Impressive Mercedes GLE 300d 4Matic carries a high price tag

At a recent Mercedes event, the company’s Irish Sales Manager Ciaran Allen said that buyers of new cars now spend approximately 11 hours researching information on a car before buying. But they spend only 30 minutes in garage forecourts. Buyers know what type of car they want before they go into a dealership; it’s just half an hour of haggling over the price.

But I think some might change their mind if they see the new Mercedes GLE when they visit a garage forecourt, but they will need a bit of extra cash if they want all the luxury that a GLE offers. 

This was my first time to drive this massive people carrier and I certainly got a lot of comments from family members and people I met in shopping centres and various other places. All the comments were favourable and of course the first question was always the price.

My 14-year-old grandson Oscar, who was visiting us from Denmark last week, was really impressed with the controls on the doors that allowed the front seats to be moved back and forward and up and down. Oscar had great fun moving his seat in various positions and we were both fascinated to find that you could also move the headrest up and down.

The test car was a GLE300d 4Matic with 245 brake horse power. That’s some power and the top speed was listed as 225km/h, which truth be told, I wasn’t able to test, as I couldn’t make it to Mondello Park last week.

It’s difficult to find an adjective that best describes the GLE, but you could say it’s ‘massive’ ‘huge,’  ‘a monster.’ It will be compete for sales with the likes of the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.

At first glance this car really makes an impression. The famous Mercedes logo dominates the grille and you also get the Mercedes logo on the bonnet. The days of the famous ‘three-pointed star’ on the bonnet are long gone. Young people kept breaking them off.

It had a really high driving position and my wife, who has a touch of arthritis, appreciated the grip over the passenger door to help her climb on board. My test model was a five-seater, but there is a seven-seat option available which will cost an extra 3k. The five-seater has a massive boot and there is ample room for a spare wheel, but only a repair kit was provided. So maybe allow another five minutes to haggle about the price of a spare wheel.

In the dash you have an array of controls and you can choose three different driving modes, comfort, sport and eco. I liked the sturdy leather grips located between the driver and front seat passenger, ideal for a ‘white knuckle’ type drive.

On the road it’s such a joy to travel in and I couldn’t think of any car more suitable if you have visitors to show them round our green and not always damp country, where the natives are so welcoming.

Prices for my 2.0-litre automatic diesel version start at €78,395 and when a few extras like AMG line and metallic paint were added it brought the price of the car, as tested, to just over 90k. Road tax is €570. The test model came in a Selenite Grey Metallic, which was a bit dull. But that was the only thing dull about the GLE.

Sean Creedon

Sean Creedon is a national motoring journalist.

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