The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE450e get refreshed and comes out quick and efficient
By Isaac Bouchard
Plugin hybrids (PHEVs) solve many of the problems inherent in full electric vehicles (abbreviated EVs or BEVs) since their gasoline engines mean they can keep travelling when their batteries run low on charge. Mercedes has had many PHEVs available in Europe for some time, and now we are getting our share.
One of their first available SUVs using the tech is the GLE450e. This midsize rig has undergone its midcycle refresh for the new model year, with updated styling, interior changes and enhancements to its technology as well.
The conventional GLE lineup has three mild-hybrid gas engines: the 350, powered by a 2-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline turbo with 255hp, the 6-cylinder, 362hp 450, and the V8-engined 580. Independent testing of the first two show 0-60 times of 6.6 seconds and 5.3 seconds respectively. Interestingly, they get about the same fuel economy, according to the EPA. There are also two AMG models, the 53 and 63.
This Mercedes plugin, with its “e” model name suffix, has a powertrain comprised of a 248hp turbocharged 4C and 134hp electric motor. In this respect, the Mercedes is like the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, whereas arch-rival BMW uses an inline six as its internal combustion engine (ICE) for the X5 50e plugin. Individual outputs can’t simply be added together for PHEVs; the 295lb-ft of torque from the gas engine and 325lb-ft from the electric motor combine for ratings of 381hp and 479lb-ft.
The GLE450e feels fast and responsive; in fact it drives much like a pure EV most of the time, with the gasser firing up much less often than in the Jeep. The Mercedes can go between 40 and 50 miles on electrons, too, which means many people’s commutes could be handled without recourse to dino juice. Its 23.3kWh battery can be pumped up from 20 to 80 percent charge in about 10 minutes on a DC fast charger, and can almost recharge overnight on 110 power. Its performance is akin to the gasoline GLE450, and the PHEV’s economy (per the trip computer) seems to top the 350, exactly as one would hope.
The biggest drawbacks to plugins are extra complexity and weight. The in the case of the GLE450e, it feels a bit more ponderous when stopping or navigating turns than its gas-only brethren; no surprise, as it weighs 750 pounds more. Its brakes, which combine the duties of recapturing power for the battery and stopping it, lack the definitiveness of conventionally-powered models. Otherwise, the GLE450e seems the sweet spot in the range.
The 2024 updates built upon what makes the GLE lineup so compelling; revised bumper fascias, lights and wheel designs keep it in alignment with newer Mercedes models, and the updated OS is faster and more intuitive. There is also now standard wireless phone integration. A new steering wheel with touch-sensitive spokes is easier to use; other changes to trim, colors and materials help it feel like a proper Mercedes. The GLE450e is spacious inside, with a capacious cargo hold and comfortable seating for four—five in a pinch. It is clear why this is Mercedes’ second best-selling vehicle in the States; trailing only the smaller and less expensive GLC. The updates keep it competitive and the PHEV makes a strong case for itself both on enviro-cred and pure driving desirability.
EPA Ratings: 58MPGe/24mpg (gas only)
Price as tested: $84,890
Rating: 4 Stars
Here is what Mercedes has to say.
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