In-depth reviews

Mercedes GLE review - Interior, design and technology

The Mercedes GLE is packed with technology and blessed with the best cabin in its class

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

5.0 out of 5

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The GLE has been redesigned inside and out, with the exterior of the latest version looking softer and less aggressive than before. Only one trim level is available in the UK, and as it’s the AMG Line, you can be sure that the cosmetics have been taken care of.

A set of 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels are fitted as standard, but you can upgrade to 22-inch wheels for around £1,300. AMG body styling comprises a pair of side skirts and redesigned front and rear bumpers, while aluminium-look illuminated running boards complete the makeover.

According to Mercedes, the standard-fit LED headlights produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, with LED lights also fitted to the rear. Black and white are the only no-cost colours, with the GLE also available in a choice of seven metallic paints (at around £700) and two special paints (slightly more at around £900).

The best cars for interior and comfort

But it’s on the inside where the GLE truly excels. In our opinion, the cabin is good enough to pass for a car costing upwards of £100,000, with a level of quality that’s unrivalled in this segment. It feels more premium than the BMW X5 and is easier to live with than the Audi Q7. The best in class? We think so.

The finishes are first rate, with the GLE combining anthracite open-pore oak wood trim with Nappa leather and aluminium accents to create a classy cabin that’s easy on the eye and quality to the touch.

Ambient lighting in 64 colours, four-way lumbar support, heated front seats and a multifunction steering wheel complete the effect. And because all except the entry-level 300 d are seven-seaters in the UK, four-zone climate control comes as standard, as do additional USB ports for all three rows, meaning family feuds and cries of “are we nearly there yet?” could be consigned to history.

You’re unlikely to need to add any options, but the Premium equipment line (about £2,000) adds memory seats, parking assist with a 360º camera, multibeam LED headlights with adaptive high-beam and wireless phone charging.

For around £4,300, the Premium Plus line adds a Burmester surround sound system, keyless entry and go, an ‘Air-balance’ car fragrancing system, ‘Energising’ wellness package, and a panoramic sunroof, which doesn’t rob passengers of headroom.

The latest MBUX infotainment system is standard across the range and is one of the most intuitive systems on the market. It’s controlled using a multi-gesture touchpad or via voice recognition, simply by saying the words “Hey Mercedes”. If you’ve experienced Alexa or Siri, you’ll find it a doddle to use.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The dashboard has been influenced by the Mercedes S-Class, but it has a look of its own thanks to a set of beautifully-finished rectangular air vents. These sit below an impressive 12.3-inch touchscreen display, while the driver faces another 12.3-inch cockpit display – both of which are fitted as standard.

Thanks to the use of a glossy display panel, it’s as though the two screens are merged together to create one ultra-wide display, giving the GLE a proper wow factor.

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