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Raising the Bar: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE on Everyman Driver

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is a midsize SUV that offers buyers top-ranked luxury in a practical SUV. It nicely balances a smooth, quiet ride and car-like handling. The cabin comes standard with many comforts and tech features, and options like an air suspension and AMG performance engines. The GLE received a full redesign in 2020. Starting around $55,000, it’s one of the most sophisticated family SUVs on the market.

Pros: Large, comfortable cabin with a smooth ride; Excellent second-row and cargo space; Many standard and available tech features; Fun-to-drive performance variants

Cons: Fewer standard driver assists than some rivals; Some competitors offer better fuel economy; Costly upper trim levels and options

SHOP SMARTER WITH PRICE QUOTES! Price and test drive AT LEAST three different vehicles. A vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses can only be discovered from behind the wheel! Price quotes are essential! Follow the links and instructions at the bottom of this article to start your search today. Just select the make & model of the car you are interested in below.

A unique powertrain distinguishes each trim level of the Mercedes-Benz GLE. The GLE 350 has a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is more than enough for daily driving, and the GLE 450’s 362-horsepower six-cylinder turbo provides extra confidence when passing other cars on the road.

AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s in-house performance shop, engineered the AMG GLE 53’s turbocharged six-cylinder to produce 429 horsepower. The luxury choice of the group, the GLE 580, has a smooth and powerful turbocharged V8 engine, which generates 483 horsepower. And finally, performance enthusiasts will love the AMG GLE 63 S and its twin-turbo V8, which makes an astounding 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque.

The GLE uses a nine-speed automatic transmission, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters come in AMG trims. Premium fuel is required, and there is a 22.5-gallon fuel tank. The EPA estimates a GLE 350 should return 22 mpg combined, which is on the lower end of the class. By contrast, the AMG GLE 63 S and its sports car-like performance should get about 16 mpg overall.

The GLE comes in five trim levels: GLE 350, GLE 450, AMG GLE 53, GLE 580, and AMG GLE 63 S. The AMG trims are also available in sleek, four-door coupe body styles. All-wheel-drive is standard on all but the entry-level GLE 350, which sends power to the rear wheels only. Shoppers get many standard comfort and convenience features with the GLE. Exterior highlights include fully-automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, alloy wheels, power-folding memory side mirrors, a compact spare tire, a power moonroof, a hands-free power liftgate, parking sensors, and a backup camera.

All new GLEs also get automatic parking assistance. Interior features include premium leatherette or leather upholstery, wood trim, power heated front seats, a 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat, proximity keyless entry, tri-zone climate control, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, in-vehicle wireless Internet, navigation, USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen.

As it is a Mercedes-Benz, the optional features list is impressive. There are many interior and exterior color options and high-end wood trims. Buyers can add things like wireless phone charging, massaging front seats, a Burmester premium surround-sound system, a third-row, advanced driver safety aids, and sound-dampening cabin insulation. There are also heated and cooled cupholders, soft-close doors, and four-zone climate control.

Pricing starts around $55,000 for the entry-level GLE 350 and tops out at about $114,000 for the AMG GLE 63 S.

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