Mercedes-Benz GLE (2019-) details, specifications, prices

PROS

  • Packed with cutting-edge kit and MBUX
  • EQ mild hybrid system available from launch
  • Promises to be more comfortable than before

CONS

  • Like the old one, it's hardly a looker
  • Won't be cheap, long options list
  • You'll have to wait until 2019…

Second-generation GLE gets an impressive amount of technology, but doesn’t lose its off-road DNA

The wraps have come off the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV, and as you'd expect, it combines the company's strangely conservative stying with cutting edge driver and interior tech. It's an all-new car, and first deliveries will be coming to the UK early in 2019.

It will face the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Range Rover Sport in a very competitively-fought market sector – but Mercedes-Benz says that its new seven-seater SUV will feature two innovations that will distance itself from rival offerings. 

The first is a more advanced version of the Magic Body Control suspension system as found on the S-Class, while the plug-in hybrid version is a significant development of the existing Mercedes-Benz set-up, that should offer a vastly-improved battery-only range.

Conservative styling – all-new engineering

Mercedes-Benz GLE (front)

The all-new body carries over design elements from the original Mercedes-Benz GLE, but it's a whole lot rounder than before, with smoother surfacing and improved aerodynamics. 

There are still all the SUV features that buyers know and love: so it gets thick black body cladding and silver partitions in the grille. The latter design element brings it in line with the rest of the GL model range.

Side steps and (fake) sporty exhausts complete the look further around, ensuring that there's as much 'Sport' as there is 'Utility' in this premium SUV.

Mercedes-Benz GLE interior and tech

Mercedes-Benz GLE (interior)

Expect the GLE to be available with all of the impressive kit you'll find in the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range. So that means Distronic adaptive cruise, active stop-and-go assistant, and active brake assistant that recognises if traffic is turning off your lane.

The impressive MBUX system is incorporated into the GLE. With it comes its natural voice assistant, configurable displays and wide infotainment screens. The GLE will also feature off-road controls built into it. The ‘Energising Comfort’ system, as launched in the CLS makes its way to the GLE, too.

If you've been following Mercedes-Benz's most recent products, then nothing else here will come as a surprise. The latest corporate steering wheel with in-built touch controls, and the pair of large MBUX screens will be very familiar indeed. The centre console incorporates a large storage area and a haptic touchpad for controlling the infotainment system.

Mercedes-Benz GLE engines and performance

From launch, Mercedes-Benz has released details of but a single GLE engine variant, but expect the range to expand rapidly. So, the launch model is the GLE 450, which combines Mercedes-Benz's latest straight-six petrol engine with a mild hybrid system called ‘EQ Boost’.

It delivers 367hp and 499Nm of torque from the engine alone, but the EQ boost hybrid system can, for short periods, add 22hp and 249Nm for improved acceleration.

That means, temporarily, up to 389hp and 748Nm are on offer. Mercedes-Benz has yet to confirm performance stats for the GLE 450, but says that economy and emissions figures are up to 28.4mpg and around 220g/km in WLTP testing.

Mercedes has also promised four-cylinder diesels and a plug-in hybrid version like the outgoing GLE 500e. All engine variants will use a nine-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive.

Anything else we need to know?

The ‘E-Active Body Control’ system will be offered as an option on the six-cylinder cars. It uses a 48-volt anti-roll system combined with air suspension, meaning it should stay reasonably flat in corners.

The active suspension system can even be used to rock the car free if it gets stuck in mud or sand dunes.

Mercedes-Benz will announce full price and engine details nearer its launch in early 2019, but we're expecting an entry price of around £65,000, and decent PCP and leasing options.

Stay tuned to find out more about the Mercedes-Benz GLE in the upcoming Parkers full review

Mercedes-Benz GLE (rear)