The new Mercedes GLE for 2019 will shortly be unveiled in the flesh at the 2018 Paris Motor Show that kicked off yesterday. It’s set to come equipped with fresh weaponry to battle against fierce rivals including the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90, and we’ve rounded up the new GLE’s key features, differences and changes for our leasing customers.
To bring it in line with many other members of Mercedes’ vast range, the new GLE has been subject to the brand’s latest design language, plus a technology overhaul. On the outside, the new car retains the classic GLE design impression overall, but has slightly larger dimensions, sharper ULTRA RANGE headlights and new, razor-edged taillights. In contrast, the new body lines are the opposite – softer and more rounded than before, essentially facelift-esque changes just enough to give the car a more cohesive look.
Perhaps the most notable change to the new model is the interior design. Like with all other new Mercedes, the new GLE’s interior is characterised by two large sweeping infotainment screens, 12.3 inch each, which replace the old single central screen.
Much of the hard plastics found in the outgoing model have been replaced with much posher-looking wood, with significantly more leather and soft-touch materials throughout the interior.
The center console features far fewer buttons, with much of the functionality now controlled through Mercedes’ new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, with four smaller air vents in their place.
In tandem with the new MBUX come more interior features such as Mercedes’ ENERGIZING comfort control technology, which networks the car’s comfort systems such as the climate control, seat heating, massage program, audio system, fragrances and ambient lighting, allowing the driver to select one of the different programs which sets these comfort systems accordingly.
Interior Assist is a cost option for MBUX and uses movement recognition with an overhead camera to register the arms and hands of the driver and front passenger. This allows the screen to change and display the individual options and elements to be highlighted on the screen for each front passenger by cleverly distinguishing the driver’s hands from the passenger’s.
Mercedes says that the new GLE SUV/4×4 has significantly more passenger space thanks to the stretched wheelbase (80mm longer), with fully electrically-adjustable rear seats for added comfort – and those who want a 7-seater can have just that, with a third row of seats available as an option.
The luggage capacity at 825 litres behind the rear seats can be increased to 2,055 litres with them down. The car’s tailgate can also be lowered by around 40mm for ease of loading with Mercedes’ AIRMATIC suspension.
Engines, gearboxes and tech
The new Mercedes GLE for 2019 will be offered with a choice of two engines from launch. The GLE 450 4MATIC gets a powerful 3-litre, 6-cylinder turbo with 367bhp and 500Nm, paired with Mercedes’ 48-volt mild hybrid technology for a claimed 34mpg and 190g/km CO2, output bolstered by a further 22hp and 250Nm by the system’s EQ Boost over short periods. Those after a more frugal powertrain can opt for the GLE 300d with an economical 2-litre, 4 cylinder diesel, details of which are still to come. More engines and bodystyles are expected in due course, with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), more diesel engines and the GLE Coupe on the way.
Six cylinder models can option the 48V E-ACTIVE suspension which individually alters spring and damping force at all four wheels, counteracting body roll and squat, but more importantly allowing for high levels of comfort.
Other technologies found in the new Mercedes GLE include Active Tailback Assist, helping drivers in stop-and-go traffic up to speeds of 37 mph (automatically performing tasks such as lane-keeping, moving off and keeping a safe distance), and a ‘Turn-off’ function of the existing active brake assist. This system allows the car to be braked during low speed maneuvers such as turning off across a carriageway, in order to prevent a collision.
Six cylinder models and above (including the eventual PHEV) will be available with 4MATIC torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive (AWD) and the optional off-road package will boast a fully-variable setup with low and high ranges, making it the most capable Mercedes M-Class/GLE ever on the rough stuff.
We’ll update our blog with ‘in the flesh’ images from the Paris Motor Show when they become available, and the new Mercedes GLE is expected to go on sale soon with deliveries starting in early 2019, with pricing starting from around £55,000 and available only as an AMG Line model in the UK. We expect it to prove as popular as the current model when it comes to leasing, across both business and personal contract hire (PCH).