Review

The Mercedes GLE350 Was The M-Class Before BMW Complained

There were a couple of reasons. Only one made sense.

Today it’s called the GLE-Class, but it didn’t always have that moniker. It was originally called the M-Class, which was Mercedes-Benz’s first mainstream SUV that launched back in 1997. We all knew it as the M-Class until 2015, when it also received a refresh. So why the name change? A couple of reasons. Mercedes wanted to change its entire crossover/SUV lineup to three-letter monikers (exception being the G-Class). The second was that BMW objected because it feared people would confuse it with its own M-badged models.

So now it’s the GLE-Class and we recently checked out the 2017 GLE350, powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 mph? Try 7.5 seconds, which ain’t too bad for a nearly 5,000-pound midsize luxury crossover.

Its 2015 facelift also included an exterior update featuring the German automaker’s latest styling language, but look closely and you’ll still be able to see this car’s age both inside and out. That’s not to say it’s no longer competitive. The GLE30 has a lot going for it as it takes the fight to the likes of the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5. However, it became clear to us that Mercedes needs to redesign the GLE-Class fairly soon. Considering a brand new Cayenne is on the way and the Maserati Levante is hitting showrooms as well, competition is as fierce as ever. Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento for letting us film the car.

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Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV
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