We purchased a 2016 GLE350 as a replacement for our 2010 Lexus RX350. This is our first Mercedes-Benz, and overall, it's a wonderful car. I'm posting this review mostly to point out the "quirks" we've noticed in our first month of ownership. Note that we've previously driven Lexus and BMW, so those are our primary comparison points.
1. No Bluetooth audio! The Bluetooth only works for phone calls, not for playing music. This was an unpleasant surprise. If you want music from your phone, you have to physically plug it in via USB, and use either the direct audio option, or Apple CarPlay.
2. The navigation system defaults to reading directions aloud. There's no way to change this default; you have to physically mute the voice... every... single... time.
3. The "Dynamic Select" drive mode defaults to "Comfort". There's no way to change this default; you have to physically change it to "Sport"... every... single... time.
4. The in-car Operator's Manual only works while you're in Park, so your passenger can't look something up while you drive. And it's surprisingly sluggish; feels like a circa 1990's computer, chugging away to load the next page.
5. The radio controls are surprisingly "dense." It seems to take an awful lot of clicks to view your favorites, or browse up and down the dial.
6. I still haven't figured out how to store the fuel cap in the "holder". For now I've just let it dangle; I'm pretty sure it's supposed to have a slot, but I can't figure it out.
7. The printed/PDF Owners Manual seems to have been written for non-humans of some kind. The language is stilted, the instructions are riddled with so many warnings that it's really hard to find the actual info, and the info itself is ridiculously sparse and un-helpful. Please, car companies (especially Mercedes), hire an editor who can actually write!
8. After a month of trying, we've yet to successfully actually get the car to park itself, as advertised. Google or YouTube this; you'll find tons of other folks similarly confused, including dealers who humorously try to demonstrate this on YouTube and fail even in the videos! I'm sure it works, but wow, it seems utterly non-intuitive, and I really, really wonder how many total times in the history of Mercedes-Benz how often a driver has actually used the feature to actually park their car.
I had the opportunity to upgrade from a 2015 ML350 to the new 2016 GLE 350 and thought, why not. I am SO glad I did! I loved the ML350 but after just a few days with the GLE350, I knew I had made a good decision. The technology is so superior and the gear ratio is different so that it has more punch from 1st gear on. The ride is even better especially when you customize it with the sport mode. I felt safe in the ML but this GLE is like riding in a bank vault with all of the additional safety features. I see myself keeping this vehicle for years and years unless of course Mercedes comes up with even more enticing features during the next revision. AND it IS a Mercedes so I know if anything goes wrong or is in need of repair, Mercedes will do a quality job making it perfect again.
I gave my GLE 350 an overall rating of 4. I love the ride and the luxury interior. It is not five because I am comparing it to my former Lexus RX 350. When compared to the Lexus the RX is a little smother and quier ride. In the GLE I made the mistake of getting a 20 inch ring. I am a female and when getting in the step is s little high. Ok for tall guys I guess.
If you want sporty, the BMW X5 could be a better choice for you. If you want straight-line speed and off-roading capability, the Range Rover Sport could be more appropriate. But, if you use your premium SUV for driving around town, taking the kids to practice and going on long road trips, you absolutely cannot beat the GLE. It is the safest, most reliable, most luxurious and one of the most feature-laden SUVs you can buy in its price range and competitive set. If you want sporty, get a sports car or sports sedan. If you want straight-line speed, get a Corvette. If you want off-roading capability, buy a body-on-frame truck. But, if you use your luxury SUV like just about everyone else uses their SUV, then get a GLE. In terms of within the Mercedes line, I've driven the current generation GL450 a few times, and by comparison the GLE 350 has a newer design/sleeker front-end, and a much improved infotainment system. In fact, the infotainment system works much better than BMW iDrive and Range Rover's system as well - though the new Volvo XC90 might have the GLE beat by a hair. Get a GLE for the reasons I mentioned already and you won't be disappointed.
Overall we like 2016 GLE 350. But we do not like the lease plan, regret deeply. In the past we always puchase car. So we decided to buy this GLE, our credit score is excellent, the interest rate is low 1.99%. When we came to accounting office (Mercedes-Benz of Tampa) to complete the paper, this young staff sweet talked to us, selling the leasing plan. He told us how good the leasing plan is, how much saving we will get through leasing. It sounded so good, we believed him, and signed 3 years leasing paperwork, paying $789.40 per month. However, later on we found out the dealer advertising the same car leasing for $599. We are overpaying the leasing fees, plus insurance is $700 more per year than the purchase. So we called back to ask for a change to purchase, he said that we can't change any more. We regreted to listen to this guy's sweet talk. We will pay extra money and lose the car value after 3 years. Leasing is a bad deal, should not do it.