Mercedes-Benz are going all-out in bolstering their SUV portfolio at the moment. Anything and everything that starts with the letter ‘G’ is getting a major overhaul.
Next in getting a full redesign is their midsize luxury SUV, the GLE (formally known as the ML-Class). Recent scantily-clad spy shots suggest it’s not far off from official reveal, so let’s get in early and take an illustrated sneak-peek in AMG-line guise.
Taut, athletic styling on the outside
Initial impressions are that this fourth-generation version of the ML / GLE has spent a lot of time at the gym, resulting in a much more athletic and youthful presence, partially inspired by the smaller GLC. Frontal styling consists of CLS-like Multibeam LED headlamps, aggressive lower intakes and powerful hood lines.
Staunch fenders and a subtle shoulder line crease feature along the side, whilst the daylight opening area (DLO) is an evolution of the outgoing GLE. Rear styling isn’t a huge departure, but it features sleek, horizontal LED tail lamps and large dual exhausts while the wider wheel arches suggest a slightly wider track. The rear window is also more raked than the current model giving the new GLE a more sporting stance.
Those looking for more pizazz can go for the AMG Line trim models, as previewed in our artists’ take. You’ll get a more aggressive exterior with a dedicated front grille, beefier and more sculpted bumpers with larger inlets, side skirts and tall rims shod in much chunkier rubber.
Cabin and MBUX infotainment system
As for cabin-styling, our scoop shots show a thick-rimmed steering wheel, quad rectangular (instead of round) air vents, leather-wrapped console-mounted grab handles and those large 12.3 inch digital instrument and infotainment displays, as seen on other new Mercedes-Benz’s.
Powering those displays is Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX operating platform that debuted in the new A-Class. Using Nvidia GPU technology with 8GB of ram, it offers comprehensive touch options to reduce driver distraction, adds connect services, slick visuals and a voice assistant that’s actually smart.
Platform and Driver Assist systems
The new GLE-Class will sit upon Daimler AG’s modular MHA (Modular High Architecture) platform instead of the MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) that underpins the current E-Class. This will ensure weight savings and emissions targets are met even as the GLE grows in size. Expect a longer wheelbase to further boost occupant space, especially at the back.
Expect a plethora of driver assist systems that mirror those seen in the latest S-Class like Drive Pilot, a semi-automated system that allows the car to negotiate motorway bends amongst slow-moving traffic, plus Active Brake and Evasive Steering assist. Smartphone users can download an app called Remote Parking Pilot, which will enable drivers to park their car from outside the vehicle.
What will power it?
As you’d expect, the next GLE will offer a wide range of turbocharged four-cylinder and six-cylinder diesel and gasoline units, as used in the E-Class range, together with a new plug-in hybrid option capable of zero-emission running.
It’s very likely that Mercedes will launch the SUV with their new in-line six-cylinder engine from the latest CLS 450, where it produces 370 PS (362 HP) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque, plus an additional 22 PS (21 HP) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) courtesy of the EQ Boost function.
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 and 63 editions
Headlining the range will be three dedicated AMG models, including the GLE 53, 63 and 63 S. The entry GLE 53 will borrow the newly announced E 53’s 3.0-liter in-line 6 turbo engine with EQ Boost, rated at 429 HP (435 PS) and 384 lb-ft (520 Nm), paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission and AMG-tuned 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system.
If you want to go all out, then there’s the brutal monster that is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63. Powered by a 4.0-litre V8 nabbed from the AMG E63, it’ll pump out 563hp (571PS / 420 kW) and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque in base trim and 603hp (612 PS / 450 kW) and 627 lb-ft (850 Nm) of torque in ‘S’ guise, fed to all four wheels via an 4MATIC+ variable AWD system and 9-speed automatic transmission.
Rivals and reveal date
BMW’s upcoming all-new X5 will be the GLE’s foremost rival, however it’ll also battle it out for school-run superiority amongst competitors like Audi’s Q7, Jaguar F-Pace, Range Rover Sport, Lexus RX, Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Volvo XC90.
Going by the thinly-disguised prototypes recently spotted out and about, we’d expect a reveal in the coming months, perhaps at the Paris Motor Show with sales starting before year’s end.
What do you think of Mercedes-Benz’s new GLE? Share your views in the comments below.