Mercedes GLE hybrid engines, drive & performance
A well integrated hybrid set up means good performance, and the GLE 350 de is very comfortable, too
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The Mercedes GLE is a huge car. That can be a good thing when it comes to interior space, but it also means it’s not easy to manoeuvre in most UK car parks, and getting through width restrictions isn’t much fun, either.
Yet the GLE is really comfortable, because the hybrid model comes with air suspension as standard. This allows you to choose from several settings regarding the softness of the suspension, and gives the GLE a sense of gliding over bumps, especially at high speeds.
The nine-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and works really well, as you’ll barely notice the shifts most of the time. Four-wheel drive is standard, too, so the GLE has some off-road ability, although the street-focused standard tyres might need to be changed if you do want to venture off the tarmac.
Mercedes GLE hybrid 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration
The GLE’s electric motor is eager and the instant shove available from the electric motor means it can feel slightly jumpy initially. Yet it means the GLE is fast, with a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds – quick for a huge SUV like this – and a top speed of 130mph. Thanks to a torque figure of 700Nm, it feels really punchy from low speeds, so getting up to motorway pace on a slip road is easy, even from a crawl.
The feeling you get from the GLE is that it was designed to be comfortable above all else. It’s not as nimble or fun to drive as a BMW X5 as a result, as it rolls more in corners and pushes into understeer if you drive it too hard. The steering is well weighted but a little vague.
The suspension does a great job of ironing out bumps in country roads, though, so it’s relaxed and composed on these roads. It excels at low-speed stuff, when the electric motor is running and it glides along in near-silence.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Mercedes GLE 350 de is a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid, bringing low company-car tax costs to the large SUV’s line-up
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingThe GLE 350 de has a really impressive electric range – double that of most plug-in hybrid SUVs
- 3Running costsUltra-low company-car tax is one of the biggest reasons to choose the Mercedes GLE 350 de
- 4Engines, drive & performance - currently readingA well integrated hybrid set up means good performance, and the GLE 350 de is very comfortable, too
- 5Interior & comfortA luxurious and high-tech cabin is one of the GLE 350 de's best features
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe GLE 350 de is less roomy than other models in the range due to its bulky batteries
- 7Reliability & safetyThe GLE 350 de is safe and packed with assistance technology, but Mercedes owner-satisfaction reports are mixed