From several angles, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a bit unusual for luxury crossover SUVs. It’s bigger than a typical compact crossover but doesn’t have a third-row seat like many of its rivals. Instead, the GLE provides plenty of space for four adults in the highest level of comfort. And while many crossovers come in just one version, the Mercedes-Benz GLE offered in four different models.
The standard V6 engine under the GLE 350 hood is enough for everyday driving and its 7,200 pounds of towing capacity are impressive. For quick acceleration, check one of the two performance-focused GLE. The turbocharged engine on the AMG GLE 43 and AMG GLE 63 transforms the GLE from a calm cruiser into a high-performance beast. There is also a GLE 550e hybrid plug-in. It offers a range of 10 miles in electric mode, but its mix of power and fuel economy is the best in the GLE lineup.
But whatever model you choose, you will be impressed with the GLE beautiful interior. A wide variety of luxurious leathers, rich trim pieces and high-quality plastic lines make every variant feel as if it is worth the money. With so many versions available, there must be a 2018 Mercedes GLE-Class to meet your needs.
For 2018, the AMG GLE 43 gain more power, increasing engine output from 362 hp to 385 hp. Otherwise, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is unchanged.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a five-passenger, luxury crossover SUV that offered in five trims: GLE 350, GLE 550e, AMG GLE 43, AMG GLE 63 and AMG GLE 63 S, each with a distinct powertrain.
The GLE 350 standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, simulated leather upholstery, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a 10-way power driver seat with memory functions and four-way power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, an 8-inch display with Mercedes COMAND interface and an eight-speaker audio system with two USB ports and a CD player. Safety features include a forward collision warning system, Mercedes’ Mbrace telematics system, and a rearview camera.
Three optional packages are available for the GLE-Class. The Premium 1 package adds a lane departure warning system, a blind-spot monitoring system, keyless ignition and entry, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a touchpad controller for the central display, a navigation system, a 14-speaker premium Harman Kardon audio system and satellite radio.
The Premium 2 package adds automatic high-beam control, adaptive LED headlights, illuminated doorsills, heated and cooled front cupholders, rear-window sunshades, interior ambient lighting, and a fold-down pass-through behind the rear-center armrest (not available on the GLE 550e). The Premium 3 package adds adaptive cruise control, a collision avoidance system, an automated parking system, lane departure intervention, a 360-degree parking camera and an automated steering system.
The GLE 550e gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain along with leather upholstery and the Premium 1 package contents.
The performance-oriented AMG GLE 43 gets exterior styling upgrades, 20-inch wheels, a sport exhaust, an AMG-tuned adaptive air suspension, simulated leather upholstery, a flat-bottom steering wheel and the Premium 1 package contents.
The AMG GLE 63 adds summer performance tires, upgraded brakes, active stabilizer bars, front and rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats, a 10-way power passenger seat with memory functions and four-way power lumbar, a sport steering wheel, a faux-suede headliner, upgraded leather upholstery and the Premium 2 package contents. The AMG GLE 63 S adds a carbon-fiber engine cover, 21-inch wheels and faux suede steering-wheel inserts.
Many features in the upper trims or packages can be added separately. Stand-alone options include a trailer hitch, a panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, a multicontour front seats with massage, heated rear seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system or a 14-speaker Harman Kardon.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is offered with four different powertrains. All-wheel drive system (4Matic) is standard on all except the GLE350, where it’s an option that replaces rear-wheel drive. All engines also feature with an automatic stop-start technology, which shut off the engine in order to save fuel.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Its paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. In performance testing, the GLE350 4Matic accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, an average time for this class. EPA fuel economy numbers are 20 mpg combined (18 city/23 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 19 combined (18 city/22 highway) with all-wheel drive.
The 2018 GLE 550e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid uses the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and 114-hp electric. This combination produces a total output of 436 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Power sent through a seven-speed automatic transmission. In track testing, the GLE 550e 4MATIC went to 60 mph from zero in 5.3 seconds. EPA fuel economy is estimated to be 43 MPGe when starting with a fully charged battery and 21 mpg when operating in normal hybrid mode. The maximum driving range on electric mode is said to be approximately 10 miles.
The AMG GLE 43 4Matic gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine good for 385 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard. The EPA estimates it will earn 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway).
Under its hood, the 2018 AMG GLE 63 uses a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that makes 550 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The AMG GLE 63 S is powered by a tuned version of the turbo V8 and produces 577 hp and 561 lb-ft. Both engines get a specially tuned version of the seven-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes says the AMG GLE63 will hit 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and the GLE63 S does the same in 4.2 seconds. Fuel economy for both is models rated at 15 mpg combined (14 city/18 highway).
Properly equipped, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 RWD can tow up to 6,600 pounds, the GLE350 4Matic and all other models can tow up to 7,200 pounds.
Although it’s considered as a new model, the 2018 Mercedes GLE-Class still shares its underlying bone with the now-discontinued M-Class model. There are similarities inside and out, though Mercedes updates the cabin with a large, central-mounted screen and the latest knob-based COMAND system with an excessive touchpad for clicking and swiping.
The infotainment system can be hard at first because of its myriad features and customization, but in practice it works very well. The availability of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is a great addition too.
Adults will find comfort and space wherever they sit, since taller ride height means the transmission tunnel barely eats into the cabin. The two 60/40-split rear seatbacks can be folded easily to create a spacious cargo space with a flat load floor. There is 38.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the rear seat and 80.3 cubes with the seat back folded flat. An average number for this segment.
Release Date and Price
Official pricing for the GLE 350 start at $53,195 (include $995 destination fee), while the GLE 350 4Matic at $55,695. The GLE 550e 4Matic starting at $67,695 and the AMG GLE 43 costs $68,745. The GLE63 AMG is priced at $103,545 and the AMG GLE 63 starting at $110,695.