2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV Test Drive Review: A New Level Of Comfort

In case you haven't been keeping up-to-date with Mercedes-Benz SUV nomenclature, the GLE replaced the old ML. This means the 2020 GLE competes in the mid-size SUV category against models like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Jaguar F-Pace, Maserati Levante, Porsche Cayenne, and Volvo XC90. The GLE's prices don't differ too much from these rival luxury vehicles, either.

The GLE is currently available with three engine options - a four-cylinder GLE 350 model, a six-cylinder GLE 450 model with an EQ Boost mild hybrid system, and a GLE 580 with a twin-turbo V8 developing 483 horsepower supplemented by the same EQ Boost mild hybrid tech. While the outgoing GLE was simply a rebadged ML, this all-new model displays some of the best technology Mercedes has to offer including a highly-advanced suspension system and new infotainment system.

Read in this review:

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 GLE-Class SUV?

The 2020 year model sees the introduction of an all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE to the USA, the second generation of the nameplate and the first to be developed in its entirety as a GLE, after the previous generation's changeover from the previous ML nameplate. This new model arrives with a vastly improved exterior, interior, and engine choices.

Pros and Cons

  • Spacious, high-quality interior
  • Now offers available three-row seating
  • Highly intuitive MBUX infotainment system sets new class standards
  • Optional E-Active suspension is remarkably comfortable
  • Two strong drivetrain options
  • Gets expensive very easily
  • Gearshifts feel rough
  • Third row is tight for adults
  • Voice command can be frustrating
  • Brakes feel weak on such a heavy vehicle

Best Deals on 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Trims and Specs

2020 GLE-Class SUV Exterior

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Front View CarBuzz
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Side View
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Rear View CarBuzz
See All 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Exterior Photos


  • Length 194.3 in
  • Wheelbase 117.9 in
  • Height 70.7 in
  • Max Width 76.7 in
  • Front Width 65.6 in
  • Rear Width 66.4 in

Exterior Colors

  • Obsidian Black Metallic +$720
  • Lunar Blue Metallic +$720
  • Iridium Silver Metallic +$720
  • Emerald Green Metallic +$720
  • Brilliant Blue Metallic +$720
  • Mojave Silver Metallic +$720
  • Selenite Grey Metallic +$720
  • designo Cardinal Red Metallic +$1,080
  • designo Diamond White Bright +$1,515
  • Black
  • Polar White

2020 GLE-Class SUV Performance

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Engine
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Engine 1
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Gear Shifter

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas, 4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

With the 2020 GLE, Mercedes has managed to change the game on comfort in the midsize SUV segment. Our tester was equipped with the $8,100 E-Active Body Control Package, which allows the driver to control the Airmatic suspension at will. Flipping the GLE into off-road mode raises the suspension to its highest setting and enables a feature called Free Driving Assistant. This system can literally bounce the vehicle up and down in the event it gets stuck in snow, sand, or mud. It can also be used to entertain the kids and participants at car shows.

When the GLE's suspension isn't bouncing you out of a predicament, it is graciously gliding over all imperfections on the road. Thanks to an ability to read the road ahead using cameras and sensors, speed humps are essentially erased by this suspension. We've never driven an SUV, aside from maybe the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, that rides over bumps more smoothly. When the roads get twisty, the GLE also has a 'curve mode' that nearly eliminates body lean, which is impressive on such a large SUV.

Mercedes has also included a Sport Mode, though it is not the GLE's main purpose. Steering is fairly light and not as precise as some competitors, so we don't consider the GLE as the king of the pack for sporty driving dynamics. We also felt the need to lean heavily on the brakes when bringing the GLE to stop, which is likely due to its nearly 5,000-pound curb weight.

2020 GLE-Class SUV Interior

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Interior CarBuzz
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Screen
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Front Seats
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 40.3 in
  • Front Head Room 40.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.6 in

2020 GLE-Class SUV Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Maximum Cargo Space
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Trunk
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Rear Passenger Seats

2020 GLE-Class SUV Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV a good car?

It would be underselling the 2020 GLE if we didn't say it was the best all-around package in the mid-size luxury SUV segment. With handsome looks, a stunning interior, advanced technology, off-road credibility, smooth engine, and flawless ride, there's almost nothing not to like about the GLE. The only SUV we've ever tested that can match the GLE on comfort is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, which is more than four times more expensive.

There are sportier SUVs in the segment, like the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne, but if you already have a sports car in the garage, why do you need your SUV to be sporty? We could complain that the GLE is far from the prettiest model in the Mercedes lineup and the third-row space is pitiful but we think it best to consider the GLE as a five-seater and wait for the GLE 63 AMG to dial up the flare.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Comparisons

Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV Mercedes-Benz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV255 hp19/27 mpg$56,150
Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV 255 hp22/27 mpg$43,850
BMW X5 335 hp21/26 mpg$60,600

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV vs Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV

Wonderful though the GLE may be, it's a lot of SUV, and for many buyers, the smaller GLC may be enough. Smaller in size, the GLC only seats five, as opposed to the optional seven in the GLE, but five adults will still be relatively comfortable. Based on an older generation of vehicle architecture, it still boasts a refined interior with high levels of available technology that place it firmly in the luxury category, but the GLE is classier, roomier, and offers technology that elevates the industry as a whole, not just the mid-size SUV segment. The MBUX infotainment system is more intuitive and advanced than the GLC's COMAND system, however, the older setup still compares favorably to the systems found in rivals. The GLE rides better too, especially when equipped with the E-Active Body Control, and the engines are more refined and powerful than those of the GLC. But the GLC is much cheaper - the concession made as you're getting much less SUV for your money. The GLE is better than the GLC every metric, but if you're only just stretching your budget for a base GLE 350, a well-specced GLC may suit your needs a little better.

See Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV Review

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV vs BMW X5

Both the X5 and the GLE have been newly developed for the current model year, taking great leaps beyond what previous generations offered. Both offer comfortable, roomy seating for five, but the GLE offers available seating for seven - even if the third-row is somewhat cramped. Both offer comparable cargo volume and high-quality interiors, and both are extensively equipped with safety and technological conveniences, but the Mercedes feels more luxurious overall, aided by the class-leading ride quality when equipped with the E-Active Body Control. In terms of engines, both offer a couple of good options with similar performance, but the X5's eight-speed automatic is more refined than the GLE's nine-speed. Both the X5 and GLE rank near the top of this segment, and priced similarly they'll be at the top of your shopping list. Either is a good buy, but if comfort is your priority, the Merc just edges the BMW for the top spot.

See BMW X5 Review

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Popular Comparisons

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV Video Review

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