2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Driving Impressions

Tight, quiet, isolated is our impression of ride quality for the GLE. The standard suspension not only provides good comfort, but responds well when pushed into corners.

There’s a big difference between modes with the available adaptive damping system and air suspension. Comfort provides a more traditional luxury-car ride, while Sport has a crisper feel, with slightly more harshness. Configured for optimum traction in a given situation, the modes now control chassis, powertrain, steering, suspension settings and engine sounds. AMG models add a Sport-plus mode.

Ride quality in all versions is quiet and refined. Steering tends to require more small adjustments than we’d like in Comfort mode, while the Sport mode feels more easygoing.

Considering its rugged ability, the GLE performs remarkably well on the road. Active anti-roll bars offer even more impressive roadholding, with some sacrifice in ride quality. Versions meant for off-roading get an Offroad-plus package, with a locking differential, reduction gear, plus an extended-range air suspension.

Fuel economy is appealing in the GLE300d, which accelerates from 0-60 mph in an estimated 8.9 seconds. The turbodiesel doesn’t sound as smooth as some might expect from a Mercedes-Benz, but it reaches speed easily, without downshifts.

We rank the gasoline 3.5-liter among the best luxury V6 engines. An evenly spaced powerband makes it feel sprightly from a standing start or when passing.

With its 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8, the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 reaches 60 mph in as little as 4.2 seconds. The Mercedes-AMG GLE450 4MATIC Coupe has a twin-turbo V6 and 9-speed automatic, which performs flawlessly, but engine noise might be an issue with the GLE450. While the GLE550e offers strong performance, its powertrain doesn’t feel quite as perfectly coordinated.

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