Mercedes Benz GLE 400 – The G-Force – The Namibian

G-Class or GL is no new name. The first Mercedes SUV was the G-Wagen (or Gelande Wagen) was built for military purposes and is still in production.

In the late 90s, Mercedes introduced a modern aerodynamic SUV called the M Class, which it was known as until a few months ago when the GL label was reintroduced on all Mercedes SUVs.

The reintroduced GL label is certainly more appropriate for the new crop Mercedes SUVs – so appropriate that it now makes the M label look a little awkward

although it was quite modern at the time it appeared. The GL label is much more uniform and gives Benz SUVs a defined standing (anything else would have been a disaster to understand which Benz is which). The GL label goes well with the Mercedes-Benz design coherence and is now basing all their SUVs on their car lineup: A Class, C Class, E Class and GL Class. The GL lineup includes; GLA, GLC, GLE and an S Class-based GLS. This line-up is also dotted with some fresh looking coupés.

The GLE can be described as a unisex-looking car, both smart and sweet in a sense, simple and not intimidating, and with a feminine orientation. However, the beastly AMG G63 looks as though it will take a bite of anything in its way.

On to the interior, the first thing I could feel was a sense of lightness in the cabin thanks to its airiness and surface texture. Secondly, I felt like I was in high-tech command centre. As per Mercedes tradition, attention to detail is on point, with refinement in the smallest of functions. The interior is based on the same design theme as its siblings: Aluminum strands and a wooden touch while the seats are clothed in Nappa leather upholstery. I have not seen a neater interior than that of a Mercedes GLE; easy on the eye, neat and nothing that requires application of algebra to comprehend.

Getting accustomed, I found its seats to be like any large Mercedes – typically comfortable with reclining bucket seats adjusting in eight ways and power memory (heated and ventilated too). In the rear are 60/40 split folding seats. Your comfort is further enhanced by three-zone climate control and it also has temperature cup holders as standard.

For infotainment is an eight-inch display unit or communications interface which is assisted by a worthy Bang and Olufsen sound system that is speed sensitive. It includes a CD player, MP3, Sirus XM satellite radio, Apple Car Play, Bluetooth and mbrace connect – to name a few.

The GLE 400 is driven by a twin turbo V6 producing a horsepower of 329. This power is sent down to all four wheels thanks to the 4Matic All Wheel Drive and is regulated by a sensitive nine-speed auto.

Six driving modes known as Dynamic Select fine-tune your expectations of throttle, suspension and steering. These include: Individual, Comfort, Slippery and Sport+ and off-road setting.You will feel most safe and secure in it because it’s an SUV and you will have peace of mind to know that its loaded with a host of safety aids that include; Distance Pilot Distronic plus Intelligent Cruise Control, Surround View, Park Assist with Park Pilot, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keep Assist, ABS Brakes with Brake Assist or Adaptive Braking, Attention Assist (anti-snooze assist), ESP Stability, Pre-Safe Collision Mitigating system, 11-way airbags, active headlights, day-running lights and brake hold as well.

The GLE also boasts a host of telematics which include; Emergency SOS, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking and navigation and a smart key with a panic button that will alert authorities in case of danger.

The GLE is an embodiment of Mercedes’ off-road history, a showcase of Mercedes capabilities to make a family car an off-roader. It’s an accomplished machine with loads of talent. The GLE makes a statement that it’s the smartest in the bunch of its competitors such as the BMW X5, Range Rover, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. Indeed, why not have a midsized SUV that can deliver the only how a Mercedes can?

The Namibian

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