With a 362 HP 553 lb.-ft, straight-six powerplant, the 450 D delivers 30 miles for every gallon of diesel per every mile driven.

We have tended to rave about the Mercedes-Benz GLE over time. For good reason, we reckon. There were however aspects that were becoming a touch concerned with as the GLE more recently aged like wine. Happily, however, that has now mostly been addressed too.

Now available in wagon, 7-seater, or this sleek Coupé in our market, it carries fresh styling nuances that also apply to the US range. But you may need to go back and look at it again after you read this, to notice them. They’re there, promise! The biggest change on the GLE menu is Benz’ latest, more intelligent, even more immersive MBUX User Experience infotainment, along with this new GLE 450 d model now in a greener, fully 48-volt electrified range.

GLE 450 d
Pedigreed GLE 450 d Has a Fine Bloodline

The Mercedes-Benz GLE (nee ML), pioneered the premium SUV segment back in 1997. Built as always at Merc’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant, this architecture was released in 2018. Now it’s just been mid-life nipped, tucked. Detail tweaks include this one’s Tri-Star struck grille, a fresh front bumper, and those subtle trim tweaks.

This flagship for now gets full four-point DRL Multibeam LED headlamps. These latest-generation composite lights take full beam driving next level. Now rather than place black blocks around approaching cars, this one seems to identify the car and only blocks the windscreen out. So you can even see the car in your bright beam, while the driver and passengers in that car never will know the difference.

Add that grille, a car color AMG front apron, skirts, and wheelarch cladding. Talking colors, this new metallic blue changes hue according to the ambient light and even goes a bit red. Groovy indeed.

GLE 450 d

Latest Generation Starship Enterprise Infotainment

Hop aboard to that biggest GLE step in latest, more holistic, and aesthetic Starship Enterprise artificial intelligence ‘My Mercedes’ MBUX 12.3-inch intelligent touchscreen infotainment. It fills the same space that the old one did, but now with wireless CarPlay and Auto. It also brings great hardware and software strides.

Benz’ latest-generation sensor surface multifunction steering wheel is new too. It still runs the 12.3-inch driver display to the right and central displays to on the left. We remain unconvinced by the new steering pads. We think they’re useless versus the older, simpler, uglier stalk controls. Happily, the major controls remain in a row of buttons below the vents, and rollers in the center console. So it won’t lose NCAP safety points like those ridiculous knob less systems do, even in this car’s EQ siblings.

Other strides inside the crisp, cavernous, curvy, and current cabin include new chrome look real galvanized metal air vents. Our 450 d Coupé also had ambient lighting and a premium 590-watt Burmester surround audio with Dolby Atmos and 13 separate amplifier speaker channels among its intensive arsenal of kit. Even optional Energizing air quality control.

GLE 450 d

Benz Says 450 d Will do 60 in 5.6. We Did it in 5.1 Seconds

This 362 HP 553 lb.-ft, straight-six 450 D delivers 30 miles for every gallon of diesel per every mile driven. Splendid on the road, Benz also promises 5.6 seconds zero to 60 mph and 155 mph top speed, but we achieved 5.1 seconds on our trusty VBox on our trusty Boland, Cape, South African test strip.

Yes, it’s expensive. Its chasing two and a half bar after all. And it’s heavier than some rivals on fuel. Still, it’ll literally drive forever on a good day with around a 600 miles of claimed range. Which we easily bettered on the cruise.

Talking about our travels, we took our Benz deep into the middle for the African Karoo semidesert, where we not only learned a little about this great car’s superb heritage, but a bit about pedigrees and bloodline too. Klawervlei Stud near Bonnievale in the South African Western Cape has just opened its splendid estate guesthouse, and lo and behold, we found a similarly hued 1956 Mercedes-Benz 219 there.


Pedigreed GLE 450 d Met Great Grandpa en Route

That slab-sided Ponton style executive four-door W105 not only shares its straight-six engine with its great grandkid (it’s just a petrol 2.2 though), but also a 6 inches longer wheelbase for more space and practicality than its E-class progenitor 220a sibling. Which is pretty much what this GLE SUV offers over the standard E saloon today.

All pretty appropriate of course, considering that it was all about and bloodline at Klawervlei as it flat out prepared its latest pedigree racehorse herd for the annual winter yearling sale. Learn more about the horses and the fine accommodation at klawervlei.co.za.

Being a diesel, Mercedes-Benz does not sell the GLE 450 d in the US. You guys don’t know what you’re missing! But the equally juicy 375 HP 369 lb-ft 23 mpg5.3 second 0-60 mph gas 3-liter inline-6 turbo hybrid drive GLE 450 4Matic SUV sells at $69,500. The Coupé is also currently only available as an AMG 53 in the US.

Getting back to our trusty oil-fed steed. There are of course also cheaper, thriftier GLEs out there. But they don’t scream premium as much as this one does. Nor do they waft you along as royally as this 450 d does.

It has regal feel about it on the road, a command driving position, peerless infotainment in an elegant and effortless driving experience that all comes with top performance and impressive dynamics too. Never mind a bloodline and pedigree to die for

ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 d 4Matic Coupé 
Engine: 362 HP 553 lb.-ft 2.9-litre turbodiesel I6
Drive: 9-speed Automatic AWD
0-40 mph:        2.30 sec
0-60 mph:        5.15 sec
0-80 mph:        7.04 sec
0-100 mph:       12.13 sec
¼-mile:          13.4 s @ 104 mph
50-75 mph:       3.52 sec
75-100 mph:      5.10 sec
VMax:            155 mph
Fuel:            30 mpg
Range:           600 miles
LIST PRICE:      $79,000*

*Estimated, variant not available in US. 
A Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic SUV sells at $69,500 MSRP


Photos: Michele Lupini

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