-Class has a powertrain option for everyone, starting with its base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 255 horsepower. The base engine’s 7-second 0-60 mph time is OK, but with a full load of passengers and cargo, you’ll crave the GLE 450’s 362-hp inline-six engine. The GLE 450 zips to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.
Buyers craving V8 power can start with the GLE 580’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that pumps out 483 hp and 513 lb-ft of torque for a 4.9-second 0-60 time.
There are also two AMG variants, the AMG GLE 53, which uses a 429-hp 3.0-liter inline-six engine, and the AMG GLE 63, which features a 603-hp 4.0-liter V8. Respectively, these AMG-tuned GLE-Class models sprint to 60 mph in 5.2 and 3.7 seconds.
While the 3.0-liter and larger engines are plenty for this class, the base 2.0-liter lags compared to the X5’s base 340-hp 3.0-liter inline-six engine and the Audi Q8’s base 335-hp turbocharged V6.
Loads of tech and features at a monster price. The GLE-Class is no stranger to high-end features. Not only does it come standard with supple synthetic leather upholstery, two 12.3-inch screens behind a single pane of glass, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, automatic emergency braking, and more, it also has loads of premium options.
These include lane keeping assist with automatic lane change, a surround-view camera, leather upholstery, wood trim, four-zone automatic climate control, a Burmester audio system, a third-row seat, 22-inch wheels, an AMG body kit, and more.
These features are great, but the price climbs to $114,945 including destination for a fully-loaded model, and there are still nearly $20,000 in options to add.
The X5 is similarly equipped in their respective base trims and have many of the same options. The difference is the X5 tops out at $83,795.
Final thoughts. The 2021 Mercedes GLE-Class is a stunning luxury SUV with all the features nearly anyone could ever want, even in its base trim. It’s also got a powertrain for everyone. That said, buyers seeking a fully-loaded luxury SUV will find the GLE has a very high price ceiling.
Buyers who want to check every box may be better suited in the BMW X5. The X5’s roomier and more luxurious rear seats also make it better for folks who haul their family or business associates around often.
If you prefer a more unique look, the striking Audi Q8 may be the perfect balance for you, though it struggles with similar pricing issues as the GLE.
Check prices for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class »