By on November 30, 2018

Mercedes-Benz just announced the updated pricing scheme for its redesigned GLE-Class, but there’s an issue. Depending on how you frame things, the model is either two thousand dollars cheaper or quite a bit more expensive.

For the 2020 model year, Mercedes will supply North American customers with the GLE 350. It starts at $53,700 (plus $995 for destination) and replaces the GLE 400 as the line’s starting point. However, it also replaces the 400’s V6 and mandatory 4Matic all-wheel drive — and that’s where things get slippery.

The base GLE 350 comes with rear-wheel drive as standard. But going with the 4Matic yields a pre-destination MSRP of $56,200, which is a tad dearer than the current GLE 400.

Regardless of the drivetrain configuration, the new 350 will use a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. While not overly athletic, the unit should be sufficient for normal driving duties and even a bit of fun if you don’t set the bar too high.

If you do need more power, upgrading to the 4Matic-only GLE 450 will now set you back $61,150 — or $5,450 more than the current version. Fortunately, Mercedes has upgraded it with it a new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that’s accompanied by a mild-hybrid system. Output for the unit is rated for 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, with the latter aspect providing a modest bump in performance over the older model’s engine.

The GLE lineup also gets more equipment as standard. Benz is adding 12.3-inch digital instrumentation and a multimedia display of identical specifications using its updated operating system (MBUX). Voice controls and navigation have also been included, along with LED headlamps, blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and active park assist. All GLEs also receive the company’s new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Whether or not that’s worth the higher price tags is entirely up to the consumer. We think it’s all a tad steep, especially considering many consumers will want to option the now-bigger panoramic sunroof or massaging seats.

The GLE450 and the 4Matic-equipped GLE350 will arrive at dealerships across the United States in the spring. However, the base model 350 with rear-wheel drive won’t show up until the summer. Expect the AMG versions to debut sometime after the start of the new year.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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17 Comments on “2020 Mercedes GLE Now Two Grand Cheaper, But Also More Expensive...”


  • avatar
    gtem

    That actually looks like a really handsome vehicle. Nice looking alloys without resorting to rubber-band sidewall, no obnoxiously low hanging airdams, good sized green house, no excessive body surfacing.

    • 0 avatar
      open country

      Not unlike the original ML320. I love to see the rare clean example, plastic bumpers and all.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I wish I could have gotten my phone out more quickly but a few weeks ago I was on I-40 and got passed by a 1st gen ML3XX with a slight lift, aggressive tires, brush guard, and a hitch carrier with an off-road motorcycle on it.

        Given that I was in college when the 1st gen came out it was a bit of cognitive dissonance to see one still on the road and modified like that. It was akin to your dignified aunt announcing she would miss Easter to go to Moab.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Indeed. Unlike the X5, Cayenne, Touareg, Q7, etc, the first-generation M-Class was actually a body-on-frame truck-based SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            It was also horrifically unreliable and rather poorly designed. Perhaps understandable as it was a new “designed to price point” vehicle which MB never did and a brand new American assembly plant. It was a bit of marketing genius however. For about $5K more than a Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer you could have a Mercedes in your driveway. What badge loving suburban housewife wouldn’t chose the Benz? Ultimately most of them would have been better off with the Ford as the ML was one of CR’s worst reliability bombs of the year.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Germans are notorious for decontenting to raise the price. Nice crossover, but there are a lot of nice crossovers at this price point

  • avatar
    IBx1

    A 4-cylinder will always be a laughable excuse of an engine for a supposed luxury car, especially with its embarrassing-sounding start/stop system. The straight-six is welcome but here comes the inevitable GLE 53 AMG with the same engine.

    My actual gripe with this car is half of the entire grille space being shallow blocked off plastic.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The hate for stop-start systems baffles me. If you have the stereo on, you won’t here it. And here in the land of the 4-minute traffic light every 1/4 mile, you WILL save a bunch of money shutting the motor off.

      Similarly, I have no issue with turbo 4s. Efficient, and way more than powerful enough. Why do you need any more?

      Similarly, since I have about as much use for AWD as I have for a couple of ex-wives, the RWD version would be the only one I would be interested in. Not that I have any interest in this sort of thing at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I don’t know how you couldn’t hear it on some vehicles like BMW and FCA products. Sitting next to them at a light with my windows up and the stereo at a moderate volume I can hear them.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Cars are better sound insulated on the inside than the outside, so whatever you are hearing from a car next to you is largely irrelevant.

          And even if you can hear the engine start – so what? It does that every time you use it after all. It’s the sound of money being saved and the environment being slightly less harmed. Not that I am in any way a shrub-hugger, but that is the reality.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I’m sorry but there is no way those FCA and BMW cars aren’t obnoxious in the driver’s seat. I don’t hear the F150s starting up at a light unless I’ve got the windows down.

            I’m not against stop start, when done right. However the best way to do it is as part of a Hybrid system that allows the engine to shut off with the vehicle at speed and doesn’t have a conventional starter drive banging against a ring gear.

            Done right I’m all in and have 2 in the driveway.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I owned an M235i with it, and had a Pacifica as a rental a few weeks ago. Complete non-issue.

            After the M235i, seems weird to NOT have the car shut off while waiting endlessly at a light. Just seems like an easy no-brainer to increase efficiency.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This may be on my short list for my next vehicle. No way that I would settle for the 4 pot at this price though.

  • avatar
    JoDa

    How much of the $5450 is the CAFE fine?

    This is a far better design than the previous.

  • avatar
    mikey

    My 15 EB Mustang 4 cyl Turbo is in getting a” bruise” repaired. They give me a Maxima, to drive and I hated it.. I swapped it for a base model Malibu. 4 cyl. turbo.. (yeah I know I’m bias, but thats who I am)

    The “stop start” thing was bit disconcerting at first , but after awhile you just don’t notice it. The little 4 banger certainly isn’t the Mustang but its quite adequate .

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’m driving my daughter’s 8th generation Malibu while she’s out of town. It also has the start stop system. Mostly it’s operation is transparent, although I have experienced a few rougher than expected restarts.

      Once you’ve driven it for a while, it’s no big deal. Having driven manuals for years, I associate the auto start system to using a clutch in traffic. Once you know you’re going to move, just let up on the brake pedal, and flow into traffic. Of course, if you don’t have that experience already, then I could see where folks find it disconcerting.

  • avatar
    SUA...949

    Unfortunately, my experience with the Mercedes GL350- 2016 was not a good one. I am leaving this response to hopefully help other people make educated choices when buying such a car. I initially purchased my Mercedes GL 350 which was a loaner car from a dealership. The mileage was around 10,000 miles. I thought it was a pretty car and certainly very showy. It did seem to be a bit like a truck in how it handled with general sluggishness. Then there were a couple of days where the car decided to shift down to D5 in traffic. My first thought was to pull it over to the side of the road and reboot the car’s computer. That seemed to work, this actually happened twice. At first I thought it was my fault, then I began to think something is going on with the car’s decision making. Yes, the more luxurious the car, the more decisions made by the computer. It is the day of automation! I am quite educated about computers. Now, I was considering taking the car in to have it checked! But a day or 2 later, the car made a big decision its own. Shortly there after, I was in the parking lot backing up the car when it decided to drive me into a curb at high speed. This all happened in a matter of seconds. Thank God, I didn’t hurt anyone except myself and the stupid car. During those seconds, I went into shock trying to figure out why the car was driving itself. I frantically reached for the column shift and before I knew it, I was at the curb with a major whip lash. I never thought to put my foot on the brake, but we are talking probably 10-15 seconds before I was at the curb, in totally deep shock. Of course this looks like my fault, but this is the truth. I wanted to have the car destroyed, but I needed the money. I think the Mercedes shifting on the column with the little levers is not great as I compare it to my BMW SUV with a console shift. I definitely feel more in control of the car. If you ever have a situation when the car takes over, PUMP THE BRAKES, PUT THE CAR IN NEUTRAL and/or TURN THE CAR OFF! I now practice for this emergency on my BMW! I believe every driver should know these procedures in case of such an emergency or computer glitch. I certainly hope that Mercedes has made some improvements dealing with this possibility even though it is rare. I even question that because some people would be embarrassed to share such an event. Apparently, newer luxury cars around or under 2 years old are capable of SUA……sudden unintended acceleration. Beware!! If you get a whip lash, be sure you see the best chiropractor in your town/city! Also, please pass my story/safety procedures to friends and family who fit this profile.


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