The Mercedes ML-Class was first introduced in the late 90s, it spanned across three different generations until it was replaced with the GLE which is now in its second generation. The first Mercedes GLE was not a brand new model because it was more of an upgraded and refreshed version of the 3rd generation ML.
Now in 2022, you can buy the GLE in a few different configurations. The entry-level RWD GLE350 comes with a 4-cylinder engine which is too many a bit too boring and potentially even underpowered. The GLE 450 comes with a sizeable price increase, but it does offer a 6-cylinder engine and the 4MATIC AWD system.
If you like the GLE for its design, practicality, and interior, the GLE350 should serve you well enough, especially if you upgrade to the 4MATIC model. However, if you want a true Mercedes luxury SUV experience, you will have to upgrade to the GLE450 as it offers a better and more powerful engine.
The 6-cylinder engine found in the GLE450 simply feels more upmarket, smoother, and more fitting for such a large SUV. That being said, if you don’t care about the engine and you just want a Mercedes SUV, you could spend the price difference between the two on optional equipment.
2022 Mercedes GLE350 – A compromised mid-size luxury SUV
Calling the GLE350 compromised might be a bit of a stretch, but I actually do believe that such a large and commanding luxury SUV should come with an engine that is more fitting. However, the compromise here is simple as Mercedes decided to offer the GLE350 with a 4-cylinder engine for those who want to save a few extra bucks.
For a starting price of $53,150, the GLE350 is a lot cheaper when compared to the GLE450. The GLE350 comes with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that offers 255hp and 273lb-ft of torque. It also comes with a RWD system, but you can upgrade the GLE350 to offer the 4MATIC system for $2,500 more.
Even though the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine found in the GLE350 is powerful enough for most people, it is not as refined nor smooth as the 6-cylinder unit found in the GLE450. You’d expect a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine to be more efficient than the 3.0L 6-cylinder found in the GLE450, but that is simply not the case in the real world.
This smaller engine needs to work harder in order to propel an SUV as big as the GLE. This means that the 3.0L V6 GLE simply feels more effortless without being any less efficient.
2022 Mercedes GLE450 – The sweet spot Mercedes GLE
The GLE450 starts at $63,950 and it gets the 3.0L turbocharged V6 with 362hp and 360lb-ft of torque. It also gets mild-hybrid technology which means that the electric engine is able to assist the larger V6 and that is why the maximum power output of the GLE450 is 362hp.
The GLE450 also comes exclusively with the 4MATIC system which means that you will not have to pay anything in order to get an AWD car. The 6-cylinder engine found in the GLE450 is a lot more fitting because it offers an effortless driving experience that makes the car feel a lot more upmarket.
Neither the 2.0L 4-cylinder nor the 3.0L V6 sound all that particularly interesting, but the levels of sophistication between the two are noticeable both while driving and while being stationary. There is just something that bit more special about an SUV with a relatively large engine, and those who notice those things are always going to opt for the GLE450.
Even though both the GLE350 and the GLE450 offer similar maximum towing capacities, the GLE450 is able to tow a lot more effortlessly.
Conclusion – The GLE450 is the better car for those who care
While comparing these two, it seems like the GLE450 is the clear winner because it is more powerful, comes with AWD as standard, is smoother, is able to tow more easily, and because it is equally as efficient. However, if you don’t care about any of these, the GLE350 should serve you well enough.
There are also a few additional reasons why the GLE350 might be a better choice because it is less harmful to the environment and this can lower your overall running costs when compared to the GLE450. The overall CO2 emissions the GLE350 offers are indeed more manageable when compared to the GLE450.
Depending on where you live, this can make a massive difference as far as your registration, insurance, and road tax costs are concerned. Either way, the GLE450 is a better package, but only if you care about the engine and the overall feel.
Is the 2022 Mercedes GLE350 more efficient than the GLE450?
Mercedes rates both of these SUVs with a similar MPG rating. This means that both of these should return between 20-25MPG respectively. However, a GLE350 without the 4MATIC should be noticeably more efficient if you are not heavy with the accelerator pedal.
The GLE450 4MATIC is heavier and it offers a larger engine which means that the MPG results with the GLE450 are extremely dependent on how you drive the car. Either way, the GLE350 does not offer a fuel efficiency benefit over the GLE450 as your MPG is more down to your driving habits than the MPG results listed.
Why is Mercedes offering a 2.0L 4-cylinder in the 2022 Mercedes GLE?
The world as a whole is moving towards a more sustainable future which means that cars are constantly becoming more and more efficient which comes with both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits are the fact that our environment is cleaner and better protected, but the drawbacks are cars that are becoming increasingly more boring.
As such, Mercedes offers the GLE with a 2.0L 4-cylinder because this is the direction in which all cars are moving to. As time goes on, we are likely going to see more and more 2.0L 4-cylinders, even in larger SUVs.
Does it make any sense to buy a V8 Mercedes SUV?
As downsizing and forced induction keep spreading across all cars, buying a V8 Mercedes SUV seems more challenging than ever. The running costs associated with these sorts of engines are way higher because these types of engines drink a lot more fuel and are more expensive to maintain.
However, no one buys a V8 in 2022 because of reason, people buy them because they love them. No matter how good and efficient a 2.0L 4-cylinder can be, a V8 is always going to feel more substantial, smoother, and a lot more fun.