The Most Advanced SUV Of The Generation

Mercedes-Benz is going on an all-out SUV onslaught. Not only did it reveal the fascinating 2020 EQC electric SUV only a week ago, but now, the company is showing us the first photographs and revealing facts about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE - a mid-sized luxury SUV that evolved all the way from 1997 when Mercedes-Benz started the trend with the ML. Honestly, I liked the ML name the most, and I’d prefer if that name remained the official designation for the car. Nevertheless, I made my peace with the GLE and now, I find the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE to be the best ML yet. As with every Mercedes-Benz, even before the company unveils the new car, we all have certain expectations. First, it has to be cutting edge in some sense. Secondly, it has to look appealing. Thirdly, it has to pack technology like no other similar car on earth.

This is a living hell for Mercedes-Benz engineers as the whole world has basically the same expectations. Yet, they deliver. Like every single time.

I compiled here a list of reasons that tell you why everyone should be amazed by the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE, a car so advanced that only five years ago we’d probably think it’s a piece of alien technology. Be it Borg, Worlon, or Mon Calamari.

Before Mercedes-Benz officially pulls the sheets off it at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, learn here about many extraordinary features of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz ML. Sorry, I meant the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE. An honest mistake.

1. Mercedes-Benz GLE Is The Most Aerodynamic Mid-Sized SUV... In The World

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
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With a drag coefficient of only 0.29 Cd, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE became the most aerodynamic mid-sized SUV in the world. The Germans did all they could in order to create a car so slippery it would greatly affect the fuel consumption and lower the harmful gasses emissions. That is why some may find the looks of the new car lacking the aggressive stance, or the edginess of the previous one. Don’t feel bad about it, though. I am fairly certain that photographs alone cannot do it justice. It is a bigger car than before, and this means it will still look rather imposing and dominant on the streets.

Yet, cutting down the aerodynamic drag from 0.32 Cd of the previous generation to 0.29 Cd was not a walk in the park.

Apart from giving the front a slightly bubblier look, the GLE actually gained:

  • an active grille
  • spoilers on all fenders - right before the tires
  • n almost totally flat underbody
  • aero-optimized tires (I need to learn more about this feature because I am stumped, I guess it has something to do with the grooves on tires)
  • aero-optimized wheels
  • Spoilers at the C pillars
  • Spoilers at the taillights

All of this helps a bit with the aerodynamics and creates quite sophisticated looks for the GLE at the same time.

2. The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Is Larger Than Before

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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Have you realized that what we called mid-sized only 15 years ago, we call compact today? That is just the way of the world. Growing in size was the first thing Mercedes-Benz had to do with the new GLE.

It had to be bigger to accommodate the trends of the market and accommodate all the wishes of potential owners.

For that purpose, the Mercedes-Benz GLE’s wheelbase was extended by massive 3.15 inches. Now sitting at 117.9 inches, the wheelbase freed up more space inside the cabin. People in the second row get 2.7 inches more leg room and 1.3 inches more headroom. That is quite a lot, don’t you think?

3. Third Row Seating

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior
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Due to increased size, Mercedes-Benz could finally offer what many American customers wanted all along - third-row seating. Personally, I am not fond of it, but I am not the one who will spend $60+k on a GLE. Of course, third-row seating is optional.

Nevertheless, Mercedes did it right and created the so-called Easy Entry function for it.

Thanks to powered and fully adjustable second-row seats, those accessing the third row can easily move the second-row seats forward. Convenience has always been one of the staples of Mercedes cars, though, so it isn’t too surprising. Powered rear seats are just that - convenience.

4. Energizing System

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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While I really like modern luxury systems that improve comfort, the Energizing System for the new GLE seems to be overkill in the department. Yet, I’d like to try it. This is what it’s all about. First of all, it includes a powered seat with memory function.

Added to that is a system that closely monitors the posture on the seat and automatically changes the position of the seat cushion and backrest in an effort to provide best possible support.

The system is available for the front seats. However, apart from that, the Energizing System can be linked with Garmin wearable tech - like a watch or a band. As this thing tracks your vitals throughout the day, Mercedes actually downloads all the data from the wearable and adjusts the ambient lighting and other features in the car for maximal pleasure. This is actually a new feature called the Energizing Coach. Can’t go much more luxurious than this, now can you?

The system actually offers recommendations for the ambient programs. Mercedes said this on the matter:

“If a Garmin wearable is worn, personal values such as stress level or quality of sleep optimise the accuracy of the recommendation. The aim is for passengers to feel well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.”

5. E-Active Body Control System

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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As an intelligent suspension system, the E-Active Body Control assembles a number of different systems in an effort to provide an exceptionally comfortable ride, awesome off-road capabilities, and provide unmatched suspension control. Mercedes-Benz calls it “the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension.” After all, the system is designed to change suspension characteristics depending on the conditions.

Due to power requirements for many of its electrical systems, Mercedes integrated a 48-volt electrical net enabling the E-Active Body Control System to basically take full control of the Airmatic air suspension.

The most astounding fact about it is the E-Active Body Control System’s ability to control suspension on one wheel individually. With some clever thinking, Mercedes-Benz engineers imagined some innovative ways to use the tech.

It will work wonders off-road!

Imagine the 2020 GLE stuck in sand or in the mud. Well, with the E-Active Body Control System, the technology can actually lower and heighten the stuck wheel fast, in succession. This motion would change the pressure on the ground in search for a better grip. It sounds a lot like this - the system can shake its way out of any “sticky” situation. I believe it will do wonders on less than perfect surfaces.

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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It will provide extreme comfort!

Controlling each wheel individually, Mercedes-Benz managed to counteract body roll, pitch, and squat. In short, the GLE will not tilt in the bends, or squat during heavy acceleration, or pitch when braking. The E-Active Body Control is that capable.

It will make use of all grip available!

With the capability called the Curve, the E-Active Body Control System can lean the GLE in the bends.

Add to this cameras that monitor the road at all times and adjust the suspension in advance and you have yourself a car which sees what’s wrong with the road and can act on it.

The GLE is a smart sucker.

6. Advanced full LED headlights

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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Mercedes-Benz maxed it out when it comes to lights. See, regulatory bodies do, in fact, have a maximum light intensity defined. Mercedes, of course, created headlights that operate at the very edge of said regulations. In short, had Merc installed any brighter lights, its product would be illegal on the roads.

So, the Ultra Range high-beam full LED headlights can throw lights at a distance of 2,132 feet ahead.

Apparently, the maximum light intensity allowed by law is 1 lux over a distance of 2,132 feet. I guess these Ultra Range headlights can do it? Because, of course, they can.

7. Most Advanced Infotainment System Imaginable

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior
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Two 12.3 inch screens make out the Mercedes infotainment system and instrument cluster behind the wheel. These are standard gear for the 2020 GLE and the backbone of the latest iteration of the MBUX infotainment system. The amount of technology hidden behind them is quite extraordinary. One can control the system by voice, by touch, and by gestures. Furthermore, they fluently speak Android Auto and Apple CarPlay language.

The system is so polished, in fact, that it will apparently know the difference between the driver's and passenger's hand when using gesture controls.

That is some sick algorithm at work there.

With the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant the driver can easily control many features. Furthermore, the MBUX is crafted in such a way that it learns about the driver’s habits. While researching, one article I stumbled upon offered a great explanation of how this could work. For example, if you call a certain telephone number every day at the same time, the system will actually suggest the call when the time comes. If you listen to a certain radio station, the system will recognize the pattern and suggest that very station every time it thinks you are about to turn the radio on. It is like a personal assistant, a butler, a secretary, or a concierge service. Honestly, I would like to try all of this out and find out what else can it learn about me.

8. Five USB Ports

Well, what else to say about this one - the Mercedes-Benz GLE ships out with five USB ports, so all of those inside can recharge their Apples. Ok, and Androids.

9. A Four Cylinder And A Six-cylinder For The Time Being

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Drivetrain
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The Mercedes-Benz GLE is destined to appear in many different guises, but for the start, we will be able to buy it as a 2020 GLE 350, a 2020 GLE 450, and a 2020 GLE 450 4Matic.

The one with the smallest number is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder that develops 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

Apparently, this one will be available with the 4Matic system too. Both versions are linked with the latest generation of the 9G-Tronic automatic. Obviously, with 9 gears. The same transmission is available for all other versions of the GLE. The GLE 350 won’t be a slouch either. In fact, the car will be able to accelerate to 60 mph in 7 seconds.

The GLE 450 is the one to look out for, though. I suspect it will be the best seller, as it comes with a 3.0-liter, straight-six that develops 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Add to this a mild-hybrid system that adds 22 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque for short periods of time and you have yourself an awesome, fast, and efficient GLE. The EQ generator works as a starter as well making for seamless start/stop transitions for even better fuel efficiency.

With so much power, the large GLE 450 becomes a quick car. 60 mph in 5.5 seconds quick. That is some serious performance. In the future we can expect a diesel, a V-8 for AMG branded machines, and even a full-fledged hybrid.

10. Safety

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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As expected, the number of safety systems for the new GLE is off the charts. I’ll list a multitude but elaborate only on the two new ones. So, you can have this to keep you alive in the GLE:

  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC
  • Active Brake Assist
  • Active Stop-and-Go Assist
  • Active Steering Assist
  • Active Distance Assist
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Active Emergency Stop Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning
  • Active Blind Spot Assist
  • Trailer Manoeuvring Assist (available in Europe)
  • Novelties for the GLE are the Active Tailback Assist and the Turn-off function of Active Brake Assist.
  • Active Tailback Assist

The system works in conjunction with the Live Traffic and sensors on board. After recognizing tailbacks, usually, sooner than the driver even becomes aware of them, the Active Tailback Assist will prepare the car for stopping. Furthermore, with Active Stop-and-Go Assist, the GLE can take control in stop and go traffic to free the driver of the workload up to speeds of 37 mph.

The other novelty is the Active Brake Assist. I’ll let Mercedes-Benz explain this:

“If there is a danger of a collision with oncoming traffic when turning off across a carriageway, the GLE can be braked at the speeds typical of such manoeuvres.”

11. A More Advanced 4Matic AWD system

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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Along with the E-Active Body Control which can help in tricky off-road situations, Mercedes-Benz prepared an advanced 4Matic system for the new GLE. The new system is actually a fully adaptable 4Matic system that can transfer up to 100 percent of power to any axle.

The system is available for models with six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines and can further be complemented with an Off-Road package.

With it, the fully variable all-wheel-drive system offers low and high range gears and makes the GLE exceptionally capable off-road. A Torque on Demand system with 100 percent distribution between the front and the back will be available for the upcoming plug-in hybrid as well.

12. The new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Is Built In Tuscaloosa, Alabama

12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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Lucky us. As it the case with the previous generation model, the new Mercedes-Benz GLE will be built in the U.S. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The first models are scheduled to appear on roads early next year. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE price should start somewhere at $55,000.


12 Things You Have To Know About The New 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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Considering all the novelties that Mercedes-Benz gave to the GLE; I can only imagine that this one is a totally reimagined car. I feel like Mercedes built it all new - inside out - and gave the world the best it had at the moment. All in an effort to win over the likes of the Range Rover Sport, the new BMW X5, the cool Volvo XC90, the fantastic Audi Q7, and the rowdy Porsche Cayenne. Yup, the GLE will fight its way against all of those SUVs. Despite the heavy machinery all of them brought to the world, Mercedes-Benz managed to find a way to single out the 2020 GLE from the rest. Because of that alone, it will be expensive, and it will sell like hotcakes.

Further Reading

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

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Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

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Read more Paris Auto Show news.

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