2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

MSRP $62,500

Ranked #27 in Suv

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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 3, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The name Mercedes-Benz doesn’t resonate with toughness, due to a habitual connection we make between sophistication and fragility. They did start off building tank-like abuse friendly vehicles and have maintained a reputation for reasonable reliability, although they have selectively dabbled in the SUV category, and have often been accused of riding on the success and cult-following of the G Wagon. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 brings some of the best engineering the Daimler subsidiary has to offer, proving that the most capable SUVs can be sophisticated too.

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Pros

Upscale luxury looks and feel

Tech-savvy, sophisticated interiors

More SUV than the average luxury crossover

Loaded with add-on features and accessories

Cons

Suspension can get harsh at lower speeds

High-end pricing as well

The third row seems unnecessary

What's New?

Revised styling - new available grille design and alloys

Ambient lighting made standard across all trims

A new system that detects and reports any impact upon the car when parked


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$62500

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

all wheel drive

engine type

displacement

183 cu.in.

horsepower

362 hp @ 5500 rpm

torque

369 lb.-ft. @ 1600 rpm

transmission

7 speed automatic w/OD and auto manual

dimensions

wheelbase

117.9 in.

length

194.3 in.

width

76.7 in.

height

70.7 in.

curb weight

5013 lbs.

ground clearance

7.1 in.

capacity

cargo volume

80.3 cu ft.

towing capacity

7700 lbs.

payload capacity

1623 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.3 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

13.9 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

21/23/26 mpg

highway range

585 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./50000 mi.

powertrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$62,500 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 in designo Cardinal Red Metallic color
designo Cardinal Red Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide


First off, the elegant exterior exudes luxury with the chrome wheels and new grille design. A very capable engine sits under the hood in the form of an inline-6, which helps its practicality and towing capacities greatly. With an off-road-friendly chassis and numerous features to choose from, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 makes for an excellent luxury SUV.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Features

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is available with a total of 5 engine options that can be treated as standalone trims, but they do deserve their own piece of the attention pie owing to their varied capabilities and driving manners. The GLE 450 seems like the most sensible option, offering a decent mix between performance and fuel economy, while the abundance of packages ensures the SUV is feature-loaded but only for those who can afford it.

Trim

GLE 450

MSRP (FWD)

$23,700

Key Features

LED Intelligent Light System with Ultra Wide Highbeams

 

Adaptive Highbeam Assist

 

Optional AIRMATIC Suspension with a Bounce feature

 

Burmester Surround Sound System

 

Surround View System

 

Rapid heating feature for front seats

 

Heated front armrests and upper door panels

Which trim should you buy?

We have decided to treat the GLE 450 as a standalone trim for the versatility of the EQ boosted engine and its capabilities. Assuming the GLE 450 is the right pick for you, we would recommend some packages that are must-haves for a truly luxurious SUV experience. In order to get the features listed above, the Premium Package, Warmth and Comfort, Exterior Lighting, and the AIRMATIC suspension package ensure the GLE 450 is a true do-it-all SUV with the style to match. In order to keep the GLE 450 as off-road-ready as possible, we suggest you don't consider the AMG Line packages as the Sport kit messes with approach and departure angles. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Engine and Performance

Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of combustion engine technology advancements for quite some time now, with the AMG division handling most of the high horsepower stuff which can be implemented into achieving better economy and efficiency throughout the powertrain. The GLE 450’s engine is a sign of just that, as the Inline-6 utilizes EQ Boost to be able to both shred tires and thread together multiple miles from the same gallon of fuel while offering towing capacities that rival the likes of some full-size SUVs even.

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

2020 Acura MDX

2021 Audi Q7

2021 BMW X5

MSRP

$56,695

$45,295

$53,550

$61,695

Engine

3.0L Turbocharged Inline Six-Cylinder with EQ Boost

3.5L NA V6

2.0L Turbocharged Inline Four-Cylinder

3.0L Turbocharged Inline Six-Cylinder

Drivetrain

AWD

FWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

9-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power (hp @ RPM

362 hp @ 5,250 rpm

290 hp @ 6,200 rpm

252 hp @ 5,000 rpm

335 hp @ 5,500 rpm

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

369 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm

267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm

330 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm

0-60 MPH (seconds)

5.5 

6.3 

5.9 

5.3 

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

14.1 

14.8 

15.7 

13.7 

Top-Speed (MPH)

155

155 

155 

155 

Up against similarly priced competition, the GLE 450 shows off the dominance of its powertrain with class-leading power and torque figures. Despite having more horsepower than the 2021 BMW X5, the Benz SUV manages a slower 0 to 60 as well as a slower quarter-mile, but that is more than made up for in its 7,700-pound towing capacity. All the vehicles being compared are electronically limited to 155 horsepower.

How does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 handle?

The standard GLE chassis is actually very well suited to performance vehicles, owing to a composed body roll motion and predictable handling characteristics. The fact that the pitch and yaw don’t get too bad is all the mark of a globally renowned manufacturer's design, and the GLE 450 takes corners with more poise than it should. However, another GLE 450 can do one better. When fitted with the AIRMATIC suspension, the chassis gains the ability to lean into corners for added traction and sportiness, and the boost in performance is certainly felt. 

Under roadgoing speeds, the GLE 450 soaks up imperfections in the streets while letting you know they exist as well, offering great feedback while tuning the bumps out all the same. That being said, the heavyweight of the car hampers ride quality in a bad way at a crawl and parking lot speeds as bumps can find themselves bursting into the cabin alongside suspension noise, and the suspension travel is really felt due to a lack of softness as the chassis comes crashing down. It still is a Benz, so your back should be fine.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Braking Performance 

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 houses massive 14.8” rotor disc brakes on the front wheels, while the rear wheels are fitted with 13.6” rotors for some great braking performance that only helps the regenerative braking mechanism of the 48-volt hybrid system. The heavily bolstered brakes lead to a sports car rivaling a braking distance of 118 feet.

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

2020 Acura MDX

2021 Audi Q7

2021 BMW X5

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

14.8

12.6

13.8

N/A

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

13.6

13

13

N/A

Curb Weight (lbs)

5082 

4090

4784 

4800 

60-0 (feet)

118 

116 

136 

119 

Even though the Benz SUV has the largest front and rear brake rotors, the Acura MDX manages to best its braking distance with smaller discs altogether. This is due to the fact that the 2020 Acura MDX weighs 20% less than the GLE 450. Even the 2021 BMW X5 posts a good braking distance of 119 feet, while the Q7 disappoints with poor braking performance (relatively).

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Fuel Economy

We mentioned that the GLE 450 offers decent fuel economy for its capabilities, but the latter half of that sentence deserves more attention. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 is capable of high speeds, carving corners, and hauling a crowd and weight alike. Its vast range of capabilities ends up in subpar fuel consumption, as seen in its combined MPG figure of 20. 

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

2020 Acura MDX

2021 Audi Q7

2021 BMW X5

MPG (City)

17

20

19

18

MPG (Highway)

23

27

25

24

MPG (Combined)

20

23

21

20

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

24.6

19.5

22.5

21.9

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

418/566/492

390/527/448

428/563/472

438/569/438

The naturally aspirated engine in the MDX allows for the best fuel economy figures within the city and out on the highway, and the combined 23 mpg is also best in class. The massive 24.6-gallon fuel tank in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 gives it the longest range on a full tank of gas.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Interior

When we say the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 is the quintessential luxury SUV that truly lives up to that categorization, we mean it. The cabin is typically Mercedes, imparting a sense of luxury upon the eyes. Upgrade to better materials and the same luxury becomes tactile too, although the additional cost packages that truly make up the GLE 450’s value cost a ton above the sticker price you see on the adverts. 

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

2020 Acura MDX

2021 Audi Q7

2021 BMW X5

Seating Capacity

5

7

7

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

40.5/59.3/40.3

38.1/61.1/41.4

39.9/59.5/41.7

40.7/60.0/39.4

Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

39.6/58.3/40.9

38.3/59.1/36.6

38.8/58.5/38.8

38.7/58.1/37.4

Third Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

N/A

35.6/54.7/28.1

35.9/49.4/29.2

N/A

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

33.3

15.8

14.2

33.9

Mercedes-Benz offers competitive amounts of space in the 2021 GLE across both seating rows. While they don’t have any segment-leading interior dimensions for the front row, the second seating row provides best-in-class headroom and legroom. The third row is optional, but it isn’t the widest nor most accommodating seating layout, although even the Audi Q7 and Acura MDX provide minimal legroom and shoulder room at the back. It also eats into their cargo capacity significantly. Standout interior features in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450:

  • Rapid heating function for front seats
  • Heated armrest and door panels
  • Leather upholstery 
  • Optional Air Balance cabin-air purification system

How intuitive is the infotainment in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450?

The GLE 450 is equipped with the best the manufacturer has to offer coming into 2021. The S-Class-like screens each measuring 12.3” diagonally are placed side by side for the excellent view from all seating positions and feature the very intuitive MBUX software, which also includes MBUX voice recognition. It is connected to the climate control and seat functions as well, while the screens themselves are touch operated and offer a physical touchpad next to the driver. Highlights of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 infotainment include:

  • Dual 12.3” touchscreens
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 
  • Burmester Premium audio system
  • 4G LTE WiFi hotspot capability

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Exterior

The GLE has always been slightly imposing on the outside but has never been much of a head-turner, often borrowing design cues from the other cars in their lineup. This year, the new grille and chrome alloys make for a radical look for the SUV, making it look more luxurious than some of the competition on the outside. Short overhangs ensure decent departure and approach angles for light off-roading as well.

Models

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

2020 Acura MDX

2021 Audi Q7

2021 BMW X5

Curb Weight (lb)

5082 

4090

4784 

4800 

Length (inches)

194.3

196.2

199.6

194.3

Width (inches)

84.9

77.7

77.5

78.9

Height (inches)

70.7

67.4

68.5

69

Ground Clearance (inches)

7.2

7.3

8.1

8.5

Wheelbase (inches)

117.9

111.0

117.9

117.1

The GLE 450 does have off-road credentials, but it is no G-Class when it comes to conquering uneven terrain. The 7.2” of ground clearance limits the 2021 GLE 450 to light trails and off the rocky, beat paths that only the more robust SUVs can take on. It is the widest and tallest car in the segment, and that is reflected in its headroom and shoulder room in both seating rows. Standout exterior features include:

  • Optional AIRMATIC suspension
  • LED Intelligent lights with active cornering 
  • Optional AMG Line Exterior package
  • Surround-view system

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Safety

Surprisingly enough, a vehicle as expensive as the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 has been rated by the NHTSA and the IIHS. The 2021 GLE receives excellent safety ratings and scores from both organizations. The NHTSA has awarded the GLE 5-stars for its overall safety rating, and the only rating that falls under 5-stars is that of the rollover risk, which SUVs come with inherently. It receives 4 stars for the same. The IIHS has named the 2021 GLE 450 a Top Safety Pick + for the model year 2021, and it receives ‘Good’ ratings in every testing parameter. Notable safety features include:

  • Active Distance Assist
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist
  • Active Steering Assist
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Active Lane Change Assist
  • Active Stop-and-Go Assist
  • Speed Limit Assist 
  • Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function
  • Active Speed Limit Assist

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Competition

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 vs 2020 Acura MDX

While both these SUVs show great levels of luxury in their attitudes towards both driving and ownership, the MDX is the more sensible package of the two, offering decent practicality at lower running costs than the more flamboyant GLE. The Acura uses a naturally aspirated engine that doesn’t match the inline-6 of the GLE 450 but does offer usability and fuel efficiency nonetheless.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 vs 2021 Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 achieved fan-favorite status years ago when its roaring TDI engines threw caution and economy to the wind in favor of immense driveability. Audi has seemingly gone back on its approach from back then, offering frugal 2.0L four cylinders in their full-size SUV. Unfortunately, the Q7 doesn’t justify the words luxury SUV with that engine, especially when under a full load.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 vs 2021 BMW X5

The Mercedes-Benz SUV offers a cool, collected, but pompous luxury about it, through its design, interiors, and even driving manners. The BMW X5 attempts to offer the same luxury but fails to do so through the sporty nature of the X5. The chassis is far too agile for what you would expect, and you’d end up treating the luxury SUV much more like a sports car. 

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Final Verdict

The answer to this question lies in the purpose you would have for this car. It has the ability to ferry you and your family around in comfort, take you to the office every day, and pull out the boat for a trip down to the coast all the same. Pricing can get a little sensitive, so the GLE 450 and its buying experience are most thoroughly enjoyed with a bit of extra cash in your pocket.