Okay, let's get the basics out of the way up front. This is the new 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450. It's a refreshed version of the '23, with redesigned front and rear styling...
...new available paint colors and interior "colorways", and material finishes in the cabin that were previously exclusive to the Mercedes-Maybach GLS.
Under the hood this year, there are four possible powerplants. The big news is the GLE 450e, which is a plug-in hybrid---a first for Mercedes-Benz in the USA. It's a 2.0-liter turbo four combined with an electric motor, with a combined system output of 381 horsepower and a pure electric range of 38 miles. The GLE 350 is a turbo two-liter four with a 48v mild hybrid system, making 255 horsepower, and the top-of-the-line if the GLE 580, a four-liter twin-turbo V8 with the mild hybrid and 510 horsepower.
Our tester was the GLE 450---that's a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six with the 48v mild hybrid system. Total system output 375 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque and 0-60 happens in 5.3 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimate 22 mpg combined city/highway.
It's really, really, really nice. The Emerald Green Metallic looks black until the sun hits it just right, and then it's gorgeous. As is in the interior, the design of which, as noted above, is patterned on the Maybach GLS. The base price for this wonderfulness is $70,650 including destination, and you do get a lot for that money---a nine-speed automatic transmission, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, dual-zone climate control, keyless go, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, power heated front seats with lumbar support, driver's seat, steering column and mirror memory, ambient lighting, and a power sunroof.
That's a lot for $70,650.
But our tester cost $97,275. That's right---there's $26,625 in extra-cost options on this car. Regular readers will know that we've discussed this before. It's common in luxury vehicles, especially European luxury vehicles. Porsche and BMW have made it an art form. But this---it's almost a whole Subaru Impreza worth of options. It's a Kia Soul and $1,805 in change.
Let's see where that money goes.
$1,620 is for the Macchiato Beige and black leather trim, $160 for the brown Linden wood. There's $450 in the Winter Package (heated steering wheel and heated windshield washers), the upgrade to the 22-inch AMG black twin five-spoke wheels adds $2,750.
Adding MB-Tex (Mercedes' long-wearing leatherette) to the upper dash and the door beltlines is $350, a dash cam is $200, the panoramic sunroof costs $1,000. There's a trailer hitch---that's $600---trailer maneuvering assist is $350. Swapping out the standard dual-zone climate control for a four-zone system is an extra $860, illuminated brushed aluminium running boards are $650, heated rear seats are $500 and soft-close rear doors are $550.
Not even close to done.
The Driver's Assistance Package Plus (Active cruise control, active steering assist, active lane change assist, active emergency stop assist, active speed limit assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, evasive steering assist, active lane-keeping assist, active blind spot assist, rear-end collision protection, route-road speed adaptation, active stop-and-go assist and speed limit assist, which is somehow different from the active speed limit assist already mentioned) is $1,950. The Warmth and Comfort Package (rapid-heating front seats, heated front armrests and door panels ) is $575.
The Third-Row Seat Package (third row seats and power-adjustable second-row seats) is $2,100.
The Night Package (black front splitter, grille trim, rear diffuser, side mirrors, window trim and roof rails) is $400.
The Acoustic Comfort Package (increased cabin insulation, windshield with infrared-reflecting film, side windows with acoustic and infrared absorbing film) is $1,100.
The AIRMATIC Package (AIRMATIC suspension and adaptive damping) is $1,710.
The AMG Line Exterior (AMG body styling including wheel arches painted in vehicle color, AMG wheels and AMG star-pattern grille) adds $3,150.
And finally, Pinnacle Trim (Burmester surround-sound system, augmented video for navigation, ventilated front seats, head-up display, multi-contour front seats with massage, heated and cooled front cupholders, MBUX Interior Assistant, AIR-BALANCE, LED intelligent light system, and Mercedes Star Pattern logo projectors in the front doors) puts another $5,600 on the tab.
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 is a terrific vehicle. Equipped with some restraint, but getting essentials like the Drivers Assistance Package Plus and some niceties like the Macchiato Beige and black leather trim, the Linden wood and the Pinnacle Package (gotta have that Burmester audio system once you've heard it), you could see a window sticker under 80 grand. But if you treat your Mercedes dealer like a mystic guru or a hot dog vendor and say "make me one with everything"---you'll end up very close to $100,000.