Staying ahead of the pack

Just a few years have passed since the GLE first hit the scene, but Merc isn’t waiting around to usher in a new generation for the 2019 model year. Bringing revamped, off-roader-inspired styling, a new interior design, a vast array of tech-heavy features, an updated engine line, and a new 48-volt mild hybrid system, the latest GLE is locked and loaded to take on the mid-size luxury SUV segment, with rivals like the BMW X5 and Audi Q7 set squarely in the brand’s crosshairs.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Styling

- * New styling looks more “SUV-like”
- * Chrome trim bits everywhere
- * Intelligent LED lighting system
- * Wheels sized between 19 and 22 inches
- * Three inches added to the wheelbase
- * More aerodynamic for enhanced mpg

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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The first thing you’re likely to notice about the new GLE is the revamped exterior design.

Granted, the latest model doesn’t present a huge break from its predecessor, but there are a few updates worth pointing out.

With this fresh generation, Mercedes seeks to give the GLE additional “SUV-ness,” or rather a more robust and rugged look overall. It all starts in front, where the GLE’s grille is updated with a new upright shape for the central intake, with additional bends creating an octagonal shape. Chrome plating is prominent throughout, including lower in the fascia where the faux underguard section is outlined by the shiny stuff. Chrome can also be found closer to the hood and elsewhere on the body as well.

The headlight housings were also reshaped for 2020, and now use a shape that’s more horizontal than before, rather than the previous model’s drawn-back housings.

Providing forward illumination is Merc’s Ultra Wide Beam LED Intelligent Light System, which Mercedes says “produces the maximum light intensity permitted by law.” Woah.
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Moving around to the sides of the machine, the latest GLE brings fewer design updates, but they’re still there if you look more closely. For example, you still get short overhangs, large wheels, and a particularly wide C-pillar, but the side character lines are almost entirely gone, while the lower black cladding is far more prominent, stretching from the nose to the rear and up and over the fenders. The large wheel designs range between 19 and 22 inches in diameter.

Up top is a standard set of shiny roof rails, below which are chrome window surrounds. Further towards the ground, buyers have the option to get Illuminated Running Boards. Meanwhile, the sideview also reveals the GLE’s extended wheelbase, which adds more than 3 inches to the previous model’s measurements, enhancing the SUV’s interior room considerably.

Viewed from the rear, the first thing to jump out are the new taillights, which get a slimmer shape that stretches between the rear fenders and into the hatch. The graphical elements are new as well, while the rear reflectors are lower on the body than before. The overall effect is a greater emphasis on the car’s visual width and stance, all of which is complemented by additional chrome elements for the faux underguard, which helps to bookend the vehicle as well.

While it’s important to make each successive generation stand apart from the last in terms of visual impact, Mercedes says the GLE’s new design also “sets a new standard for aerodynamics in the SUV segment.”

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
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Indeed, Mercedes says it spent some time making the GLE more aerodynamic, no doubt in a bid to increase average fuel economy numbers.

As such, the latest design offers a Cd (coefficient of drag) rating of 0.29, which Mercedes claims as “best in its segment.” For comparison’s sake, the older model had a Cd of 0.32.

To accomplish this, Mercedes employed techniques like computer aided design and other digital tools to refine and hone the GLE’s shape. Interestingly, Mercedes also put the GLE inside a wind tunnel. It’s not often a brand is willing to spend the time and money testing an SUV in a wind tunnel, but considering just how important average fuel economy is these days, we’re not all that surprised.

Aero-optimized elements include updates to the air control system mounted behind the radiator grille, plus a new set of wheel spoilers, new aero-efficient wheel designs, optimized tires, new side spoilers, a new D-pillar seal on the tailgate, spoiler lips on the taillights, updated underbody cladding and paneling, and a new rear diffuser.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior Design

- * Updated interior design as well
- * Horizontal elements enhance visual width
- * Fewer hard buttons, more digital screen space
- * Standard sport steering wheel
- * Lots of extra rear passenger room
- * Optional third-row seating
- * Latest semi-autonomous assists
- * 12.3-inch displays
- * Customizability for all passengers
- * Gesture control

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior
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In addition to the new exterior stuff, the 2020 GLE also brings a totally revamped interior design, taking cues from both Mercedes’ SUV line and its sedan line to create something that’s simultaneously sporty, practical, and luxurious.

The dashboard design in particular gets a variety of new elements and features.

Offered in a “floating” motif that connects with the door panels in a single, fluid arc, the look is much simpler and straightforward than before, with tons of horizontal bits that enhance the car’s sense of width.

The center console is minimized to a single polished strip, while most of the hard buttons take a back seat to digital screen control. Running along the spine is a wide center console, with grab handles added up front, a feature which Mercedes describes as “typical” for an off-roader type of vehicle.

To help you operate the various features, the GLE offers haptic feedback for the controls, plus audio feedback as well. The hard buttons that do remain are mostly high-end metal switchgear. Driver’s will enjoy the new sport steering wheel as well, which gets a flat bottom, three spokes, and extra thumb-length controls to boot.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior
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More important is the overall passenger space, which now gets a considerable boost thanks to the GLE’s longer wheelbase.

Rear-seated passengers see the biggest benefit, with second-row legroom expanding to 41.1 inches overall, a 2.7-inch increase compared to the previous model.

Rear headroom is also up, with the standard fixed rear seats offering as much as 40.4 inches, a 1.3-inch increase compared to the previous model. The A-pillars are also more “up right” than before, which helps with entry comfort and first-row spaciousness as well.

Passengers camped out on the second row will enjoy the full electric adjustability, with as many as six different adjustments offered to maximize comfort. For example, the right-hand and left-hand seats can move forward and backward by about 4 inches, while the backrests are foldable and can be angled as desired. The head restraint height is adjustable too.

Passengers can make adjustments by using a panel switch located on the door. Alternatively, if you’re in back trying to load in some gear, there’s also a switch in the luggage compartment that’ll move it around as needed. What’s more, you can lower the rear hatch by 1.6 inches at the touch of a button, which also helps to ease loading and unloading gear. The 40:20:40 rear bench seat split offers some flexibility as well.

Interestingly, Mercedes is offering third-row seating “on request.” Go for this option, and you’ll get another two seats to the rear, bringing the total up to five (two up front, three in the second row).

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On the tech front, the GLE’s various driver assists are all the latest and greatest that the brand can muster.

Thanks to a variety of sensors, including a stereo multipurpose camera, radar system, and more, the GLE is on par with most other German luxury SUVs in the segment.

Most notably, the GLE comes with Active Stop-and-Go Assist, which can recognize traffic jams thanks to its onboard sensors and realtime monitoring of traffic info. If a jam is detected, the onboard systems will take appropriate action, slowing down the cruise control and preparing to stop as needed.

There’s also Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Assist. “If there is a risk of collision when turning across the path of oncoming vehicles, the vehicle will be braked when traveling at low speeds,” Mercedes explains.

Extras include Active Distance Assist Distronic with integrated lane-keeping assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Exit Warning Assist. What’s more, Mercedes explains that each of these systems isn’t operated isolation, but communicate amongst one another to offer a more wholistic approach to safety and convenience for the driver.

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When it comes to comfort, there’s active seat kinetics for front-seated passengers, with features like electric adjustment and a memory function, as well as “minute movements of the seat cushion and backrest” for extra backside support when its needed most. There’s also automatic driver’s seat adjustment based on your body size.

The GLE takes things even further with Mercedes’ Energizing Comfort system, which connects multiple features, including the stereo, cabin lighting, and the seat massage to form a cohesive system with the aim of coddling passengers.

You can even connect the Energizing Comfort system with a Garmin wearable device to let it identify things like stress levels and quality of sleep, and thus more accurately determine the right comfort profile to cater to your needs.

The artificial intelligence functions don’t stop there - indeed, the onboard systems have plenty to learn about you to more perfectly serve your needs. “For instance,” Merc explains, “anyone who often phones their mother on Tuesdays during their commute home will receive her contact as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week on their way home.”

Augmented reality also comes into play for the nav system, with stuff like directional arrows and house numbers laid out onto the multimedia display image. Advanced Voice Control is on hand (so to speak) to keep your attention on the road, with activation achieved by uttering the phrase “Hey Mercedes.”

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Running it all is Mercedes’ latest infotainment gear, which now includes a new menu control design scheme as well.

Passengers and drivers alike will enjoy the much larger screens, which include a pair of 12.3-inch horizontal displays with high-resolution graphics as standard. We’ve seen this widescreen layout before elsewhere in Mercedes’ lineup, and we think it looks pretty good.

The screens provide a good deal of flexibility, defaulting as an Instrument Cluster Display and multimedia display. There are four unique display styles in total, and include Classic, Sport turbine, Progressive, and Understated.

Complementing the horizontal screens is a full-color heads-up display, which offers resolution set at 720 by 240 pixels. Offered as an available option, the heads-up display projects relevant information onto the windscreen just outside the driver’s field of view. The physical display area is measured at 17.8 inches by 5.9 inches, which is a good deal larger than it was before. In addition to looking pretty cool, the heads-up display is useful for navigation purposes, audio info, phone call info, and more, including off-roader info such as vehicle inclination, torque distribution, acceleration forces, and the like.

Mercedes also tossed in the latest MBUX Interior assistant, which comes with as many as 40 new MBUX functions. For example, there’s a new off-road driving mode offering both free-driving and individual wheel actuation, plus a full-screen map display that extends into the instruments.

Taking a page from the book of BMW, Mercedes saw fit to develop the GLE with its latest gesture control system, which uses an overhead camera to monitor passengers (both those seated in front and in back) for specific hand and arm motions. For example, you can activate the reading lamp by extending your hand towards the rearview mirror. The system is smart, and can even identify which passenger is seated where, adjusting the preferences and specs accordingly.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Drivetrain And Performance

- * Two turbocharged engines: 2.0-liter ‘four, 3.0-liter ‘six
- * Between 255 and 362 horsepower
- * 48-volt mild hybrid system
- * 4Matic AWD
- * Nine-speed automatic transmission
- * Adaptive suspension bits

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Drivetrain
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While updating the aesthetics and tech are definitely both important factors of the new GLE, Merc also gave it some fresh engine offerings.

Heading the list is a new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, which can be found under the hood of the GLE 350 and GLE 350 4Matic.

Maximum output from this lump comes to 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque,

Up next is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, which is offered in the GLE 450 4Matic. Standout features include Mercedes’ EQ Boost mild hybrid 48-volt technology, with peak output rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

This engine also comes with an Integrated-Starter Generator, which takes up functions for the EQ Boost system with energy recuperation, pumping up the fuel savings as a result. The Integrated-Starter Generator means the engine doesn’t need a belt drive to juice the ancillary components, which helps make the engine more compact and reduces overall engine wear too. Components like the the A/C compressor and water pump all benefit from the 48-volt system.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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On to the drivetrain components putting that power to the ground, the GLE is offered with Mercedes’ latest 4Matic AWD system, which the brand designed for superior grip both on and off the road.

Indeed, Mercedes contends that with 4Matic, the GLE can conquer the great outdoors, then comfortably transport you and yours to the mall without a second thought.

This latest iteration of the 4Matic system includes a fully variable torque split, which is a first for the GLE. Look for this feature on six-cylinder models, which also come equipped with an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch that’ll vary the torque split front to back from 0 to 100 percent.

Meanwhile, four-cylinder GLE’s use a traditional transfer case, which gives a 50:50 torque split front to back, plus a braking mechanism that steps in to reduce wheel spin.

All GLE model variants come with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.

New for the 2020 model year is the inclusion of Merc’s latest E-Active Body Control system.

Essentially, this is a 48-volt support system for the active suspension bits, something Merc is touting as a “world first.” Only offered on models which come equipped with the mild-hybrid the 48-volt system, E-Active Body Control uses self-adjusting hydropneumatic dampers, also known as Airmatic air suspension in the Mercedes world. The system offers individual control over spring and damping rates at each of the four wheels, and works to minimize body roll, squat, and pitch, making for a more comfortable, controllable ride. For example, the GLE will “lean” into a corner and respond to undulations in the road prior to driving over them.

There are steel suspension bits as well, and Mercedes is offering a new Adaptive Damping System Plus system as well.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Prices

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The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE will make its grand public showing this coming October at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

U.S.-bound models will be produced in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, then sold to the U.S. market in 2019.

Official pricing is expected closer to the GLE’s on-sale date, but we expect it to slot in at roughly the same spot as the preceding model, which currently starts $52,200.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Competition

BMW X5

2019 BMW X5
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When it comes to rivals, the Mercedes-Benz GLE’s primary competition comes from Germany, starting with the BMW X5. Recently redesigned for the 2019 model year, the X5 is offered in four trim levels, all of which come standard with a 12.3-inch infotainment display, heads-up display, and a whole lot more on the tech front. Motivation is provided by either a six-cylinder or eight-cylinder powerplant, with as much as 462 horsepower and 479 pound-feet created in the 50i trim. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends the power through a standard xDrive AWD system. Pricing starts at $60,700.

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X5.

Audi Q7

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Audi provides another solid choice in this segment thanks to its popular Q7. The latest Q7 is much less of a pavement pounder than the preceding model, dropping as much as 716 pounds thanks to the inclusion of copious lightweight materials. Inside is an updated cabin, which includes a horizontal layout with strips of trim reaching from door to door. Tons of high-end materials are on hand in here, including Alcantara, aluminum, and wood. Under the hood, the Q7 comes equipped with a variety of four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, with the top-spec going to a 3.0-liter ‘six making 333 horses and 325 pound-feet of torque. If you’re looking for even more power (and happen to live overseas), Audi is also offering a plug-in hybrid model, which combines a 3.0-liter diesel engine with a 94-kWh electric motor to make as much as 373 horsepower and a stout 516 pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the 2017 - 2018 Audi Q7.

Final Thoughts

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The mid-size luxury SUV segment is as hot as ever, achieving record high sales numbers with astonishing regularity. However, despite the huge demand and popularity, manufacturers must still bring their A-game, as the number of choices in this space is ballooning almost as quickly.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE certainly seems to play the part well, offering customers exactly what they want in this segment - more space, more rugged good looks, the very latest technology stuff, and no shortage of comfort and luxury features.

Some of it is a bit gimmicky (for example, the jury is still out on how much the 48-volt mild-hybrid system really helps the GLE’s efficiency), but buyers will no doubt find it attractive all the same. All told, this one is looking like another hit for Mercedes-Benz.

  • Leave it
    • Will anyone ever really take this thing off-roading?
    • Plenty of competition out there
    • 48-volt system seems a little gimmicky

Further Reading

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

Spy Shots

7-12-2018 - Mercedes-GLE Caught in Parking Lot With Almost No Camo

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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The pictures you see above were shared on Bimmer Post by user advantage20 and depict the GLE in production-ready form, including the official front bumper with large corner intakes and an almost uncamouflaged rear end. With this in mind, expect the revised GLE to show its face in the very new future.

March 14, 2017 - Mercedes GLE caught testing with new front fascia

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior Spyshots
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September 6, 2016 - Mercedes GLE caught testing once again

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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July 5, 2016 - First testing session

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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior Update: 3/14/2017

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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This time around, the GLE is sporting what could be the production front fascia with a long rectangular vent below the grille and a new air dam down below. The corner air inlets look like they may have been moved farther outside than before, and this mule looks to be sporting a near-production grille minus the big Mercedes emblem in the middle. The emblem will likely be the same size as that of the current model, but the dual slats in the grille may end up being a little bit larger. The other big news up front come in the form of new headlight units. They are partially covered, but we can make out dual LED DRL strips. One runs along the top edge of the headlight lens while the second runs from the upper, outer corner and curves downward in between the two headlight bulbs. It’s a truly unique layout. Padding was also dropped from the hood, which allows us to see the silhouette of a single line on each side of the hood. There are no other changes to the exterior that we can make out, but we do get a look at the interior, so keep scrolling down to learn more about that.

Interior Update: 3/14/2017

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior Spyshots
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We’re getting a first look at the interior of the GLE, and it looks like there’s a lot of change in store compared to the current model. The dash is mostly covered, but it looks like it will sit a little taller than before. The floating infotainment display looks to be replaced by an in-dash unit that will be recessed into the center stack. The vents that were on either side of the infotainment display will be a thing of the past and are replaced by four rectangular units between the infotainment display and the HVAC controls down below. IF the display ahead of the steering wheel is official, then the GLE should be getting or be available with an all-digital instrument cluster. The rim of the steering wheel is a bit thicker, but still has the perforated areas at 3 and 9 o’clock. The hub of the wheel is a bit larger, and the spokes have been redesigned.

More big news comes into play down below with a completely redesigned center console. It not slots up underneath the dash and is no longer connected, giving the dash more of a floating appearance. It will still have that weird, mouse-like controller for the infotainment display, but the center console now gets a set of handles right in the middle. It’s an interesting look, but it almost seems counterintuitive as it could make accessing the controls on the center console a little uncomfortable. The armrest/ storage cubby door now sits almost level with the rest of the center console, which indicates that the seats may now sit a little higher – an adequate change if the dash is, indeed, a bit taller. It’s not much to go on for now, but it’s the first glimpse we’ve seen, and it does tell us that big changes are coming when the revised GLE does finally break cover in late 2017 or early 2018.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has a wealth of innovations. For example, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL is a 48-volt active suspension system and a world first, while the driver assistance systems take another step forward with Active Stop-and-Go Assist. The interior is even more spacious and comfortable, with a third seat row available on request. The infotainment system has larger screens, a full-color head-up display with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and the new MBUX Interior Assistant, which can recognize hand and arm movements and supports operating intentions. The exterior design not only exudes presence and power, but also sets a new standard for aerodynamics in the SUV segment. The GLE will receive a new range of engines and the new 4MATIC system ensures great agility on the road and superior performance off the beaten track. The new Mercedes- Benz GLE will celebrate its World Premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October 2018 and will go on sale in the U.S. in 2019.

"The new GLE is not only more comfortable than ever before on the road, but also shows its superior off-road character off the beaten track. This alone shows our determination to reinforce our claim to leadership in the SUV segment," says Ola Källenius, responsible for corporate research at Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars development. "Significantly more space in the interior, the new control concept, considerably extended and refined driver assistance systems, the best aerodynamics in the segment, a completely new range of engines and numerous other innovations emphatically underline this."

"The GLE exhibits iconic Mercedes-Benz design while remaining true to its character as an off-roader," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "With its design idiom it perfectly embodies our design philosophy of sensual purity, thus representing modern luxury. The interior derives its fascination from the contrast between the luxurious and elegant design and the digital high-tech of our MBUX system."

In 1997 Mercedes-Benz founded the premium SUV segment with the launch of the M-Class. Since fall of 2015 the model family has borne the name GLE, emphasizing its positioning as an SUV in the E-Class model family. At present Mercedes-Benz is highly successfully represented with seven models in the SUV segment (GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS, and G-Class). The new Mercedes-Benz GLE will be presented to the public for the first time at the Mondial de l’Automobil in Paris in October 2018. The GLE is produced in Tuscaloosa (Alabama/USA), and will go on sale in the U.S. in 2019.

The five most important innovations in the new GLE:

E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL: Fully networked hydropneumatic, active suspension on a 48-volt platform, for the first time in combination with a newly-developed air suspension. This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitch and squat.
Active Stop-and-Go Assist: This driver assistance system enables the GLE to recognize traffic jams at an early stage, actively supporting the driver in stop-and-go traffic up to approximately 37 mph.
Turn-off function of Active Brake Assist: activation of Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Assist when turning across the opposite lane. If there is a risk of collision when turning across the path of oncoming vehicles, the vehicle will be braked when traveling at low speeds.
Fully-variable 4MATIC®: Available for the first time on the GLE, fully variable all-wheel drive controls the torque distribution between the front and rear axle from 0-100% depending on the selected driving mode.
Seating comfort: The new GLE has a much longer wheelbase (+3.1 inches / 80 mm), with corresponding interior spaciousness. Comfort is particularly enhanced by the fully adjustable second seat row, and a third seat row is also available as an option.
Exterior design: powerful presence

The aesthetic appeal of the GLE is based on the harmonious interaction between emotion and intelligence. This is characterized by timeless beauty, a combination of high-grade technology and craftsmanship and a focus on what is really important.

The design of the new GLE is defined by modern luxury both on and off the road. The vehicle’s proportions with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and large, flush-fitted wheels already leave no doubt that it can handle any terrain. The GLE follows the design strategy of sensual purity, and dispenses with individual edges in favor of generously modelled surfaces. The surfaces interact with precise graphic elements.

The front section of the GLE exudes presence and power: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated underguard and the hood with two power domes. This striking appearance is emphasized by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night.

The ULTRA Wide Beam of the LED Intelligent Light System produces the maximum light intensity permitted by law.

Viewed from the side, the wide C-pillar, typical of the GLE, conveys self- assured stability. The large wheels in sizes from 19 to 22 inches are housed in wheel arches with prominent liners. This underlines the GLE’s robust SUV character, as do the pillared roof rails and the optional Illuminated Running Boards. The chrome surrounds of the windows are reminiscent of a premium sedan.

The GLE also cuts an athletic figure from the rear. This is emphasized by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the C-pillar to the rear lights. The reflectors are relocated lower than before, giving the rear lights a more flattering appearance. They are also in two sections. This not only gives an impression of width, but also creates an unmistakable night design with illuminated blocks typical of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, in this case with backlit edge lighting. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated underguard.

Aerodynamics: detailed fine-tuning for the best Cd figure in this class

The new GLE has a Cd figure from 0.29, the best in its segment. This is also a significant improvement over the preceding model (Cd 0.32). The excellent aerodynamic properties make a key contribution to low fuel consumption in everyday conditions. A host of details were optimized with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.

The measures taken include:

Cooling air control system behind the radiator grille for need-related metering of the airflow (AIRPANEL)
Wheel spoilers with aerodynamically optimized moldings ahead of the front wheels
Additional wheel spoilers ahead of the rear wheels
Side spoilers with D-pillar seal on the tailgate
Rear lights with special spoiler lips
Large area of underbody and propshaft tunnel paneling, flush fuel tank cladding, aerodynamic cladding on the rear axle, aerodynamically optimized diffuser lining.
Aero-wheels with aerodynamically optimized tires.
Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive

The interior of the new GLE derives its fascination from the contrast between the luxurious, elegant ambience of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan and the
robust, progressive features of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard’s design is a sporty, stylish cockpit unit embedded in a striking dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element also extends around the driver and front passenger to meet the doors.

The prominent, raised center console creates a robust contrast with the free- floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the center console. Apart from comfort and ergonomics, flowing surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting roller blinds. All the controls and displays are enhanced by the new design. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block. Very fine chiseling shows the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new sport steering wheel with its striking, sculptured spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV’s interior.

Interior: more space in the rear and an optional third row seat

A size larger: the new GLE has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (117.9 inches, +3.1 inches). This creates significantly more space, especially for passengers in the rear. Legroom in the second seat row has increased by 2.7 inches to 41.1 inches. Headroom in the rear with the standard, fixed rear seat unit and 40:20:40 backrest division has increased by 1.3 inches to 40.4 inches. And because the A-pillar is more upright than before, spaciousness and entry comfort in the first row has been further improved.

On request, and as a world first in the SUV segment, a second seat row with six fully electric adjustments is available. The right and left seats can be separately adjusted fore-and-aft by up to 3.9 inches, the backrests are adjustable for angle and foldable in a 40:20:40 ratio, and the head restraints are adjustable for height. In typical Mercedes fashion, the rear seat adjustments are controlled by a switch in the door panel. The backrest can also be completely folded down electronically, using a switch in the luggage compartment.

Useful holders and protective elements have been specially developed as accessories for practical stowage of recreational equipment in the interior. In conjunction with the AIRMATIC air suspension, the vehicle’s rear can be lowered by around 1.6 inches using a switch, for easier loading and unloading.

Even more flexibility is possible with the optional, folding third seat row, which provides two extra seats. Thanks to the EASY-ENTRY® function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can conveniently reach their seats.

Seat kinetics is another innovation available for the front seats in conjunction with fully-electric seat adjustment with memory function. Seat kinetics supports changes in the seating posture by means of minute movements of the seat cushion and backrest.

ENERGIZING Comfort: now with a guide

The optionally available ENERGIZING Comfort system networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massage modes for a wide range of feel-good programs.

The ENERGIZING COACH is a new feature. This function, based on an intelligent algorithm, recommends one of the programs depending on the situation and individual. If a Garmin® wearable is worn, personal values such as stress level or quality of sleep optimize the accuracy of the recommendation. The aim is for passengers to feel well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.

MBUX: now with an intelligent interior assistant

The GLE is equipped with the latest generation of the multimedia system MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience. The revolutionary system includes two large 12.3” screens as standard, which are arranged in-line with each other for an impressive widescreen look. The information of the Instrument Cluster Display and the multimedia display is easily legible on the large, high- resolution screens. Showcasing elements in an emotionally appealing manner underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure and impresses with brilliant graphics.

Depending on mood or to suit the chosen interior, the user has a choice of four different styles:

Classic is a further development of the classic display style in an elegant and light material mix.
Sport has a high-tech turbine look with decidedly sporty black/yellow contrasts.
Progressive presents digitalism in reduced form.
In the Understated (Discreet) style, all displays are reduced to only what is absolutely necessary.
The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive, natural operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver’s and front passenger’s hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the Touchpad on the center console, the media display changes and individual, elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the driver’s hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows which seat the massage function is to be activated on, for example.

In addition, there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the rearview mirror, for example. The driver and front passenger can both program a personal, favorite function which is initiated using a horizontally outstretched index and middle finger

General operation of the multimedia system has been improved in numerous respects. For example, the settings menus are in a new design and the initial setup assistant has been improved. The 40 or so new MBUX functions in the GLE include, for example:

Support for off-road specific driving modes (free-driving mode and individual wheel actuation)
Extended off-road displays in the instrument cluster display and Head- Up Display (linear and lateral inclination, Torque on Demand, suspension level)
The setting for the full-screen map in the instrument cluster can be changed directly there
ENERGIZING COACH
Automatic driver’s seat adjustment: if the body size is entered, the seat automatically moves to a usually suitable position
A unique feature of MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next. For instance, anyone who often phones their mother on Tuesdays during their commute home will receive her contact as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week on their way home. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.

Other strengths include touchscreen control of the multimedia display as standard, and the use of augmented reality technology for the navigation display: a video image of the surroundings is enhanced with helpful navigation information, for example directional arrows or house numbers are automatically superimposed directly onto the image in the multimedia display. This makes it easier for the driver to search for a certain house number, or to find the correct road for a next turn. The intelligent Voice Control has also been improved with Natural Langauge Understanding, and is activated by the keyword "Hey Mercedes."

The optional Head-Up Display with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and extended projection distance also sets new standards. Important information is projected into the windscreen, reducing distraction from the traffic situation. There is also less eye fatigue for the driver, as the eyes do not constantly have to refocus between close-up and long-distance vision. A system of lenses and mirrors projects a full-color image measuring around 17.8 x 5.9 inches (45 x 15 centimeters) into the windscreen. To the driver it appears to float above the hood at a distance of around 10 feet. Now more than twice the size, the virtual image is 20 percent brighter for better legibility in bright conditions and has space for further information about the current audio source, the current phone call and the reception and battery status of the connected phone. In addition it shows the arrival time and distance to destination if route guidance is active. The driver is able to select the information considered relevant, including additional off-road content such as vehicle inclination, torque distribution and acceleration forces.

Powertrains for the new GLE

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE will be launched with a variety of engine offerings for the U.S., including a 2.0L Inline-4 turbo engine for the GLE 350 and GLE 350 4MATIC that produces 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The new 3.0L inline six-cylinder turbo engine with EQ Boost in the GLE 450 4MATIC produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and is systematically electrified with 48-volt technology. The Integrated-Starter Generator (ISG) is responsible for functions such as EQ Boost and energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.

ISG eliminates the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length as well as reduces the wear parts of the engine. The slim design, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for near-engine exhaust after treatment. The 48- volt on-board power supply serves not only high power consumers such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor, but also the Integrated-Starter Generator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.

4MATIC all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off-road

In all variants of the new GLE, power is transmitted by a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. With the four-cylinder engine in the new GLE 350, 4MATIC all-wheel drive is realized with a transfer case which transmits the drive torque to the axles in a fixed ratio of 50:50 percent. Spinning wheels are addressed by braking intervention at the relevant wheel.

A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch is used for the other engines, including the GLE 450. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100% (torque on demand) between the axles.

Also when driving on the road, and particularly when cornering, the two fully networked transfer cases with torque on demand allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer.

Driver assistance systems: superior support in traffic jams

The new GLE marks the debut of the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The level of active safety has not only been improved further compared to the preceding model, as some Intelligent Drive functions are also unrivalled beyond the SUV segment.

High-mileage drivers aren’t the only ones familiar with this tricky situation on highways: on rounding a bend, the end of a traffic jam suddenly appears. This is where the new GLE assists the driver, as traffic management on highways now already begins in advance, including assistance in stop-and-go traffic and after the traffic has dissolved.

This is because when Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC®, working with Route-Based Speed Adaptation, is activated, the new GLE is able to recognize and respond to traffic jams or slow-moving traffic with the help of information from LiveTraffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. When a traffic jam is recognized (and if the driver does not choose a different response), Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 60 mph as a precaution. This gives Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Funtion the ability to brake the vehicle to a standstill in good time when the end of a traffic jam is recognized.

When actually driving in traffic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist can markedly reduce the driver’s workload: where there are lane markings, the system is substantially able to perform the tasks of keeping in lane and maintaining a safe distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 37 mph. Moving again after being stopped can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop.

Once the traffic jam dissolves, the GLE will accelerate back up to the speed preset for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC®. If the driver has not set a specific speed, then this will be the recommended highway speed.

To recognize traffic jams, Active Stop-and-Go Assist evaluates the road category, speed, and distances from vehicles travelling ahead and in adjacent lanes. In addition to the stereo multipurpose camera (SMPC) and long-range radar, it uses the front multi-mode corner radar sensors to recognize vehicles that are cutting in. If Active Steering Assist and Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC are activated, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is switched on automatically when highway traffic is recognized. This is indicated by "Stop- and-Go Assist active" in the instrument cluster. As soon as Active Stop-and-Go Assist is active and the vehicle is moving in traffic, a traffic jam symbol is added to the "green steering wheel" symbol of Active Steering Assist in the instrument cluster.

Always ready to help: numerous other assistants are available

It is not only by giving driver support in traffic that the new GLE further expands Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive and takes another major step towards autonomous driving. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC® and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and properly steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of bends or junctions by Route-Based Speed Adaptation. This is complemented by Evasive Steering Assist, a considerably improved Active Lane Keeping Assist and also the additional functions of the Active Emergency Stop Assist.

The turning function of Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function is completely new: If there is a danger of a collision with oncoming traffic when turning, the GLE can be braked at the speeds typical of such maneuvers.

Braking intervention takes place if the driver signals the intention to turn (indicators) and the vehicle can be braked to a stop before crossing the lane marking. Oncoming vehicles are recognized by the front long-range radar sensor and the stereo multipurpose camera.

In addition, the new GLE is equipped with Active Blind Spot Assist with an added Exit Warning Assist. This function can lower the risk of a collision with other road users, such passing cyclists. Active Blind Spot Assist monitors the blind spot when at standstill, and can warn the driver of approaching vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles when opening the door. This function is active for up to three minutes after switching off the engine. The warning appears in the exterior mirrors and is given audibly via the instrument cluster.

E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL: the 48V suspension

Even better ride comfort and agility plus completely new functions such as free-driving mode are provided by the optional E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which is now combined with the newly developed AIRMATIC air suspension. This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat. Together with Road Surface Scan and the curve inclination function, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL is the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension and makes an extraordinary level of comfort possible.

E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL, developed in-house by Mercedes-Benz, has a 48V operating voltage and is optionally available for engine variants with the 48V system. On poor road surfaces, the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared to the preceding system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.

Free-driving mode is a completely new off-road function: if the GLE has become bogged down in a sand dune, for example, this can help to free the vehicle more easily. If possible the suspension level is quickly and automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improves traction – the GLE then rocks itself free.

Individual wheel actuation is another new function for off-road driving. This allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the multimedia display, thus improving the vehicle’s attitude on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted.

E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL in the GLE also has the curve inclination function. Like a motorcycle, the GLE leans into bends and thereby allows cornering in three stages with practically no centrifugal force. If the GLE is equipped with a stereo multipurpose camera, Road Surface Scan becomes possible where a camera continuously scans the road surface, and the suspension responds in advance to any undulations before the vehicle drives over them.

In addition to E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL, a newly developed steel suspension and a newly developed AIRMATIC suspension with the Adaptive Damping System Plus (ADS+) are available.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE will celebrate its World Premiere at Mondial l’Automobile in Paris in October 2018 and will go on sale in the U.S. in 2019.

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