$53,700 MSRP
Save money, save time.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Performance Review


Performance: 8.5

The redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE features two new engines and improved handling. Among its enhanced suspension systems is a high-tech option that helps the vehicle lean into curves like a motorcycle rider does, resulting in a natural-feeling ride. Though this SUV's focus is still firmly on comfort, the GLE's enhancements make it more lively and agile than before. 

  • "… Mercedes has achieved complete, real-time control of each damper and negated the need for anti-roll bars, just like Super Series McLarens. The results are shocking and wonderful, in terms of both ride quality and handling." -- Motor Trend
  • [The Transmission] … operates with velvety smoothness in each driving mode, and it picks gears very smartly. In comfort mode, it short shifts to keep the revs down, and doesn't worry about banging through gears too quickly. But in sport mode, the gearbox happily brings shift speeds right up to sports car levels." -- Autoblog
  • "Driven like a Mercedes, it's all but impossible to find fault with the GLE. … It does our enthusiast hearts well to see Mercedes-Benz returning to the straight-six engine layout, which is inherently balanced and rich in low-end torque." -- Truck Trend

Acceleration and Power

The 2020 GLE comes with two new engine choices. Though both provide lively acceleration, the uplevel six-cylinder is unquestionably more robust. This snarly engine will be the pick of the litter for heavy-footed drivers. The standard nine-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth, precisely timed shifts.

Under the hood of the GLE 350 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that cranks out 255 horsepower. As of this writing, a fuel economy rating isn't available for the base rear-wheel-drive configuration. When outfitted with optional all-wheel drive, the GLE 350 delivers 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. This gas mileage is slightly above average for a luxury midsize SUV.

The GLE 450 comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder. This 362-horsepower engine drops the zero-to-60-mph time from 7 seconds in the 350 to 5.5 seconds here. Also standard is a 48-volt system with EQ Boost that improves both acceleration and fuel efficiency. It provides a shot of up to 21 horsepower for short sprints and allows the SUV to coast with the engine off to save fuel. As a result, the GLE 450 achieves the same city gas mileage as the GLE 350, and its highway rating only drops to 24 mpg.

Shoppers in search of other GLE powertrain options will have to wait. According to Mercedes, a performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 is scheduled for the 2021 model year, but the carmaker is mum on the possibility of a future plug-in hybrid GLE. 

  • "Somewhat surprisingly, power from the GLE350's turbo 2.0-liter never left us wanting for more, and both engines pair intelligently with a nine-speed automatic transmission. … Perhaps it was the added weight of the electrical components, active suspension, and giant sunroof, but the GLE450s we drove didn't feel radically quicker than the more lightly optioned GLE350s." -- Car and Driver
  • "The turbo four is fine, strong even. I'm sure it would be acceptable for 85 percent of buyers. But this new I6, it's just fantastic in everything I've driven it in." -- Autoweek
  • "The GLE450 digs in with effortless torque and pulls strongly. Moreover, it pulls smoothly, thanks to the trademark balance of straight-six engines, and offers up a surprisingly snarly sound under power. This is, without question, the GLE I'd want simply for its right-now passing performance." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The 2020 GLE receives high marks for its updated handling, and professional reviewers say both the standard and optional suspension systems are fantastic. Though no SUV this size can deliver a perfect ride, the GLE comes about as close as you can get, thanks in part to its multiple drive modes. This Mercedes glides over rough pavement, maintains composure through turns, and is easy to maneuver.

Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The optional E-Active Body Control has the ability to manipulate each wheel individually. This increases stability in turns and is useful when navigating off-road trails. 

  • "Mercedes-Benz has reinvented the way the SUV rides, and it is sublime." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The first GLE 350 we sampled had good ol' steel springs, which provide a nice balance: The ride is firmer than we expected … but nowhere near punishing. Grip was impressive. … In the curves, the steel-sprung GLE 350 we drove felt more responsive and eager than Mercedes SUVs of yore, though calling it fun-to-drive might be stretching the truth. Next, we drove a GLE 450 with the Airmatic suspension, which reminded us of why we're so fond of air springs. The ride is glass-smooth with excellent body control in the curves. It's the perfect setup that should please enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The GLE 350 with its conventional air suspension is clearly tuned for softness and comfort. … Switching to Sport modes firmed things up, eliminating the floatiness while still keeping things comfortable over small bumps. That's our preferred setting. The GLE 350 handles fairly well, too, despite the generally soft suspension tuning and omnipresent body roll. Steering is accurate and feels appropriate for a midsize crossover. It's a welcome change from some other Mercedes cars that have overly light, disconnected steering. The chassis generally feels neutral and reacts promptly. While it's no canyon carver, it's secure and planted." -- Autoblog
  • Great Savings
  • Minimum Savings Guarantee
  • Hassle-Free Experience

More than 150,000 car shoppers have purchased or leased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,383 off MSRP across vehicles.
Learn More »

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode