Having launched the V167 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic AMG Line back in 2019, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is now introducing the CKD locally-assembled version on our shores. The seven-seater executive SUV is significantly less expensive than before, helping the company compete with tax-exempted plug-in hybrid rivals like the BMW X5 xDrive45e and Volvo XC90 Recharge T8.

The price is certainly attractive, as it dips well below the RM500,000 mark at RM475,501 on-the-road without insurance, representing a drop of nearly RM110,000 over the fully-imported model. This figure includes the sales and service tax (SST) exemption valid until June 30, after which the price goes up to RM499,888. As with all Mercedes models in Malaysia, the GLE 450 comes with a four-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

The considerable saving comes not just from local assembly but also from the revised level of equipment. There’s no discernible difference on the outside, where the GLE continues to feature the full AMG Line appearance package with sportier front and rear bumpers and body-coloured wheel arch trims. Also fitted are Multibeam LED headlights, aluminium-look running boards and 21-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels (the initial CBU batch came with 22-inch five-split-spoke alloys, but those were quickly dropped).

Inside, the only major downgrade is the use of Artico faux leather and Dinamica microfibre upholstery instead of the far more upmarket Nappa leather – the car you see here is one of the last CBU units, which is why you still see full leather in these images. The use of Artico extends to the dashboard and door cards, as before.

The AMG Line specification also remains, bringing with it a flat-bottomed, Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel, black headlining, chrome highlights and AMG-branded floor mats; anthracite open-pore oak trim continues to dress the dashboard. Also fitted is the full Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system with twin 12.3-inch displays, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and a 13-speaker, 590-watt Burmester surround sound system.

Other bits of standard equipment include keyless entry, push-button start, power-adjustable front and rear seats with front seat memory and lumbar adjustment, four-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled cupholders, auto-dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, double sun visors, powered rear sunshades, a Qi wireless charger, a 360-degree camera system, parking assist and a hands-free powered tailgate.

Another area where the GLE has been downgraded is safety. Gone is the Driving Assistance package with lane centring assist, meaning that the previous car’s Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capability has been dropped. However, you still get autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, while Distronic adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist have been optioned back in.

Power continues to come from the M256 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six, producing 367 PS from 5,500 to 6,100 rpm and 500 Nm of torque between 1,600 and 4,500 rpm. Equipped with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox and 4Matic all-wheel drive, the GLE 450 gets from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. The car also rides on Airmatic air suspension with adaptive damping (the E-Active Body Control roll stabilisation system was also removed after the initial CBU batch was sold out).