Mercedes GLE Problems: 6 Common Issues

While the Mercedes GLE is known for its luxurious interior and more road-focused handling compared to other SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz GLE range has more than its fair share of problems.

The Mercedes GLE suffers from uncomfortable base trim seats, DPF failure, poor-performing headlights, lurching forward when stopped, exhaust drone, and collision prevention assist not working.

To help you make a more informed decision, we’ve broken down all of these common issues and looked at some Mercedes GLE recalls you need to be aware of (especially if you have one of these models).

silver mercedes gle driving in the alps over rocks

6 Common Mercedes GLE Problems

1. Uncomfortable Seats

At a $56,150 starting price, you would think the standard seats on a Mercedes GLE would be adequate, but you would be wrong.

Driving long distances is less enjoyable for many owners who did not opt for the more premium interior with the fully adjustable front seats.

If you are a bit taller than average, the seats will not be kind to your body on a long road trip.

Some owners of other Mercedeses say the seats are harder than the older models.

The only fix is to pay to get the comfort package installed to get the multi-contour seat from Mercedes.

2. DPF failure

It might sound ordinary for a filter to fail, especially the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), but not around 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers).

At first, the vehicle will show the check engine light and activate the limp mode, followed by a smell described by the owners of the diesel Mercedes GLE as plastic burning.

In some cases, this can cause irreparable engine damage to the vehicle.

In most cases, the burning plastic smell is connected to the DPF filter going into regen mode, where the engine will heat the DFP to over 1,112 Fahrenheit (600 degrees Celsius) to burn off the carbon buildup inside of it.

3. Poor Performing Headlights

Mercedes is not kind to the people who don’t spec-up their GLE with another problem associated with the base trim package, the headlights.

The base trim headlights have a very warm Kalvin rating halogen headlight at around 3300K (yellowish).

While warmer light is excellent for interiors to minimize eye strain and make a place feel cozy, it isn’t the best at lighting up a vast area in front of a vehicle.

The fix is easy and cheap since the base trim GLE headlights use standard H7 style halogen bulbs, and a suitable replacement is the Morimoto H7 XB HID with a range of 3800K to 6000K (from golden-amber to neutral white), depending on your preference.

4. Lurching Forward When Stopped

Some owners of the Mercedes GLE have experienced that the car, when coming to a halt, will engage the stop-start function, but after a certain amount of time, the vehicle will jump or lurch forward with the start-stop sign on the dash turning from green to yellow.

One owner took it upon himself to discover the problem with his GLE and found dirt in his transmission solenoid; after cleaning, it resolved it, but others are not so lucky and are still driving around with this issue.

5. Exhaust Drone

The 2016 Mercedes GLEs had horrible droning sounds from the vehicles’ exhaust, so loud it could overpower the audio from the radio.

It was later discovered to be a design flaw with the mufflers used on the vehicles, and Mercedes dealers can replace the mufflers (if you complain enough) with those of the 2015 Mercedes ML range and resolve the problem.

6. Collision Prevention Assist Not Working

The job of the Collision Prevention Assist is to first audibly warn you of an obstacle, animal, other vehicles, or person you might not see. 

If you do not react, the system will brake for you to prevent a crash on the safe plus package, and the regular safety package, automatic braking, is not included.

The instrument cluster will display the following with some owners: “Collision Prevention Assist Inoperative.”

One owner had his GLE in the dealership workshop for seven days. 

They finally found the issue; the non-safety-plus systems only needed one sensor in the front of the vehicle, while he had two sensors, and that caused the system not to function.

Here is a demonstration of why collision prevention assist plus is advantageous to have and in work order:

Mercedes-Benz Accident Avoidance -- COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS

Recalls on the Mercedes Benz GLE

While recalls fix vehicle issues, there is still a chance that some cars never got fixed.

Either the owner did everything DIY or took it to a private mechanic who never knew about the recalls.

So it is advantageous for you as a potential buyer or owner of a Mercedes GLE to learn about these recalls. 

And if you already own a GLE, take your vehicle to a dedicated Mercedes-Benz dealer or trustworthy mechanic as soon as possible to rectify these problems.

2016 Recalls

  • 2016 GLE450 AMG, 4Matic vehicles, manufactured between 11 July and 25 July 2015, the rear head restraints may not function as intended if the car is in a crash in low temperatures.
  • 2016 GLE450 AMG 4Matic and GLE63 AMG S 4Matic vehicles may have a loose rear driveshaft bolt fastener that can loosen and result in the driveshaft separating from the transmission or the rear axles and stalling the car.
  • 2016 GLE450 AMG 4Matic vehicles may have an error on the ECU (Engine Control Unit) that causes the car to shut down while braking, resulting in driver confusion and increased risk of a crash.
  • 2016 GLE450 AMG 4MAtic vehicles may have an incorrect rear seatbelt anchor bolt installed that can cause it to fail in the event of a crash.
  • 2016 to 2017 model year vehicles, the front OCS (Occupant Classification System) is not calibrated correctly, resulting in it identifying a passenger as a child seat and deactivating the airbag.

2017 Recalls

  • 2016 to 2017 model-year vehicles, the windscreen is not bonded correctly to the vehicle’s window frame, which can result in the frontal airbags not functioning as designed.
  • 2016 model-year vehicles, the upper control arm bolt that connects it to the axle stub may not be adequately tightened.
  • 2016 to 2017 GLE 550e 4Matic Vehicles has incorrect tire pressure and size labeling on the B-pillar that fails to comply with the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard).
  • 2016 model-year vehicles may have an insufficiently sealed connector on the electric power steering that allows water into the control unit resulting in the electric power steering not working
  • 2017 model-year vehicles, in a specific type of crash, the center console will detach from the dashboard and fly around in the cabin, which can result in serious injuries.
  • 2016 to 2017 model-year vehicles, the low beam on the headlights may be improperly adjusted and fails to comply with the FMVSS standards.
  • 2017 model-year vehicles, the driver-side rear passenger door indicates it is locked but isn’t and thus fails to comply with the FMVSS standards and can unintentionally open.
  • 2016 to 2017 GLE43 AMG vehicles, the ECU (Engine Control Unit) and TCU (Transmission Control Unit), can have a compatibility conflict and cause the engine to shut down when the vehicle is stopped or under acceleration on an ECO start.

2018 Recalls

  • 2016 model-year vehicles equipped with ACS (Active Curve System), the oil in the system might get below low in certain driving conditions resulting in the oil foaming and leaking out of the reservoir cap and causing an increased fire risk.
  • 2018 GLE350, GLE350 4Matic, and GLE43 AMG vehicles, the primer used in the production to adhere the panoramic sunroof was incorrectly made. It can affect the long-term adhesion resulting in the sunroof detaching and causing a road hazard.
  • In 2018 model-year vehicles, the coating on the rear brake caliper pistons is applied incorrectly, resulting in gas being released into the brake system and reducing braking performance.

2019 Recalls

  • 2013 to 2017 model-year vehicles may have a software fault causing the date and time to be different from the current date and time on an eCall (emergency call). This can result in the vehicle relaying inaccurate vehicle location data.

2020 Recalls

  • 2020 model-year vehicles equipped with the illuminated Mercedes-Benz star on the grille may have a faulty ground connection due to improper installation, affecting other functions like the power steering, wiper motor, and left headlight.

2021 Recalls

  • 2017 to 2019 model-year vehicles’ front panel adhesive might deteriorate and cause it to detach and become a road hazard
  • 2018 GLE350, GLE400, and GLE43 AMG vehicles equipped with Continental tires may have tires that were cured for too long, resulting in the tire sidewall breaking and sudden loss of air and delamination and causing loss of control.
  • 2016 to 2021 model-year vehicles, the software on the communication module can fail to give the correct vehicle location on the eCall (emergency call) in the event of a crash.
  • 2017 to 2019 GLE350 and GLE400 vehicles, the communication module may have been deactivated during a service visit resulting in the eCall system not functioning.
  • 2020 to 2021 GLE350, GLE450, GLE53 AMG, GLE580, and GLE63 AMG, the LED headlights may have been adjusted incorrectly during a vehicle repair, failing to comply with the FMVSS standards.
  • 2019 to 2021 model-year vehicles, the multimedia system software can cause the backup camera to display a black screen and remain so even after reboot and restart, thus failing to comply with the FMVSS standards.
  • 2021 model-year vehicles, the drain hose of the air conditioning system may have been installed incorrectly, causing water buildup in the passenger compartment resulting in corrosion and shorts in electrical systems.
  • 2020 to 2021 GLE350, GLE450, and GLE580 vehicles in certain evasive driving conditions, the ESP (Electronic Stability Program) applies power only to one of the front wheels resulting in the car pulling to one side.
  • 2020 to 2021 model-year vehicles equipped with five seats, the middle rear seat belt buckle can be pushed down into a gab below the seat rendering the seat belt unusable.
  • 2021 model-year vehicles, the rear tailgate eagles may have been improperly bonded to the tailgate resulting in the rear glass detaching and becoming a road hazard.

2022 Recalls

  • 2017 to 2022 model-year vehicles may have software errors in the communication module’s SIM card that can cause it not to connect to a mobile network and disable the eCall system.
  • 2020 to 2022 model-year vehicles, the rear window trim bars may detach due to a manufacturing error and result in a road hazard.
  • 2020 to 2022 GLE450, GLE53 AMG, GLE580, and GLE63 AMG vehicles, the ground cable for the 48V system under the front passenger seat may not have been securely fastened and resulting in the cable overheating and increasing the risk of a fire.

Source: Kelley Blue Book

red mercedes gle coupe driving on a narrow mountain road

Final Thoughts On Mercedes GLE Problems

With uncomfortable seats, poor-performing headlights, and an exhaust drone, the Mercedes GLE has its fair share of faults.

The number of faults is below average compared to vehicles from other brands like the Volkswagen Tiguan or Ford Edge.

While Mercedes are generally reliable, the best thing to do if you own a Mercedes GLE is to take it to a Mercedes dealership and have them check for any recalls that haven’t been completed.

If you are in the market for a used Mercedes GLE, get a full vehicle history report and avoid any models with an outstanding recall.

Hopefully, you found this article helpful, and you can go to your next Mercedes GLE test drive knowing what to look out for.


Is The Mercedes GLE Reliable?

Yes, compared to its competitors in the upper midsize premium SUV segment, it placed third with a J.D.Power rating of 79.
In the quality and reliability segment, it scores 78, which is scored as average but to keep in context, the leader in the segment, the BMW X6, scores only 81.

Do Mercedes Have A Lot Of Issues?

No, Mercedes is one of the best-manufactured European brands with a high focus on quality.
A good example is Germany’s Taxis are majority just Mercedes-Benz, and it is normal for them to travel 380,000 miles (611,547 kilometers) without any significant issues.

What Is Mercedes GLE Comparable To?

The Mercedes GLE competes in the upper midsize premium SUV segment with the BMW X5 and X6, Porsche Cayenne, Genesis GV80, Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Volvo XC90, and Audi Q8.

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Article by

Jaco Schrader

Jaco is the automotive heart of our platform. Born and raised in Namibia, he began his journey in the automobile sector in 2012. Launching his own automotive repair business in Africa and fitting a Toyota 1UZ-FE V8 in a Ford Sierra, Jaco brings over six years of hands-on automotive experience. He’s a self-taught expert in various mechanical and electrical aspects of vehicles.

2 thoughts on “Mercedes GLE Problems: 6 Common Issues”

  1. I have a 2021 Gle400d When reversing in full lock the front wheels appear to not turn in sequence with the rear causing the front wheels to drag for a moment causing a violent shudders. Is this a know fault feature?


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