The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE has come a long way from the original M-Class.
Mercedes-Benz has finally overhauled its midsize SUV after eight years in its current generation. While the GLE-Class is still a fairly new moniker to the brand, the car existed before as the M-Class. The original first debuted in the second Jurassic Park movie, and went through three generations before Mercedes renamed it the GLE in 2015. Now, after 20 years in production – all of them in Alabama – the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE moves into its fourth generation.
At first glance, it’s immediately clear the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE has been rounded off at all corners. Its upright grille with the huge three-pointed star mimics the larger GLS-Class. The rounding off helps the car achieve a 15 percent improvement in aerodynamic drag, which ought to help fuel economy. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t yet disclosed MPG figures, but those should emerge closer to the car’s on-sale date in 2019.
New engines and performance figures
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE lineup kicks off with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine, as is fashionable with modern crossovers. The GLE 350 model puts out 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Step up to the GLE 450 4MATIC model, and you get a new 3.0-liter inline-six with 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Add to that EQ Boost with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, and fuel economy should be better than the old 3.0-liter V6. All 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE models use a 9-speed automatic transmission.
4MATIC all-wheel drive models use a transfer case with a transfer case hooked to an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch. That allows the car to work out how to transfer torque – up to 100 percent to either the front or rear axle. With the clutch fully engaged, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE splits torque 50:50 and uses the brakes to stop wheel slip – standard procedure for crossovers that allow for a bit more security.
More tech than ever
Alongside its passenger car stablemates, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE comes backed with driver assistance technology. In addition to two 12.3-inch screens as standard equipment, the GLE also features MBUX – Mercedes’ new infotainment system which uses movement recognition such as hand gestures to control various features within the car, like the massaging seats.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE comes with Active Stop-and-Go Assist as part of the adaptive cruise control system. You also get Active Steering Assist and Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic function – all the systems you’d expect to help you out in a modern crossover.
An optional system in the new GLE is the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL system, which uses the electronically-controlled dampers to flatten itself in the corners, or even use the system to raise and lower the car to rock itself free if you get stuck off-road. Not that you’ll be taking an expensive crossover off-road often.
On the subject, Mercedes-Benz has not released pricing for the 2020 GLE. However, we should know more when the car makes its world premiere in Paris. Mercedes will officially launch the car at the Paris Auto Show in October, and the GLE will go on sale in 2019.
We’ll be testing the new GLE later this year, so stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more Mercedes news, views and real-world reviews.