First Impression of Mercedes GLE 450

Picking up this Mercedes from the Al Hadad dealership on the morning of the test drive put me in a good mood –The GLE is a handsome looking vehicle, a big and spacious luxury SUV. I was curious to see if it would be much fun to drive as it looked it would.

First impressions when sitting inside were also positive. The cabin is luxurious without trying. Everything is practical and of high quality – polished and elegant. All the buttons are solid and intuitive. Illumination lines in the cabin change colour if you wish. I experienced pink, purple, and blue (my favorite).

The infotainment system comes with an optional full-color heads-up display, and a system called MBUX Interior Assistant is also enabled to act on your commands – just say “hey Mercedes” followed by your instructions.

Okay, so this didn’t exactly work out so great. When being initially shown the vehicle I said “hey Mercedes, change the cabin colour to blue” it could neither understand me nor the person from Al Hadad handing over the car. We both tried without success, causing us both to fall into fits of laughter. I tried it again later to play the radio but it still didn’t understand me, so I gave up. I know the system works but there was obviously something that needed ‘tweaking’ in the vehicle I had.

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Driving was enjoyable. This is no sports car, but it has plenty of power with a smooth nine-speed transmission and a 3-litre 362-horsepower engine. It will do zero-to-100 kph in a respectable 5.5 seconds. It also has a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds, which for those with a boat they need to haul will be very useful.

The steering is precise and responsive. There are all sorts of driver-assistance systems such as active braking, active lane chance assist, and blind-spot assist increase the level of active safety.

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Even in Bahrain’s heavy traffic, I enjoyed the GLE. It’s so much nicer sitting in a luxury SUV with high ground clearance than being in an average salon.

Not only the front seats, but also the second row of seats are electrically adjustable, and a third seat row is now available on request. The rear is thoughtfully designed to provide maximum spaciousness.

The impression I got from driving this Mercedes GLE is that it’s an ideal family vehicle. It offers comfort, space, performance, and being a Mercedes, of course, it offers plenty of prestige as well.

Starting price in Bahrain is BD31,995.