Everyone knows that Mercedes-Benz vehicles offer incredible luxury and sophistication, with sleek and stunning designs, not to mention interior features and comfort, the likes of which you will rarely find anywhere else. But once you look beyond all of that gorgeous luxury, you might wonder whether they’re actually much fun to drive. After all, plenty of vehicles have great sound systems and leather interiors while giving you engines that are pretty underwhelming. So it’s fair to imagine that all that focus on sophistication could be compensating for something.
Fortunately – well, fortunately for Mercedes-Benz fans anyway – they are certainly not compensating for anything. In fact, the engines and powertrains in Mercedes-Benz vehicles are among the most impressive on the road, with excellent power and performance that is clearly designed to impress. Today, I’m going to go through the lineup of Mercedes-Benz SUVs in particular and look at the kind of performance each one has to offer. I’ll give you the lowdown on their engine options, their acceleration, and consider how much fun each of them is to drive.
And, in the end, we’ll have a ranking (of sorts) to show us which SUV reigns supreme. To start with, however, I’m going to look at each one in order of size and cost. One last point of clarification: I’m only looking at the standard SUVs from Mercedes-Benz, not the AMG versions – those are all designed for high performance and deserve their own rankings.
The GLA 250 SUV
First up, we have the GLA 250, a compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz that is a great jumping-off point for their impressive overall lineup. The GLA 250 has a single engine available, which makes it pretty easy to consider, though there are two different trims to choose from. This compact model is powered by a 2.0L I-4 turbocharged engine that puts out 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The standard version of this SUV has front-wheel drive and can go from 0 to 60 in 6.8 seconds, while the all-wheel drive 4Matic model can go from 0 to 60 in 6.6 seconds.
The GLB 250 SUV
Next up is the GLB 250, a similar model in most respects to the starting GLA, but with a few differences worth mentioning. This model also has only one engine available: a 2.0L I-4 turbo that offers 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s right – it’s the same engine as the one in the GLA. However, the GLB is a larger vehicle than the GLA and has seating for up to seven people, and that extra size costs you some performance. Both the standard front-wheel drive model and the 4Matic version can go from 0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds.
The GLC 300 SUV
The first of the Mercedes-Benz midsize SUVs, the GLC 300 has a spacious and luxurious interior with an excellent engine to go along with it. You get a similar 2.0L I-4 turbo in this SUV, but this one is tuned to deliver up to 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. So while it might not be massively different from the engines in the previous models, it is more powerful. That added power provides excellent performance: both the standard and 4Matic models of the GLC 300 SUVs can go from 0 to 60 in 6.1 seconds.
The GLC 350e SUV
A variation on the basic GLC 300 design, the GLC 350e is a plug-in hybrid version that delivers some very impressive performance. It features the same 2.0L I-4 turbocharged engine as the standard model, but with the addition of a 90 kW electric motor. Together, these deliver up to 315 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque combined. This translates into superior performance, too, as the GLC 350e can go from 0 to 60 in just 5.6 seconds – a full half-second faster than the standard GLC 300.
The GLE 350 SUV
Next up, we have the GLE 350, a true luxury SUV from Mercedes-Benz that is absolutely gorgeous and filled with sophisticated touches like leather, wood, and metal accents to really take your driving experience to the next level. Once again, we see a 2.0L I-4 turbocharged engine that delivers up to 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, just like the GLC 300 series models. However, due to the larger design of the GLE 350, the engine does fall a little short in terms of performance. With standard front-wheel drive, it can go from 0 to 60 in 7.0 seconds, and with 4Matic all-wheel drive, it can hit 60mph in 7.1 seconds.
The GLE 450/580 SUV
If you like the design and incredible luxury of the GLE 350 models, but that performance is leaving you a bit underwhelmed, then check out the GLE 450 and 580 models available. Both of these come standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive and have more powerful engines than the GLE 350. The GLE 450 features a 3.0L I-6 turbocharged engine that offers up to 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, letting you go from 0 to 60 in just 5.5 seconds. With the GLE 580, you get a 4.0L V8 Biturbo engine that delivers up to 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque – that impressive power means this Mercedes-Benz SUV can go from 0 to 60 in just 4.9 seconds.
The GLS 450/580 SUV
While the engines and performance of the GLE 450 and 580 models are excellent, if you want something a bit larger, then consider the GLS 450 or 580. These have the same engines as the GLE models, with the same amount of horsepower and torque, but the GLS is a larger SUV with a more spacious interior. That being said, since they are bigger, you lose a bit of performance; the GLS 450 can go from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds, while the GLS 580 can go from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds.
The G 550 SUV
Finally, there is the Mercedes-Benz G 550 SUV, which has a unique design among the other models in this lineup, looking and performing more like a Jeep than a classic luxury vehicle. That being said, inside the G 550, you will find all of the trappings of sophistication that you would expect. That combination of luxury and performance makes this a truly stunning piece of machinery. This model features a 4.0L V8 Biturbo engine that delivers up to 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, which allows it to go from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds.
Now that we’ve had a look at the engines and performance on all of these models, let’s see how they stack up and rank them by acceleration:
- GLE 580: 4.9 sec
- GLS 580: 5.2 sec
- GLE 450: 5.5 sec
- GLC 350e: 5.6 sec
- G 550: 5.6 sec
- GLS 450: 5.9 sec
- GLC 300: 6.1 sec
- GLC 300 4Matic: 6.1 sec
- GLA 250 4Matic: 6.6 sec
- GLA 250: 6.8 sec
- GLB 250: 6.9 sec
- GLB 250 4Matic: 6.9 sec
- GLE 350: 7.0 sec
- GLE 350 4Matic: 7.1 sec
As you can see, the powerful engines of the 580 models really give them the advantage, while vehicle size is typically another major factor. So if you want quick acceleration and incredible performance in a Mercedes-Benz SUV, look for a smaller model with a powerful engine.