UPDATE: Get driving impressions in our 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE First Look article
  • GLE 350 and 450 trim levels offered
  • New 362-horsepower inline six
  • Set to go on sale next spring
  • Current GLE priced from $53,195


The wraps have come off the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE ahead of its official debut at the Paris Motor Show. Mercedes’ midsize SUV not only sports a new exterior design, but also includes technical innovations like the first active suspension supported by a 48-volt electrical system.

The redesigned SUV will be offered in GLE 350 rear- and all-wheel drive versions powered by a 255-horsepower 4-cylinder turbo making 274 lb-ft of torque and in GLE 450 all-wheel drive with a 3.0-liter inline six making 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. All models are equipped with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

"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."

Larger footprint

The all-new GLE, which is descended from the original M-Class introduced in 1997, now rides on a 117.9-inch wheelbase, 3.1 inches more than the previous model. The extra length now allows for optional third row seating.  The 2020 GLE measures 194.3 inches overall, stands 70.7 inches tall and 76.7 inches wide (without mirrors).

The exterior features a blend of flowing surfaces and sharp character lines. The new grille design features “wings” above and below the large three-pointed star logo in the center. Styling cues alluding the off-road capability of the GLE is seen in the front fascia, which is influenced by a lower skid plate look, low rocker panels and black wheel well arches. The rounded rear treatment is finished off with a chrome underguard treatment. The muscular look of the new GLE is accentuated by wheel packages that range in size from 19 to 22 inches in diameter.

The interior is also completely redesigned and incorporates two 12.3-inch main screens including a center infotainment display and the main instrument readout in front of the driver. There’s also a new generation steering wheel with touch control buttons incorporated into the surface. The interior is also equipped with 64-color ambient lighting.

New features

Among the new features on the GLE is a hydropneumatics active suspension controlled by a new 48-volt architecture. The air suspension actively controls both spring and damping at each individual wheel for the first time. This setup can control body roll as well as pitch and squat motions from acceleration and braking.

A new driver-assist called Active Stop and Go can recognize traffic jams early and control the vehicle in stop-and-go traffic in speeds up to 37 mph. The Active Brake Assist, which can stop a vehicle when an oncoming vehicle is detected now has a Cross Traffic mode that will function when the vehicle is turning across a lane of oncoming traffic, allowing the vehicle to be braked when travelling at low speeds.

Mercedes has also upgraded its 4Matic all-wheel drive system to distribute all available torque to either axle up to 100 percent. The 2020 Mercedes GLE 350 and 450 4Matic models will go on sale first next spring, followed in the summer by the rear-drive only GLE 350. Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s launch. The current Mercedes-Benz GLE is priced from $53,195.

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