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    Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class 450 4Matic First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

    10,324 Views
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Front Three Quarter
    Mercedes-Benz GLE Right Side View

    Why would I buy it?

    • Glorious straight-six petrol engine
    • Luxurious cabin
    • Muscular proportions and stance

    Why would I avoid it?

    • No major changes to the cabin
    • Misses out on a few new-age tech

    What is it?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Updated for 2023, this is the new GLE-Class with a few nips and tucks here and there. But with the facelift comes a big price hike. Now, you must have seen the muscle of the GLE put to good use in action movies with an all-black fleet typically shooting or blowing up stuff. None of that brawn is lost in this update. On the contrary, it has gotten a bit more burly thanks to its larger set of headlamps, sculpted bumper design and the wheel-arch extensions that make the GLE’s stance proper mafia-like (if only it were done up in all-black here as well).

    Left Side View

    At the back, the sleeker pair of taillamps with a newer signature gives it a more modern appeal compared to the bulbous taillamp design of the outgoing version. And the faux chrome exhaust tips look sporty, if not AMG-esque aggressive. Rounding things off are those gorgeous-looking AMG-spec 20-inch wheels, which do justice to the GLE’s stance. Overall, I love the way this new GLE looks.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Is the cabin of the GLE any good?

    9 / 10

    Dashboard

    Not a lot has changed on the inside of the new GLE. Sure there's the massive panel of screens atop the dashboard, which is a trend these days, but this dashboard layout came into existence long before this trend caught up. So if you are moving from a 2020 GLE into this one, the changes you'd notice here would be little to none. The only change would be the new steering wheel, which is the most elegant one in Merc’s portfolio.

    Instrument Cluster

    Integrated into the dashboard is the retained 12.3-inch touchscreen which can be controlled using the older touchpad, whereas in cars like the new C-Class and S-Class, this “analogue” dial has disappeared altogether. The changes (or the updates) to the MBUX interface would only be noticeable to hard-core Mercedes-Benz purists. But you do get newer connectivity features, wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, 360-degree view and fancy 3D maps.

    Front Row Seats

    That said, this unchanged cabin isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s still among the best you can ask for when it comes to automotive luxury. Space on offer here is abundant and makes you feel like a proper celebrity getting away from the paparazzi when you get in. Add to it the large and comfortable seats. Even the quality of materials and fit and finish is put together keeping in mind only one thing - pampering its occupants.

    Second Row Seats

    Mercedes has meticulously retained the physical buttons everywhere. Even the passengers in the second row get buttons on the door for electric adjustment of seats and window blinds. And the seats also offer great support and comfort, preventing any kind of tiredness even after spending long hours in.

    Instrument Cluster

    What the GLE - even in its most modern avatar - misses out on is ADAS: something that should have been part of the package at this price.

    Is the GLE good to drive?

    8 / 10

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Anyone opting to buy a luxurious, full-size SUV would usually opt for an oil-burner and Mercedes-Benz is offering two of those. There’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 265bhp and 550Nm, while the bigger diesel is the 3.0-litre straight-six making 362bhp and an earth-moving 750Nm. For those fearing the nearing disappearance of diesel-powered cars, we are sampling the sole petrol derivative here – the 450 4Matic – with a 3.0-litre inline-six producing 375bhp and 500Nm. All three versions get a nine-speed automatic, mild-hybrid and AWD as standard.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Something that diesel owners would surely love about this engine is the vibration and noise-free feel of this six-cylinder. Helped by the mild-hybrid and engine start-stop function the engine shuts off quickly and is barely noticeable as it leaves no vibration in its wake. And then there's the engine in itself. It's potent, to say the least, with huge reserves of power. Pottering around town, it will row through the gears and hang in seventh or eighth gear with revs going as low as 700rpms. But when you smash the throttle the kick-down is lightning quick, and the digital rev counter races towards the redline with urgency seen in a runaway train. And the gearshift’s sound when the rev-counter hits the limiter is gloriously sonorous and is music to our ears.

    Left Side View

    Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-100kmph time of 5.6 seconds, which is quick. When we tested on our VBox, the time was 5.84 seconds, while the in-gear acceleration for 20-80kmph was 3.55 seconds and for 40-100kmph was 4.54 seconds. These are impressive figures for the heavy-weight tipping the scale at around 2.5 tonne. But that’s not the only impressive thing about the GLE 450. We did a real-world fuel mileage test of it and it returned a city mileage of 7.11kmpl and highway mileage of 11.17kmpl, rounding an overall real-world mileage of over 8kmpl. These figures are highly helped by the mild-hybrid tech and a dexterous engine start-stop function. This combined with an 85-litre fuel tank allows a proper range of around 700kms. Not the figures you’d be seeing in any EV anytime soon. But if you are planning to belt out all those 375 horses, the mileage figure will surely take a severe hit.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    In the drive modes department, you do get Eco and Off-Road modes, but strangely no Sport mode. As for the ride quality, the air suspension isn’t the most pliant over bad surfaces. There’s considerable movement felt inside the cabin when driving over pothole-ridden roads with garnishing of jiggles that come with air suspensions. However, highway stability is phenomenal and you can hold three-digit speeds all day without bother. The stiffer suspension also helps with reduced body movements around turns and corners. With quick and smooth steering, manoeuvring the mammoth-like GLE around city confines isn’t nerve-wracking either. We couldn’t test the off-road suite in the limited time the GLE was with us though.

    Right Side View

    Should you buy the GLE 450?

    8 / 10

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Prices for the new and updated GLE range between Rs 96.40 lakh and Rs 1.15 crore (ex-showroom). And the 450 petrol we are driving here costs around Rs 1.37 crore on-road Mumbai. This brings it dangerously close to the EQE SUV’s pricing. However, the direct rival to the GLE - the BMW X5 - has also undergone a mid-life update and it still undercuts the Three-Pointed Star even in the range-topping xDrive40i MSport guise. The new GLE then costs around Rs 10 lakh less than EQE, but is an equal amount more expensive than the petrol X5.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    With this update, the GLE maintains its resolute position as a proper full-size luxury SUV with the snob value only a Merc could get you. Its petrol powertrain is fantastic to drive too. And the more time I spent with it, the more of its shortcomings started to become irrelevant. The GLE then is like one of those tailor-made Saville Row suits, which will retain its grandeur no matter how many “drips” come and go.

    Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi

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