Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 29 Oct 2019

In the ever-growing, ever more predominant SUV and crossover market space competition is always fierce, however, there is always room for a handsome, high-tech and very competent new vehicle, especially when it carries the German automakers iconic three-pointed-star. Meet the new Mercedes-Benz GLE.

What is it & where does it fit in?

The new GLE replaces the former Mercedes-Benz ML designation. Within the brand’s extensive model line-up, you get a coupe and SUV variant for pretty much most models. The A-Class, for instance, comes in CLA and GLA formats, while the mighty S-Class comes as a coupe and as the GLS SUV. This is, therefore, the E-Class wearing high heels.

The GLE combines the luxurious high-tech limousine characteristics of an E-Class with off-road prowess elements found within the likes of a Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

The Drive 

Off its SA media launch, the GLE lineup comprises 1 turbopetrol and 2 turbodiesel derivatives, carrying the model badges GLE300d, GLE400d and GLE450. This 300d variant features a 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine with outputs of 180 kW and 500 Nm.


Putting its power down is impressive, even despite the smaller motor. The main advantage though perhaps comes out in terms of its fuel economy. Mercedes-Benz claim fuel economy averages around the 6.5-litres/100 km range. During my week of testing, I achieved great results and could even extract as near 800 km travel range.

The Comfort, Technology & Space

The GLE has grown in its overall proportions. As a result, seating 5-adults in total comfort is a breeze. Apart from this, of course, it comes with Mercedes platoon of safety features on offer and even a luggage load area of 825-litre load bay (5-seater), which expands to a whopping 2 055 litres with all the rear seats folded down.

Taking centre stage is also the inclusion of the formerly S-Class style massive screens which make up the dashboard. With Mercedes-Benz voice assistant features like MBUX first seen on the new A-Class, mood lighting and every imaginable entertainment and media feature, the available options in the GLE are endless. Naturally, options lists get expensive, but if required, you can even fit your GLE with a “Bounce Mode,” to assist with tricky sand conditions when off-roading.

Conclusion & SA Pricing

The new GLE is an incredibly high-tech, sophisticated and commanding vehicle from the brand. Its large dimensions and personality certainly leave a lasting impression; however, it does compete against some tough competition with the likes of the recently launched BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and Range Rover Sport.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d     R1 210 500

Mercedes-Benz GLE 400d    R1 351 200

Mercedes-Benz GLE 450      R1 329 400

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