2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

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MSRP: $52,200 - 111,860

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE has an elegant interior, strong engine performance, and lots of standard features. It ranks in the middle of its class, however, because it can’t match the value or fun-to-drive handling of its top rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of powerful engine choices
  • Posh interior
  • Lengthy features list
  • Less athletic than many competitors
  • Coupe has limited cargo space and visibility

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLE a Good SUV?

Yes, the Mercedes-Benz GLE is a good SUV. In fact, we named it our 2018 Best Luxury 2-Row SUV for Families. The five-seat GLE has a handsome and roomy interior, a long list of standard features, muscular engine performance, and strong safety ratings. It also has an above-average predicted reliability rating. It’s not perfect, though. The GLE’s ride quality and driving dynamics aren’t as polished as those of other vehicles in this class. The GLE Coupe variant also offers marginal cargo space for a luxury midsize SUV.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz GLE?

The Mercedes GLE is certainly a fine option in this class – it just isn’t a standout. If you want seven seats, you’ll need to look to SUVs like the Audi Q7, Acura MDX, and Volvo XC90. These models are also less expensive than the GLE. Alternatively, consider the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne if athletic handling tops your luxury SUV checklist.

Compare the GLE, X5, and Cayenne »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz GLE?

Mercedes-Benz launched the GLE during the 2016 model year as a replacement for the 2015 M-Class. There have been few major changes to the GLE since its introduction, so it may be worth shopping for a very similar used model to save money. That said, if you're looking for a diesel engine, you'll only find it in 2016 models (it was discontinued for 2017). For 2018, the twin-turbocharged V6 in the AMG GLE 43 gains an additional 23 horsepower.

To research other used GLE models, be sure to read our reviews of the 2016 and 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE »
We Did the Research for You: 46 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank. This 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz GLE Cost?

The GLE’s base price is just over $52,000. That’s above the median price for a luxury midsize SUV, but there’s quite a range in this class. The GLE’s price can rise well above that initial figure, however. The 550e plug-in hybrid starts at around $67,000, and the lowest performance trim (the AMG GLE 43) starts at around $68,000. The GLE 63 trims start north of $100,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLE or BMW X5?

The BMW X5 is one of our top-ranked luxury midsize SUVs. It delivers an engaging driving experience, thanks to a firm suspension and sharp handling that enthusiasts are after. The X5 is also available with a third row of seats, which the GLE doesn’t offer. There are a lot of similarities between this BMW and its Mercedes rival, though. Both vehicles offer plug-in hybrid variants as well as high-priced, high-performance trims in their lineups. The GLE has more standard safety features, a slightly nicer cabin than the X5, and a lower base price by about $5,000. Both of these SUVs are good picks, but you'll have to decide if you’re willing to pay extra for the added sportiness of the X5.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLE or Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 is another highly ranked SUV in this class, and it’s a better value than the GLE. The 3-row Q7 starts at just under $50,000 and offers seating for seven and standard all-wheel drive. You’ll get a more athletic driving experience with the Q7, as well as a smoother and more comfortable ride. That said, both vehicles offer a comparatively long list of standard features and luxe interior materials.

Compare the GLE, X5, and Q7 »

GLE Interior

How Many People Does the GLE Seat?

The GLE seats five, and both rows of seats have plenty of space for adult passengers, even in coupe models. The large doors make it easy to get into and out of the vehicle, and finding a comfortable driving position is a snap.

GLE and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the GLE, and the system is easy to use. The tether anchors and lower anchors are easy to find, and it doesn’t take much force to attach car seat straps.

GLE Interior Quality

The GLE's opulent cabin is attractive and functional, featuring high-quality materials everywhere you look and touch.

GLE Cargo Space

The base GLE provides more cargo room than many of its competitors. It has more than 38 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. That’s plenty of room for a family’s vacation luggage or for you to take your dogs with you on a day trip. Fold the rear seats down, and you have more than 80 cubic feet of space, allowing you to fit large outdoor gear or furniture items.

Coupe models aren’t quite as spacious; they have 23 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 60.7 cubic feet with them folded.

GLE Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the GLE include dual-zone automatic climate control and the COMAND infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Available features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, navigation, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

The COMAND system’s control knob has a bit of a learning curve, but the infotainment system is otherwise easy to use. There are also physical controls for some functions, letting you avoid the control knob if you prefer.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

GLE Performance

GLE Engine: No Shortage of Choices

There are several powertrain options, ranging from the GLE 350’s 302-horsepower V6 to the twin-turbocharged V8 powering the AMG GLE 63 S that puts out 577 horsepower. There’s even a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The base V6 doesn’t move the GLE that easily at higher speeds. The more powerful V6 in the AMG GLE 43 is a better choice because of its superior acceleration. The V8-powered AMG trims deliver breathtaking power – more than most people really need.

GLE Gas Mileage: Just OK

The GLE 350 gets 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, which is comparable to the ratings of many competitors. The 2018 GLE plug-in hybrid can drive up to 8 miles on electric power alone, and it returns 21 mpg combined city/highway in hybrid mode. The high-performance AMG models are less efficient. The GLE 43 earns 17/23 mpg, but the GLE 63 gets a poor 14/18 mpg.

GLE Ride and Handling: Trailing the Competition

The GLE rides smoothly as long as the pavement isn’t too rough, and it has an adjustable suspension that lets you opt for a sportier or more cushioned feel. Handling is adequate, but you can't push the GLE on winding roads, as it lacks the agility of many competitors. This may not come as a surprise, but don’t expect much off-road capability from this refined Benz.

Read more about performance »

GLE Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLE Reliable?

The 2018 GLE has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Warranty

Mercedes-Benz covers the GLE with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. Those are typical warranty terms for a luxury vehicle.

Read more about reliability »

GLE Safety

GLE Crash Test Results

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE earns four out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s rollover test. At the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the GLE received the top score of Good in five crash tests. It also scored Superior for its front crash prevention features and was rated Acceptable for headlight performance. With all of those ratings, the GLE was named a 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick.

GLE Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, crosswind assist, a drowsiness monitor, and Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe, which tightens the seat belts, closes the windows, and locks the doors when the GLE senses a crash is imminent. Available features include blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, parallel park assist, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view parking camera.

Read more about safety »

Which Mercedes-Benz GLE Model Is Right for Me?

There are several GLE trims, but the main thing separating them is the powertrain. Beyond that, the standard and available features don’t vary that much. With that in mind, you should determine what powertrain you want and choose accordingly.

The base GLE 350 has sufficient power, but it isn’t that quick. You’ll likely prefer the superior acceleration that the GLE 550e (a plug-in hybrid) or AMG GLE 43 (the lowest performance-oriented trim) provide. The higher AMG trims deliver dynamic performance, but they cost substantially more and don’t represent a great value.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 350

The GLE 350 is the base model, and it has a starting price of $52,200. It features a 302-horsepower V6 engine. This is the only trim that doesn’t come standard with all-wheel drive (it has rear-wheel drive), but you can add AWD for $2,500.

Standard features in the 350 include leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, push-button start, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, a drowsiness monitor, and the COMAND infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port.

The Premium 1 option package ($3,050) adds Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, navigation, and a Harman Kardon audio system. You can add several features individually, including a panoramic sunroof ($1,000), ventilated front seats ($570), massaging front seats ($1,100), heated rear seats ($580), a rear-seat entertainment system ($1,950), and more.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e

The GLE 550e is this SUV’s plug-in hybrid model, and it starts at $66,700. It features a twin-turbo V6 engine and an electric motor that combine to put out 436 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard. Other standard features include crosswind assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Many of the same individual options that you can add to the GLE 350 can be added to the 550e, and for similar prices.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 43

The AMG GLE 43 ($67,750) is the lowest of the performance-oriented trims. It features a twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 385 horsepower – 23 horsepower more than the 2017 model. This trim also features a nine-speed automatic transmission (this is the only trim that doesn’t have a seven-speed automatic). Standard and available features are otherwise similar to the 550e’s offerings.

The AMG GLE 43 is also available in a coupe body style, which has less cargo space and a more cramped rear seat but is otherwise the same. The coupe version has a starting price of $70,500.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63

The AMG GLE 63 starts at $102,550. It features a twin-turbocharged V8 that puts out 550 horsepower. The GLE 63 comes standard with a surround-view camera, parallel park assist, and Nappa leather upholstery. The available features list is the same as in the lower trims.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S

The AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC has a starting price of $109,700. This is the most powerful and fastest trim in the lineup. It features the same twin-turbo V8 as the AMG GLE 63, but in this trim, that engine produces 577 horsepower. The standard and available features lists mirror those of the GLE 63. As with the AMG GLE 43, you can get the AMG GLE 63 S in a coupe body style, which starts at $111,860.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE has a lot going for it, especially in terms of interior quality. However, it only finishes in the middle of our class rankings because it lags behind most of its rivals in terms of athleticism and value. While this Mercedes is a great choice for some buyers, many shoppers can probably find a class rival they like better.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "What are you looking for from a luxury SUV? If it's comfort, ample cargo space and many available features, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class could be for you. A wide range of available engines furthers its appeal." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The GLE, no matter what flavor of powertrain a person selects, is the complete package. It still has the utility to carry all the gear for a hockey team, but it does so with more luxury than before." -- Motor Trend (2016)
  • "Despite the new name, Mercedes is not really blazing a new trail with the GLE-class, but with an improved interior and a broader model range, it is better able to cover the wide spectrum of the segment it helped create." -- Car and Driver (2016)
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