How Does The New 2019 Mercedes GLE Compare To Its Predecessor?

After a long development period and countless prototypes spotted undergoing tests on public roads, Mercedes‘ all-new 2019 GLE has finally been unveiled.

If by any chance you’re not a fan of the latest CLS and A-Class, then you’re probably not going to be very impressed with the automaker’s new mid-size SUV either, seen as how it also features Mercedes‘ ‘Sensual Purity’ design philosophy. That basically means there’s an absence of strong design lines and creases.

As with all new things, it will take some getting used to, but odds are, people will start to appreciate newer Benz models the more time goes by, which bodes well for the 2019 GLE, seen as how you could actually characterize it as being very simple-looking, compared to its predecessor.

Where’s the visual aggressiveness?

Among the old W166 GLE’s styling traits was its ability to look properly menacing thanks to its sharp shoulder line, strong bonnet creases and dynamic profile. Add an AMG styling kit or just pick an AMG-powered model out of the bunch and you could argue in favor of the GLE as being one of the best-looking SUVs in its segment – which is actually surprising given its age.

The old GLE was a re-branded and facelifted version of the third-generation M-Class, on which development began no less than 12 years ago. So while the third-gen ML came out in 2011, its design was first sketched all the way back in 2006. Case in point, aside from a new set of LED taillights, the GLE’s rear end is pretty much identical to the ML’s.

When the GLE was launched in 2015, we could see that the most impactful cosmetic changes occurred either towards the front fascia or inside, the latter representing a much-needed overhaul: a new steering wheel, 7-inch free standing screen, new dashboard, new colors and so on.

But before we talk on-board tech, let’s conclude the exterior design chapter of this story by reaffirming how the automaker went from the 2016 GLE’s angular design to something a lot more classy, which is great as long as you like that sort of design – BMW sure doesn’t, at least not at the moment.

The 12.3-inch screens are standard

The new GLE’s dual-touchscreen display consists of two 12.3-inch screens that genuinely put the old GLE’s 7-inch display to shame.

There’s also a completely new dashboard design with leather-wrapped grab handles (like the old M-Class), a touchpad controller for the latest-gen MBUX system and a new steering wheel. As for the ambient lighting, the GLE had that too, although we’re guessing the new model will allow you to play with a lot more colors, just like you would in the latest A-Class or any other recently-unveiled Mercedes.

Speaking of impressive things, the new GLE has also been fitted with the latest in driving assistance technology. Future owners will be able to rely on systems such as Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Distance Assist, Active Brake Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist. You could say that the 2019 GLE is actively whooping the old model’s behind when it comes to this sort of stuff.

The fight goes on

Technically speaking, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE certainly doesn’t need to worry about its predecessor. What Mercedes need to worry about is making sure the car is well-equipped to challenge for the segment crown among rivals such as the latest BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and even the VW Touareg in some markets.

  • MMNYC18

    I think the new GLE looks great – just wish MBZ and others would lay off the fake vents and acres of textured blank/fake front grill intakes – it cheapens the design.

    • exeptor

      Exactly my thoughts.

  • Aven

    For me the current model looks like a successor to the new one from outside. The interior is definitely better on the new one but the exterior from last gen is way better imo.

    • Mynameis Taylor

      how is that possible?

  • Christian Wimmer

    It‘s no contest: the new GLE wins in all categories, especially design.

    I never liked the 3rd generation ML-Class/GLE from a design POV. I‘ve gotten a ride in a GLE350d last year and it was roomy and comfortable, but design wise I always though they were terrible. A mishmash of styling elements where nothing worked. Just a dull car.

    The new GLE looks both muscular (especially in AMG trim) and elegant. It‘s not my favorite Benz (I‘m not big on SUVs), but it‘s such an improvement over the last model.


      Some of Gordan Wagners current designs are awkward (imo: CLS, A, SL), but his SUVs so have been really good looking. I too am not an SUV fan, unless a give me a proper offroader like the G.

  • Merc1

    The old one still looks good, but the interior while of high quality, is dated. The new one with the AMG pack is gorgeous. The new interior may be worlds better tech wise, but I’m not sold on that look yet.


    • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

      The only 1 thing I liked in the current over the new is the head lights

    • ToniCipriani ✓pǝᴉɟᴉɹǝʌ

      I don’t know about high quality, my friend’s ML63 was all cracked up by the time the lease ended. Hairline cracks all over the wood panels.

  • Raul

    RFID chip (666)

  • DantesLegions

    Non mi piace

  • PK

    Old exterior but with the new interior!

  • erly5

    The old design was embarrassing and always looked to me like something Ssangyong would be proud of. The new one is a vast improvement.

  • Gordon Mackenzie

    I do not like the new Exterior at all!! Round jelly bean style, no character lines…. Current Gen Wins especially when you do not have the side bar and the right wheels… I have a 2017 and considering ordering a 2019 to buy ( they are taking orders on the last of this gen and it is a 2019, the new one will be a 2020. Engine is upgraded otherwise the same. Only other Suv I like is the New Volvo Xc60 they did a great job on exterior.. As far as interior of Old Gle, yes looks dated but it is very functional!! The Vents do not look weird like on new one and you use buttons vs touch screen.

    I kinda thought a clean honest rugged look works on Suvs………….. the current Gen has it the new one adds plastic fenders to a round jellybean, really??

  • BlackPegasus

    It looks slightly less soccer mom’ish. It’s an acceptable redesign.

  • Kagan

    same as the old one!
    Couldn’t they have bigger buttons for seat adjustement!

  • PB

    Much tidier


    prev gen exterior is better
    new gen interior is better, despite merc needs to fix its air vents

  • Vassilis

    Pretty nice.

  • Some ol’ bloke

    kia sportage

  • Mynameis Taylor

    the old one wasn’t ugly, but it always looked like a short MINIVAN. Now it looks like a proper Cross over SUV

  • Mynameis Taylor

    It’s very good looking 🙂

  • Jason Panamera

    I’d take older one.

  • Brabusbus

    The exterior of old GLE is way better and muscular, but the new GLE interior is huge improvement.

  • asphrp

    exterior : old
    interior : new

  • ▶️ ProtectOurHeritage ◀️

    The headlights of the new GLE look like they belong in an Opel/Vauxhall Mokka.

  • Six_Tymes

    New one by far! Both inside and out, nicely updated. Excellent work Merc designers!

  • PlonPlon

    The new one makes the old one… dated! I really love the new design and the new rear lights seems to come from Audi, but they look way nicer than the previous genration ones’. And somehow, I don’t know why, but I find similarities in the design language with some uniforms in Star Wars… Not sure I am explaining well 🙂

  • Hate the new dash, I consider it lazy design when the display looks like you velcroed your iPad to the dash.

  • Harry_Wild

    I like the new model much better then the current model. Even without the $6K AMG package, it looks great! I might buy the new GLE if I can price it below the $75K U.S.

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