While the cosmetic changes may be minor, expanded electrification endows the facelifted 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class with improved performance and greater efficiency.

With the fourth-generation GLE-Class now in the latter half of its production cycle, Mercedes-Benz revamped this model with some light upgrades for 2024. New exterior detailing and enhanced in-car technology are as expected in a mid-life facelift of this nature, but these changes are quite minor in comparison to the improvements in the GLE’s mechanical make-up.

Shop for a new or used Mercedes-Benz GLE in this great selection on CHANGECARS.

Mercedes-Benz GLE cosmetic enhancements

Exterior- and interior changes are quite subtle, and most will likely need an expert eye to detect. The GLE’s styling similarity to the smaller (redesigned) GLC is also noticeable, giving the mid-level Mercedes SUV ranges a pleasingly consistent appearance but losing some distinction in the process.

On the outside, the updated GLE-Class receives the bumper-grille-and-lights revisions one would expect during a facelift, but the metalwork remains unchanged. Up front, there’s a new grille design with two horizontal chrome inserts, the outer air intakes receive one chrome insert each, and the headlights get a new LED signature.

3-Pointed Star motif in the AMG Line grille design is a nice touch.

Opting for the AMG Line exterior package sees this grille enhanced by a diamond-pattern background with little chromed 3-pointed star design elements, while the bumpers and side sills receive AMG-specific lower inserts with yet more chrome trim in front. This looks very attractive in the metal and plastic, giving reason to believe that most new GLEs will be kitted with this option (it is standard on the GLE Coupe).

Related: Read more about the Mercedes-Benz GLC 220 d in this review on CHANGECARS.

The new-generation steering wheel unfortunately does away with physical buttons, using capacitive touch panels instead.

Updated infotainment and available audio system improvements

It’s much the same inside the cabin as well, with the most noticeable change appearing in the dashboard’s air vents, which receives the same galvanised metal slats and surrounds as you’d find in the Maybach GLS. These vents look much nicer than the old black items, and operate with a tactile solidity which wasn’t quite present in the pre-facelift GLE.

Less obvious is the new steering wheel, which switches over to capacitive touch surfaces instead of the outgoing car’s physical buttons. Time will tell whether this is a sound move or not, but the new user interface certainly needs some acclimatising before a first-time driver will be able to seamlessly operate it.

The display screens are the same size as before, but they front a second-generation MBUX infotainment system with enhanced learning ability and expanded functionality. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now supported wirelessly, and the optional 590-watt Burmester audio system now features a configurable sound setup with Dolby Atmos immersive sound processing for its 13-speaker, 13-amplifier arrangement.

Related: Visit the Mercedes-Benz SA website to configure a GLE just the way you like it!

This 6-cylinder petrol engine displays its ISG unit, mounted between the engine and transmission.

Electrified performance

Only the 6-cylinder petrol engine featured any measure of hybridisation in the outgoing range, but the latest GLE now has the same self-charging mild-hybrid technology across all engine options. Using an integrated starter generator (ISG) fitted between the crankshaft and transmission, the 48-volt electrical system is able to recover energy when braking and adds a useful extra serving of torque when accelerating.

Mercedes calls this system EQ Boost, and it adds up to 15 kW and 200 Nm directly to the crankshaft when needed. The result is instant throttle response, neatly filling any torque gaps while the turbochargers get up to speed.

There may be some ambiguity about total power outputs, but the Mercedes-Benz GLE website says that EQ Boost goes on top of the combustion engine's output, adding an extra 15 electric kilowatts to the base engine outputs. In their turn, the base engine outputs are also increased as part of this facelift. The GLE 300 d jumps from 180 kW/500 Nm to 198 kW/550 Nm, to drop its 0 - 100 km/h sprint from a claimed 7.2 seconds to 6.9 seconds and add 5 km/h for a new top speed of 230 km/h.

The 2.9-liter 6-cylinder turbodiesel in the GLE 450 d receives a similar improvement over its 400 d predecessor, and now produces 270 kW/750 Nm just from its combustion engine instead of 243 kW/700 Nm in the outgoing 400 d. This takes 0.2 seconds off the 0 - 100 km/h sprint time, now registering a claimed 5.6 seconds in this benchmark test.

Petrol power is only available in the GLE 450, where its 3.0-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder gains 10 kW for a new peak combustion output of 280 kW while its torque remains capped at 500 Nm. This engine always featured EQ Boost, but the latest version’s sprinting ability is unchanged at a claimed 5.6 seconds for the dash to 100 km/h despite the slight power bump.

Related: Find more performance- and specification details about the facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLE in this pre-launch report.

Goes like stink, sips fuel, and purrs a beautiful tune - the GLE 450 d does it all.

Which Mercedes-Benz GLE would we recommend?

In the real world, even the “entry-level” GLE 300 d will be surplus to requirements, thanks to the added electric assistance and the sharp-shifting but very smooth 9-speed automatic used across the range. It out-torques the petrol variant, and cabin noise and vibration from the 2.0-litre turbodiesel up front is muted in almost all conditions. If you just want a GLE, the basic 300 d will make you very happy indeed. The GLE 450 petrol is equally satisfying, but trades fuel efficiency and some torque for even better refinement.

But try out the 450 d just in case, because you’ll probably be won over by the silky inline-6 under the bonnet if you do. Not only is the price premium of around R 85 000 for the bigger diesel negligible in relation to a base price of about R 2-million, but it is also considerably more refined and potent, and offers the relentless yet effortless acceleration of a traditional petrol V8. All this without the fuel consumption penalty you’d expect for such a boost in performance? Yes, please! This is also the only engine available if you’re prepared to pay the near-R 300 000 penalty for a coupe-like body style.

Related: Get more information about the enhanced-AI, second-generation MBUX interface here.

The second-generation GLE Coupe is far removed from the humpback whale that came before.

2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class prices

These prices exclude optional equipment and appearance packages, but include taxes, a warranty for 2 years with no mileage limit, and a maintenance plan for 5 years or 100 000 km, whichever comes first. Prices were current at the time of publication, but are subject to change without prior notice.

GLE 300 d 4Matic SUV (5-seat): R 1 964 600

GLE 300 d 4Matic SUV (7-seat):  R 1 984 000

GLE 450 4Matic SUV (5-seat): R 2 075 400

GLE 450 4Matic SUV (7-seat): R 2 094 800

GLE 450 d 4Matic SUV (5-seat): R 2 041 500

GLE 450 d 4Matic SUV (7-seat): R 2 060 900

GLE 450 d 4Matic Coupe: R 2 340 500

Martin Pretorius


Find the new or used Mercedes-Benz GLE of your dreams in this awesome selection on CHANGECARS.