MOVE over “Boss”, a new chief executive is in town.
Meet the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 (V167) 4Matic AMG Line in locally-assembled form.
Priced at RM475,501 (on-the-road with 0% sales tax until June 30 and without insurance), the locally-assembled GLE 450 represents a German full-sized sports utility vehicle (SUV) with seven seats with plenty of grunt.
This all-wheel driven SUV is equipped with a plethora of bells and whistles before getting galvanised with an exceptional combination of luxury, practicality and performance.
The GLE 450 counts its competitors among from the likes of the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90.
Whether static or at speed, the GLE 450’s styling cues is one that awes.
The media review unit came in Selenite Grey and subtly glistens in the sun with its chromed bits at the front and rear.
The same effect is found on the front gaping “diamond-studded” grille which seems to cramp out the rounded automatic LED headlights further to the corners.
Although the headlights add a sense of softness to the GLE 450’s looks, the sporty bumper and hood (with dual power domes) simply drown out this effect.
Along its flanks, body-coloured wheel arch trims and brushed-aluminium floorboards simultaneously add elegance and practicality, while the 21-inch wheels still manage to properly fill the “caverns” to give it an ultimately sporty outlook.
At the rear, the haunches provide a powerful and wide-looking stance that shouts stability and an eagerness to catapult itself off the line.
Inside the ‘office’
The “black” interior is highly business-like that speaks of maturity and sophistication, and the experience is one that’s highly insulated from noise, vibration and harshness.
The pairing of blackened Anthracite open-pore oak wood with black Artico man-made leather gets tastefully accented by splashes of satin-finished aluminium found on the air vents’ surrounds, multi-function steering wheel, paddle shifters and centre console’s toggle switches.
Adding colour to the mix is a 64-colour ambient lighting system that lines the dashboard, doors and even the triangular grab handles at the front of the cabin.
Ambience aside, comfort, spaciousness and convenience have not been forgotten.
Spaciousness is almost immediately perceptible for all, and the incorporation of the retractable panoramic glass roof further intensifies this effect.
Both 12.3-inch displays take centre stage with their crisp graphics and there’s also the inclusion of a wireless charger.
Type-C ports are also available with a total of six that have been spread out in pairs for those at the front, second as well as third-row occupants.
Although the centre infotainment unit is the only touch-sensitive 12.3-inch screen, it can be alternatively controlled via a touchpad and comes with haptic feedback and a solid leather-wrapped palm rest.
Owners will find the cockpit is to be highly driver-centric with plenty of ergonomics dialled in along with a commanding upright view that’s abundant in all-round visibility.
Simply put, all controls are within easy reach with the driver having a host of them readily available for their fingertips and this includes a dedicated button to adjust the front passenger’s seat.
Drivers and passengers alike will have plenty of back and thigh support while the front seats accord three memory slots each and there’s even an option within the infotainment system to have the seat automatically adjust itself according to your height.
The upholstered seats sport a combination of Dinamica microfibre and Artico that do well to add grip and some plushness respectively to the driving experience.
The convenience of powered-adjustability is practically ever-present.
Such liberties have been extended from the front and second-row seats (including their individual headrests) to the rear sun blinds and tailgate (with handsfree operation).
The second-row seats add one-touch accessibility (located on the shoulder of the backrests) to the third row but will require constant activation when returning them to their original position. Still, it’s a welcomed “touch” nonetheless.
Within the boot, individual buttons exist to fold the left and right sides of the second-row seats as well as one that lowers the boot’s height to aid with loading up the 630-litre boot.
Some manual work will be required when setting up and folding down the third-row seats that’s suited more to children than adults.
Folding down both second and third-row seats to a flush state increases the boot’s capacity to a class-leading 2,055 litres.
The 3.0-litre (2,999cc) M256 turbocharged straight-six engine is outright refined with “uber” smooth power delivery via its nine-speed automatic transmission and four drive modes of Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual - all of which dictates how this SUV dishes out its 367PS and 500Nm of torque.
In essence, Eco and Comfort modes really belong to tight parking spaces and slow-moving traffic conditions with its gentler throttle response, light steering feel as well as an
Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) that’s eager to kick in and a comfortable Airmatic air suspension system that’s exceptional at insulating the cabin from roughly patched roads.
Although Sport mode would boost driving thrills, using it with a heavy right foot on a daily basis could lead to more trips to petrol stations.
For that, the suggestion of utilising Individual mode is highly recommended with just the engine set to Comfort/Eco option while everything else (steering, suspension and ESP) set to Sport.
Regardless of the drive modes, the GLE 450’s mighty engine is always ready to provide its full potential when demanded.
The grippy brakes add plenty of confidence while the exhaust note throws in a large dollop of exhilaration and excitement through “turbo pops” as it revs down from red-line.
With its sporty good looks, refined and willing engine, class-leading boot space as well as its tastefully designed and spacious cabin, to mention a few, the GLE 450 is a definite attention grabber of discerning buyers.
Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic AMG Line
Engine: 2,999cc M267 turbocharged inline-6
Maximum power: 367PS from 5,500 to 6,100rpm
Maximum torque: 500Nm from 1,600 to 4,500rpm
Transmission: Nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic. 4Matic all-wheel-drive
Boot space: 630-2,055 litres
Acceleration (0-100kph): 5.7 seconds
Features: Six airbags, all-wheel drive, dual 12.3-inch displays (one with touch function), 590W 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 64-colour ambient lighting system, MBUX, quad-zone climate controls, adaptive cruise control, 360-birds eye view camera system and reverse camera view, power-folding external mirrors, hands-free powered tailgate, powered front (three memory function) and second-row seats, powered sun blinds, electric parking brake with Auto Hold function, automatic LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED rear light clusters, Nappa leather-wrapped flat-bottom multi-function sports steering wheel with paddle-shifters, front and rear parking sensors, keyless-entry with push-start button, Airmatic air suspension, 21-inch wheels with 275/45 (front) and 315/40 Pirelli PZero (MSO) tyres, front cross-drilled and rear solid disc brakes, Artico leather and Dinamica microfibre upholstery, heated and cooled front cup-holders, auto-dimming mirrors, panoramic sliding glass sunroof, Qi wireless charger, Park Assist, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring system, lane-keeping assist and Reverse steer assist.
Price: RM475,501 (on-the-road without insurance and 0% Sales Tax)