The GLE300d is a great buy for long commuters and as a travel vehicle for families. Short daily commutes are not quite as enjoyable considering the 4 cylinder engine is not as responsive as the 6 cylinder diesel in its predecessor. There is ample torque so it is very responsive for an SUV. The navigation and infotainment system contains a lot of tools and the apps are great: there are opportunities for Mercedes to improve on it though e.g. split screen like BMW does to allow apps to run side by side with the navigation. The finishes on the vehicle are amazing as expected of a real Mercedes.
There are very few "bad" cars in this segment. After looking at this, a Range Rover Sport, Q7, Cayenne, X5, XC90, and even a Land Cruiser (which I still want) - the dealership mainly won me over by not playing games and making it an easy purchase. The 400 goes about its business without much fuss. It's very quick - but doesn't attempt to be a sports car. There is more than adequate power/torque on tap, though the transmission isn't always as refined as I would expect in a vehicle in this class. I hate that the start/stop function defaults to "On" every time you start the car or change driving modes. The leather seats are extremely comfortable, particularly with the cooled seats option in Florida. Cabin is bright and airy with the panoramic roof (even closed whether you like it or not). Cabin looks somewhat dated but the quality is at least on par with the best of its segment, particularly with the real leather and stitched dash (I believe it was standard on my car but is optional on the 350). The infotainment is okay, crisp graphics but I usually leave it alone when driving. Mine actually has Magic Vision Control, which is far less interesting than it actually sounds (and likely makes replacing windshield wipers cost a small fortune). The adaptive cruise control is definitely my favorite feature for my commute. Steering assist is nice sometimes but feels strange when you want to take over - it will let you (and you can turn the system off) but it's just something to get used to. This car is not the best value (though try to option a far slower and even more dated Cayenne with the same options) nor would I even consider it best in class, but you know what you are getting into with the GLE and there are few if any surprises.
we drove the GLE 350 for a few days. ride quality is poor, i could feel most bumps even though i selected comfort on the suspension settings. the entertainment control is confusing... the engine felt underpower for such a heavy car. we drove the BMW X5 3.5 a few days before getting this car and the bmw is much better in everything.. must better ride quality, engine is very responsive, it brakes much smoother than the GLE 350. the only difference is here is that i think the X5 has a turbo while the mercedes does not, which made this comparison a bit unfair for the mercedes.. also the bmw is meant to be a sportier car therefore it will be more responsive while the mercedes is supposed to be softer and more comfort. but overall we are still very disappointed with the quality of GLE. we drove the older bigger siblings of The GLE, the GL 450 a few years ago.. and the GL 450 was also a big disappointment. it was too big and it drives like a minivan. i think mercedes still has a lot to learn in making luxury SUV. we drove the E300 diesel station wagon last year and we were very happy with the overall performance of the car.. so back to my point, i think mercedes makes a great sedan but not SUV.