Mercedes-Benz GLE400

Mercedes’ midsize SUV gets a new designation

"Below the big screen are the infotainment and HVAC controls that we've been watching since 2012."

"The GLE gets a wealth of changes inside and out, including new front and rear fascias and freshened interior styling and color combinations," said Issam.

"Different name…same spirit."

Mercedes-Benz has thoroughly revised its best seller in the SUV segment, the M-Class, to GLE-Class. The highlights of the new GLE include considerably more appealing front and tail ends and extensive measures that make new benchmarks possible, with regards to emissions and drive system. The advantages of the new GLE further include optimum on-road and off-road handling, outstanding spaciousness and high levels of active and passive safety.

The name has changed, but the spirit remains, well, mostly the same. The updated 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (previously known as M-Class or ML) is all about refinement and a new attitude.

The extensive range of standard equipment for the new GLE is based on the successful predecessor model, and enhanced with new assistance systems including: Crosswind Assist, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, ECO start/stop function, the DYNAMIC SELECT controller on the center console (which offers four driving modes), the revised multifunction steering wheel, as well as the Audio 20 CD infotainment system with a new, semi-integrated media display and communications module for the use of Mercedes connect me services are also part of the standard delivery scope. Both diesel models come with the compelling 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission.

This high equipment level as standard can be upgraded even further with attractive equipment packages. The Driving Assistance package Plus includes: DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop & Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and PRE-SAFE PLUS. The Parking package, with a 360 degree camera and Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC, guarantees an excellent overview and problem-free manoeuvring into and out of parking spaces.

Freely combinable packages lend the GLE additional appeal. With the AMG Line Exterior, the GLE has a more dynamic and athletic appearance. This package comprises, among other things, front and rear aprons in the distinctive AMG body styling and 50.8 centimeter (20 inch) AMG alloy wheels. Those who like things even more exclusive can combine this feature with the Night package, which features high-gloss black for the radiator grille louvers, exterior mirror housings and window weatherstrips, for example. The options lineup is rounded out by high-sheen black 50.8 centimeter (20 inch) AMG alloy wheels.

The AMG Line Interior transports the sporty appearance inside with sports seats with ARTICO man-made leather upholstery (optional nappa leather), a black nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel, an instrument cluster with round dials in chequered-flag design, and brushed stainless steel sports pedals.

Driving impressions
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class delivers luxury ride quality on most surfaces. But when the road gets rough, it is not unusual to feel mild shakes and waves throughout the cabin. Compared with other luxury crossovers, the GLE feels overly soft, and handling is uninspiring on stretches of road. The GLE400 gets a turbocharged 3.5 liter V6 that produces 329 horsepower and 480 Nm of torque.

Verdict
Even with the slight updates to the standard GLE, there's plenty here to keep its momentum going until the next generation comes along. Visit a dealer in the Middle East where you can compare the new GLE with the 2012 through 2015 models.

Pros: Quiet cabin, well-built interior with a roomy backseat, standard safety and technology features
Cons: V6 engine is simply passable, slow handling response
Rivals: Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg, Lexus RX, Infiniti QX70
One word: Matching
3.5 STARS

Specs
3.5 L twin-turbocharged V6, 329 hp @ 5250 rpm, 480 Nm @ 1600 rpm
7 speed automatic, AWD 4MATIC
0-100 km/h: 6.6 sec, top speed: 250 km/h, fuel consumption: 10.7-13 L/ 100 km
Weight: 2126 kg

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