“The All-Rounder Movie Star”
The GLE 450 can trace its heritage back to the M Class of Mercedes from the late ’90s. It has movie star status as the first Mercedes to be eaten by a dinosaur from the 1997 Jurassic Park Film saga (Lost World). A lot has changed since T-Rex took a chunk out of Mercedes. The GLE has left behind its problematic youth and grown up to become a sophisticated, upscale SUV. It rivals its bigger brother GLS for technology and quite frankly comes in a more usable package.
Excuse me for saying. The GLE is truly a man’s SUV. It has proportions that give it a sporty muscular, almost bulldog-like stance. This is no small part due to the massive 21” AMG Multi-Spoke bicolour wheels. Combine this with flared wheel arches, and the result oozes machismo. The Canvansite Blue Metallic exterior and Macchiato (think coffee cream) interior and you have the perfect man’s SUV (what can I say, it has hydraulics – keep reading).
My time with the GLE was highlighted by a small road trip to Harrison Hot Springs. During the height of COVID 19, the GLE proved to be the perfect companion for this journey. The Mercedes family is chock-full of no less than 9 SUV models, 10 if you include the new EQC (all-electric SUV). In my opinion, the GLE fits in the sweet spot zone. It provides the size which an older, more mature family needs. It’s not the SUV that the junior executive will buy, but rather the choice of the seasoned business person. The vehicle of choice that fits in at the office and weekend family get away with your teenager kids and partner.
On that particular Saturday afternoon, we started out on the highway, boot full of all our aquatic gear and needs. The kids were comfortable in their plush seats and never vying for space authority, thanks to nearly 40 inches of headroom and 41 inches of legroom (beating out the BMW X5 by almost 2 inches). Highway driving was sublime. With 362 bhp and 369 lb-ft coming from a turbocharged inline-six with electric assist, the GL450 has ample power to perform its tasks. 0-60 comes in 5.6 seconds in a vehicle that weighs in at nearly 5,200lbs. The GLE450 will eat up highway miles without a hint of fatigue. Long drives are eased with seat massage programs, including “wave massage,” “mobilizing massage,” and “classic massage.” Also, Mercedes offers “seat kinetics,” which makes small movements to the seat cushion and backrest periodically to keep drivers energized and relaxed. The achy feeling after a long drive is virtually eliminated. The active air suspension reads the road and vehicle terrain to adjust accordingly, actively shifting the GLE as it enters a turn to keep occupants level.
After our COVID 19 approved fun in the sun came to a conclusion, the GLE450 welcomed the cool summer night with heated front and rear seats. This heating also includes heated armrest for the front seat occupants. The ability to put our gear back into the GLE was made much easier with air ride suspension that lowers or raises the vehicle based on desired use or if you need to place things into the boot at a more manageable height. The evening mood was made even more relaxing with a beautifully illuminated interior with a series of pre-set colour combinations or our choice of 64 different colours to fit our mood. The LEDs illuminate grab rails, dash and doors, including footwells. The result is spectacular and calming at the same time. Late-night coffee and hot chocolates were kept warm in heated and, if need be, cooled cup holders.
I was disappointed our expedition did not require the use of Mercedes Free Driving Assist, which uses the GLE450’s hydraulic suspension to bounce the SUV out of stuck situations. It is incredibly cool but likely would never be used because who wants to take a nearly $108,000.00 SUV into places like that. SUVs are a rare vehicle to get excited about. However, the GLE450, in my humble opinion, is probably the best-in-class SUV you can get. It is endowed with technology and features that should likely be in a S-Class model but is more usable and enjoyable daily. It really is the all-rounder that gives you exactly what is needed, nothing more, nothing less.