The new 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class mid-size SUV is here with improvements aimed at making it more stylish and easier to live with. This car has always been a bit of a mixed bag and in our last review of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, we said that the local lineup has its moments of brilliance, but that it also has a few red marks on its report card, most notably the base model's suspension setup. With this refresh, we hope Mercedes has addressed our most pressing concerns to push the Merc further up the mid-size SUV pecking order against tough competition. With rivals including brilliant cars such as the Genesis GV80, Audi Q7, and BMW X5, the Merc had a few too many character flaws to grant it true stardom in this competitive segment.
With mild-hybrid tech across the board and a rash of meaningful updates that include a comprehensive new Off-Road Engineering Package, the GLE wants another shot at the top, while appealing to more adventurous buyers at the same time. The normal GLE lineup comprises a base four-cylinder GLE 350, a mid-range GLE 450, and a V8-powered GLE 580, ranging in power output from 255 to 510 horsepower. There's a brand-new GLE 400e PHEV now as well, and the refreshed GLE Coupe and AMG models will be coming out in 2023 as well.
See trim levels and configurations:
|GLE 350 4MATIC SUV||
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
|GLE 450 4MATIC SUV||
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
After a teaser late in January, Mercedes unveiled the refreshed GLE to the public on January 31, 2023. We cannot tell you the exact release date of the 2024 Mercedes GLE-Class yet, as Mercedes-Benz USA has only said that it will arrive in 2023 as a 2024 model, likely in the first half of the year. As per Mercedes norms, we anticipate that AMG and GLE Coupe models - both reviewed separately - will arrive a little later than the regular GLE.
While the price of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class will only be announced closer to its release date, we're confident it won't cost much more than the current model and is likely to start at $58,000-$60,000, just a smidge above the current starting MSRP of $57,700. Mercedes would most likely want to squeeze in at a base price below $60,000, especially in view of the fact that the newly upgraded BMW X5 comes with a more powerful base six-cylinder engine that starts at $65,200. Speaking of the X5, it remains the GLE-Class's chief rival and comes with an updated plug-in hybrid variant of its own which begins at $72,500; however, it's both more powerful and quicker than the GLE's PHEV.
Other familiar foes include the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.
The current model has access to nine hues, with not a single shade of blue among them. For 2024, the choice of colors offered for the Mercedes GLE will be expanded with the addition of Twilight Blue metallic, which is most welcome, as well as Alpine Grey, a Manufaktur color. If you're not into all the grays and blacks that make up the majority of the choices, you should still have access to more extroverted shades such as Cardinal Red metallic. Mercedes has not said whether any of the existing hues will be discontinued.
The exterior updates are subtle but noticeable. At the front, the bumper has been reshaped and the grille now has two horizontal louvers with chrome inserts, while the front bumper's outer air intakes also gain horizontal chrome accents. The headlights have been restyled with a distinct "light flare" motif as in other Benzes. Multi-beam LED headlights with four light points are offered as an option, as is ambient lighting that projects an animation of the Mercedes-Benz pattern. At the rear, the taillights have been changed and now feature a revised lens layout with a light signate made up of two horizontal blocks. The front brush guard - a faux skid plate - has also been enlarged. New 19- and 20-inch wheel designs become available.
The previous chrome "dots" in the grille of the AMG Line exterior (standard on the GLE 580 and optional on all the other trims) have been replaced with a multitude of small chromed Mercedes-Benz stars; this exterior package also comes with special AMG front and rear fascias (with a diffuser-look insert at the rear) and body-color treatment for the wheel-arch cladding. A new optional 21-inch wheel design becomes available for the AMG Line.
None of the changes for the new model year should dramatically affect the exterior dimensions of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and unless the slight reprofiling of the front and rear bumpers add or subtract fractions of an inch, the numbers should stay the same. We expect the SUV's length of 194.3 inches, its width of 76.7 inches without the mirrors (84.9 inches with them), its wheelbase of 117.9 inches, and its height of 70.7 inches to be unchanged on the 2024 model. The curb weight of the 2024 GLE 350 will probably increase a little due to the addition of the mild-hybrid hardware, but it can't be much at all, since Mercedes claims virtually identical performance specs for the new GLE 350 - the only directly comparable model with no extra power but 8% more torque. Given that the current 350 4Matic has a curb weight of 4,718 pounds, we reckon it shouldn't stray much past 4,800 lbs with the mild-hybrid tech on board.
The addition of the mild-hybrid system has not made any difference to the power output of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Mercedes GLE 350 and it still produces 255 hp. However, it has boosted torque from 273 lb-ft to 295 lb-ft. The quoted 0-60-mph time of 7.1 seconds for the GLE 350 4Matic has been fractionally improved, with Mercedes now quoting seven seconds. The GLE 450 4Matic always had a mild-hybrid system but it's been further improved and power output has crept up marginally from 362 hp to 375 hp, while torque remains the same at 369 lb-ft. This has dropped the 0-60 sprint from 5.5 to 5.3 seconds.
The mild-hybrid twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 in the GLE 580 4Matic has also come in for some revisions, upping power from 483 hp to 510 hp and torque from 516 lb-ft to 538 lb-ft, usefully dropping the 0-60 from 4.9 to 4.3 seconds. All GLEs have a limited top speed of 130 mph. The new GLE 400e 4Matic PHEV model has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 248 hp and 295 lb-ft, supplemented by a 134-hp/325-lb-ft electric motor for system outputs of 381 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds. We review the PHEV separately.
The power is transmitted to the road via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes does not list a base RWD GLE 350 anymore because this model has apparently been dropped. New is an optional Off-Road Engineering Package, available on the GLE 580, It provides 1.2 inches of additional ground clearance courtesy of the AirMatic air suspension and comes with an underride guard. The system integrates with MBUX and provides special displays such as a compass, the roll angle, the steering angle, and the gradient. When the Parking Package is selected with its included 360-degree camera, a "transparent hood" function is added to the off-road package. Other optional new driver-assistance tech includes Trailer Steering Assist, Trailer Maneuvering Assist, and a trailer route planner.
We are most interested in the fuel economy of the 2024 GLE-Class, given that so many of its mechanical changes aim to improve efficiency. Without mild-hybrid assistance, last year's GLE 350 4Matic achieved 20/24/21 mpg on the EPA's city/highway/combined cycles. The six-cylinder mild-hybrid GLE 450 4Matic actually improved on the four-cylinder's performance and achieved 20/25/22 mpg. The situation should be reversed this year and we expect the new mild-hybrid GLE 350 to easily eclipse the old 350 (and the 450). Given the focus on efficiency, we expect the GLE 450 to also post fractionally improved gas mileage.
For the sake of comparison, the BMW X5 xDrive40i, also a 3.0-liter turbocharged mild-hybrid AWD car, gets EPA estimates of 21/25/23 mpg, figures we expect the new GLE 450 to at least match. The GLE 580 4Matic posted 16/21/18 mpg last year and we're hoping these figures will also improve. By how much, we won't know until the EPA has tested the new GLEs.
The design of the seats and layout of the Mercedes GLE's interior stay the same and you'll be hard-pressed to spot the changes, but they're there. Classy chrome finishes inherited from the Mercedes-Maybach GLS now adorn the air vents and there are new interior color schemes - Bahia Brown/Black and Catalana Beige/Black. The steering wheel is new and now incorporates touch-sensitive controls on its horizontal spokes for operating the digital gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen. Additional Manufaktur interior trim options become available, again borrowed from the Maybach GLS; this includes Piano Black Flowing Lines trim. GLE buyers also have access to the S-Class' interior color palette when selecting the ambient interior lighting. Two USB ports with a 100W output are available in the center rear armrest. Personal sound setup and Dolby Atmos have now also been added to the premium Burmester audio system.
The biggest news on the inside is the overhauled MBUX infotainment system, which enters its second generation in the GLE with many improvements. The system is now more intelligent and claimed to be easier to use. The 12.3-inch dual screens have been retained, but improvements are claimed to extend its abilities. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also arrive with the new MBUX iteration and with Mercedes' Online Music service, many music-streaming providers have now been integrated into the MBUX system. The "Hey, Mercedes" voice assistant is more interactive and if you activate Mercedes' online services in the Mercedes Me app, it becomes capable of learning. You don't need to say "Hey, Mercedes" for some actions, such as when answering a phone call. The assistant can also explain things to you now, like where the first-aid kit is or how to connect your smartphone. Other features such as the lighting and blinds can now also be controlled by voice. The new software can be updated over the air.
In terms of the interior and trunk space of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, no changes are reported and these metrics should remain unchanged. The GLE was already one of the roomiest mid-size SUVs in the premium class with figures such as a spacious 40.9 inches of legroom for the second row, compared to 37.4 inches in the X5. As is the case with its rival, the optional third row is small and only suitable for children. It's right on par with the X5 in terms of cargo space as well, with a luggage compartment of 33.3 cubic feet behind the second row - enough space for 11 carry-on suitcases.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV: