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Old 08-02-2019, 03:33 PM   #1
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Question 2020 Mercedes GLE 350 vs. GLE 450

Hi. I am new to this forum and looking for the best vehicle to tow my (soon to be) Airstream Bambi with a gross weight of 4,700 lbs. I am absolutely sold on the 2020 Mercedes GLE and I am trying to decide between the GLE 350 with a 255-HP turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder and the GLE 450 with a 363 HP 3.0L inline 6-cylinder. I was surprised to see that both rated at the same 7,700 lbs. towing capacity. I am trying to make an educated decision on which model to buy for long cross-country trips including mountainous terrains. Will the 350 struggle in the mountains? Will the 450 with more horsepower and torque actually provide better gas mileage when towing? My sales guy was worthless answering these questions so I am hoping current Mercedes and Airstream owners can provide valuable insight to guide my decision. Thanks!

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Old 08-02-2019, 04:06 PM   #2
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First, welcome and great choice in the 2020 GLE; a really nice vehicle which has been upgraded significantly over the previous model.

I don't have any experience towing with the GLE but my wife does drive a 2018 GLC 300 4matic which has a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo similar to the one in the GLE 350. As you probably know, the newest version of this engine in the GLE makes 14 more HP but the same torque as the engine in the GLC 300. It provides good performance in the 4000lb GLC but the new GLE is almost 1000lbs heavier so the 4 cylinder will be working a little harder. Add in 3000-3500 lbs for a loaded Bambi and you'll be asking even more.

I'm not suggesting that the GLE350 won't work, just that the 450 might provide a more relaxed towing experience, especially in the mountains. This is just me, but for the $5K price delta between the two models and because towing is involved I personally would pick the 450. Good luck with your decision.

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Old 08-02-2019, 04:43 PM   #3
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Have sport 22 with GL 450 and it is powerful and smooth. I bought it for daily driver and tow. Going up to Mammoth from Bishop it wanted to go faster than i wanted and saw that, with AC on, it started to get warmer so i keep it at 45 and passed some SOBs behind trucks. I would prefer the 450 over 350 for power
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. The 450 seems like the most sensible option. I was doubtful of the climbing ability of the 350 and it’s nice to hear the 450 conquers mountains with no problem.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mitchch56 View Post
Thanks for the feedback. The 450 seems like the most sensible option. I was doubtful of the climbing ability of the 350 and itís nice to hear the 450 conquers mountains with no problem.
Just to note (and I am being general so undoubtedly others will correct me with details) that towing capacity is often more a function of things like frame strength, suspension and brakes than HP, which is probably why the towing capacity is the same with the two different engines.

Have fun! The GLE has always been at the top of my SUV list and the Bambi should be good package for a couple.
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Old 08-04-2019, 11:59 AM   #6
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Both have a 9 speed transmission, but I will bet you will find the 350 hunting gears way more often. With 100 less hp and nearly 100 less lb-ft of torque, the 350 may get you there, but it's gonna wind out way higher and that means wear and tear. and the acceleration of the 350 is pretty lousy unloaded... Not mentioned was the fact that the inline 6, which is inherently more torquey than the older V6, is augmented with the EQ boost electric motor. That gives even more torque when you need it... Hands down an improvement on all older MB 450 models. I say go for it!

While the EQ system does not get you anything significant in terms of electric only propulsion, it does allow coasting with the engine off esp when coming to a stop. It has a small battery and it is primarily used to power all the things that used to be powered by belts from the engine in addition to powering the electric boost motor that is incorporated into the transmission. By taking that load off the engine (like AC which is now electric motor driven and the alternator because it uses the electric motor as a starter and generator) you instantly have more reserve power available for things like climbing hills. Think about it. And the battery is self charging from regenerative sources so you never have to plug in... It's what they call a mild hybrid.

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