After a drawn-out teaser campaign and a comprehensive development cycle, the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE has officially premiered prior to the Paris Auto Show in early October.
With one quick glimpse of the new GLE, it is easy to notice the differences between it and the outgoing model. Mercedes-Benz says the SUV’s design is “based on the harmonious interaction between emotion and intelligence” and is “characterized by timeless beauty, a combination of high-grade technology and craftsmanship and reduction to what is really important.”
While we think some of that wording is a little strong, there’s no doubt this is an altogether better-looking package than the GLE this new model replaces.
At the front, Mercedes-Benz has incorporated a set of more appealing headlights as well as a redesigned grille and faux air intakes. Elsewhere, new wheels, available in sizes between 18- and 22-inches have been designed while an evocative C-pillar helps to transform the vehicle’s rear half. Completing the design are slim taillights.
Mercedes-Benz has also worked extensively on updating and improving the GLE’s interior. To do so, the vehicle’s wheelbase has been extended by 80 mm, allowing for an additional 69 mm of legroom in the second row and an additional 33 mm of headroom. Luggage capacity has increased to 825 liters (217 U.S. gallons) behind the rear seats and a huge 2055 liters (542 U.S. gallons) when the second row is folded down.
Like the A-Class, the new GLE also uses the latest-generation of MBUX, the Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system that consists of two large 12.3-inch screens as standard.
In terms of engines, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE will initially be sold exclusively with the marque’s in-line six-cylinder engine, displacing 3.0-liters and in GLE 450 4MATIC guise. However, various diesel models and a plug-in hybrid are just around the corner, including some four-cylinder engines.
As we expected, the GLE 450 4MATIC pairs its 3.0-liter six-cylinder with 48-volt technology and delivers 367 hp and 358 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. The EQ Boost function adds an extra 22 hp and 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) for short bursts of additional grunt.
All 2019 GLE variants will use a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission that incorporates a transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch. This will allow for a variable transfer of torque between the axles, a feature which will be especially useful during off-roading.
The German automaker has outfitted the new GLE with the latest generation of its driving assistance systems. These include Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Distance Assist, Active Brake Assist, and Active Blind Sport Assist with exit warning. Additionally, Trailer Manoeuvring Assist will be optional for GLE models sold throughout Europe and operates by controlling the steering angle of the towing vehicle at low speeds of up to 5 km/h.
One final update enjoyed by the new GLE is E-Active Body Control. This system uses the 48-volt system alongside newly-developed air suspension which means spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. This reduces body roll, pitching, and squat.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE range will reach dealers in the U.S. and Europe in early 2019 and in spring 2019 in China. It will be manufactured in Alabama.