$37,068 - $76,505

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class was new.


Performance: 7.8

The new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class earns praise for its powerful engine lineup, with reviewers noting that all models offer brisk acceleration. Test drivers say the GLE-Class feels composed around corners. They note though some rivals feel sportier, the GLE-Class offers great ride comfort. Fuel economy estimates are typical for the class.

  • "If the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE is missing something, it's excitement and emotion. We can't find much fault in how Mercedes has engineered the GLE to meet the needs of well-to-do families in need of both utility and efficiency, and it's hard to blame the company for meeting every expectation without fuss or fanfare. While the rival BMW X5 has a bit more flair for sportiness, Mercedes says it intentionally positioned the GLE on the more comfort-oriented side of the spectrum." -- Automobile Magazine
  • The GLE drives like an SUV. It feels heavy and solid and comfortable." -- Motor Trend
  • "All in all, the 2016 GLE Coupe is an interesting piece of SUV/car chimera, and despite niggling complaints, it's enjoyable to drive and comfortable to ride in." -- Yahoo Autos

Acceleration and Power

The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 302 horsepower. There are also a number of available engines. The GLE300d has a 201-horsepower 2.1-liter four-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel engine and the GLE400 comes with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that makes 329 horsepower. The GLE450 AMG, GLE63 AMG and GLE63 S AMG, which is available as a coupe, are high-performance trims. The GLE450 AMG comes with a 362-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, and the GLE63 AMG and GLE63 S AMG each have a 577-horsepower 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The GLE550e is a plug-in hybrid that has a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine and an electric motor. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models except the GLE450 AMG Coupe, which has a nine-speed automatic transmission. All GLE models are also equipped with Mercedes’ ECO start/stop feature, which conserves fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. A standard Dynamic Select system allows drivers to select from four modes: individual, comfort, slippery and sport. All-wheel drive models equipped with the available On/Off-Road package have a fifth "off-road" mode. The base GLE-Class earns 18/24 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is on par with most rivals' estimates. The GLE300d earns great fuel economy estimates of 22/29 mpg city/highway.

Reviewers say that no matter which engine you choose, the GLE-Class has plenty of power and accelerates with ease. They add that the GLE550e Hybrid model performs similarly to gas-only GLE-Class models. For the most robust power delivery, reviewers suggest the GLE63 AMG. Some critics complain that the start/stop system is intrusive and wish it operated more smoothly.

  • "The 3.0-liter V-6 engine provides just the right amount of power whenever you need it, and fuel economy will only improve when the nine-speed automatic becomes available for the 2017 model year." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "[The GLE550e Hybrid is] the quickest of the full-roof GLEs, and if the mileage justifies the entry price, why not? We found no visceral or functional differences compared to its straight IC partners, save one. The battery takes eight cubic feet of cargo space, all behind the back seat, and it reduces what's there by a third. It also raises the load floor close to a foot above the bumper." -- AutoWeek
  • "Our initial impressions suggest that, as far as the diesel-powered GLE is concerned, everything we experienced when we tested the ML250 Bluetec a few months ago carries over. The torquey four-cylinder, which produces 201 horsepower and 369 lb-ft, feels quicker than the specs suggest-we saw an 8.3-second zero-to-60-mph time in our testing." -- Car and Driver
  • "With roughly the same output as the ultrahigh-performance Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, the GLE63's acceleration belies its size and weight. The exhaust offers a pleasing baritone grunt during heavy throttle, and audible pops on gearchanges and abrupt lift. Mercedes says the GLE63 S will reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds (5.6 seconds for the GLE450). We believe it and will happily validate at a later date." -- Edmunds
  • "If this were my daily-driver, I'd turn off the engine stop-start system every time. It's clunky and unrefined, especially because when it shuts off the vehicle, the steering wheel doesn't move, creating a moment of panic every time you pull on the wheel and it feels locked. (As soon as you take your foot off the brake, the vehicle quickly starts and the wheel moves again.)" -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Automotive journalists agree that all models of the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class offer composed handling through turns, as well as a cushioned ride. They note that for remarkably sporty handling, the GLE-Class Coupe is the best choice. While reviewers like the standard GLE-Class' steering feedback, a few find it to be a bit slow and numb. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "… and despite sitting up high as if you are in an SUV, it handles relatively well on winding roads. Even the AMG GLE 63 S wallows in the turns, but in sport mode the steering is just as direct and responsive as, say, a big 7 Series BMW." -- Yahoo Autos
  • Although I did not like the feel of the GLE Coupes' steering, I thought the regular GLE's steering felt comfortably numb. I did not have the same expectations in this SUV and thus, the additional play on the wheel was perfectly acceptable." -- Motor Trend
  • "The GLE450 executes all of its tasks with markedly more nimble response, even though it has a little more body roll in hard cornering and takes an extra 1.4 seconds to hit 60 mph." -- Autoblog
  • The ride remains as pillowy as ever with the optional air suspension in comfort mode. Sport mode brings tidier body motions and a bit more communication from the chassis, although the steering remains slow off-center and aloof regardless of the setting. Relaxed as it is, we expect it will be perfectly aligned with most GLE buyers' expectations; anyone in search of a more sporty luxury-ute experience will probably not even look at a GLE-class unless it wears 'GLE63 AMG' badges on the back-that is, if they get past the Porsche store without driving off in a Cayenne." -- Car and Driver
  • With claimed weights of 4,894 pounds for the GLE450 and 5,180 pounds for the GLE63 S, both models are heavy. And though the GLE63 S's ride is generally well controlled, you can tell it's working hard to mask its considerable weight, especially since it's riding on huge 22-inch wheels and tires (285/40 front and 325/35 rear). Considering the weight, height and wheel size, the GLE63 S handles well. A short section of road containing tight switchbacks revealed a stable, friendly and extremely fast machine. The variable steering ratio helps make it feel nimble at low speeds, and the brake system (15.4-inch front and 13.6-inch rear rotors) offers strong, repeatable stopping power." -- Edmunds

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