Mercedes is in the middle of revising its SUV lineup, first it was the turn of an all-new GLC, later this year we’ll see the GLS get a revamp but right now it’s time for the GLE’s facelift.
The GLE has been given a broad series of updates for 2023 to keep it competitive against the likes of the Lexus RX, Range Rover Sport, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Maserati Levante, Audi’s Q7 and the BMW X5 – all of which have either received updates or been launched in completely new form since the current GLE went on sale in 2019.
This new GLE kicks off at £77,890 and the headline changes include a new range of mild-hybrid 48-volt petrol and diesel engines, updated plug-in hybrid technology, standard-fit air suspension, Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system and host of fresh interior upholstery choices. Of course, the exterior has been tweaked too to differentiate this GLE from the outgoing one.
A facelift wouldn’t be a facelift without some tinkering with the bumpers, grille and headlights, so Mercedes has added some chrome to the grille, reshaped the front bumper and changed the running light signature on the standard LED headlamps. The rear lights also get a new look and on the GLE Coupe models, the AMG Line exterior has been made standard fit with its deeper bumper, diamond grille pattern and extended wheel arches.
Inside, Mercedes’ latest steering wheel design makes an appearance, with touch controls that allow access to central screen functions without having to reach across. There’s more chrome on the air vents and some new trim colour combinations are now available.
Pricing and technology
There are three trim levels for the new GLE: entry-level AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and top spec AMG Line Premium Plus. Perhaps to mark it out as a more exclusive and premium offering, the GLE Coupe is only available in AMG Line Premium Plus.
Standard AMG Line models are well equipped with adaptive headlights, Mercedes’ “transparent bonnet” (a camera system to help with off-roading and parking), a 360 degree camera and illuminated side steps. The interior has electrically adjustable front and rear seats with up to seven seats available, a Burmester sound system, wireless charging and an in-built dashcam.
There’s no Hyperscreen so on every GLE the infotainment comes courtesy of twin 12.3-inch screens. There are ‘classic’, ‘sporty’ and ‘discreet’ display styles to choose from along with additional modes that prioritise different information on the screens. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard and the GLE is capable of receiving over-the-air software updates.
The ‘Off-Road Mode’ in the MBUX system displays extra information including the gradient, roll angle and steering angle to aid drivers. These upgrades are designed to boost the GLE’s capability in off-road situations and provide it with an answer to the similar technology on rival Land Rover and Range Rover products. On the purely combustion engined versions, it’s possible to specify the Off-Road Engineering Package that adds air-suspension, under body protection and 30mm of extra ground clearance.
Mercedes has even paid attention to the GLE’s capabilities as a tow car with a 3.5-tonne braked trailer towing capacity in models fitted with air suspension and the E-Active Body Control system. It’s backed up by updated Trailer Manoeuvring Assist software and even a trailer route planner in the sat-nav to help drivers avoid pinch points for tall or long vehicles.
Step up to the £83,140 AMG Line Premium and you’ll get larger 21-inch wheels, a panoramic opening sunroof, a head up display, additional climate controls for the front seats and even a temperature controlled cupholder.
Top spec AMG Line Premium Plus starts from £88,390 for the GLE SUV and £92,675 for the Coupe. 22-inch AMG wheels, soft-close doors, AMG-specific front wheels, an MBUX voice assistant and Mercedes’ ‘Driving Assistance Package Plus’ is all standard on the top model.
Updated engine range
Thanks to this facelift, the whole of the GLE and GLE Coupe engine range is now electrified. With all models featuring 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, buyers can choose from the 375bhp GLE 450 petrol or the new 300d and 450d diesel mild hybrids with 265bhp and 361bhp respectively.
Then you have the plug-in hybrids which benefit from extended electric-only ranges and power boosts. The GLE 400 e has a 276bhp and 600Nm of torque combined system output and an impressive WLTP electric range of up to 60 miles.
Mercedes-AMG GLE models
All of which only leaves the Mercedes-AMG GLE performance range that comprises the GLE 53 with its turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six and the GLE 63 S with its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. The 53 pumps out 429bhp with a potential 22bhp boost from its electric starter generator system while torque is increased to 560Nm with a potential for a 200Nm boost. It will get from 0-62mph in 5s.
The formidable 63 S has 603bhp with the same extra power boost potential as the 53 and a 850Nm torque output that can be boosted by 250Nm. That makes for a 3.9s 0-62mph time.
The AMG variants receive their own design tweaks, including an AMG badge in place of the three-pointed star, with equipment upgrades, too. The AMG Performance suspension system has come in for some fine tuning to improve the driving experience.