While the three-row capable 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE will make its official debut at the Paris show next month, the automaker has quietly released copious photographs and all of the information surrounding the SUV today. Not the most exciting-looking thing in the world, but it’ll sell like hotcakes.
Mercedes has made serious changes in the new GLE, which they say have made it more comfortable for road-going situations. It also touts the GLE’s off-road prowess, but it is unlikely to ever be used for such activities.
Mercedes has given the GLE a 3.1 inch longer wheelbase to accommodate a larger interior and optional third row seating. The larger cabin makes for a larger and allegedly more comfortable model than before.
Also contributing to driver comfort is the new E-Active Body Control, which incorporates a networked hydropneumatic active suspension. Using a 48-volt control system, Mercedes claims to have the only system in the market with spring and damping forces controlled at each wheel, allowing for control of body roll, but also squat and pitch. It can also scan the road ahead for undulations and imperfections, allowing the suspension to respond in advance to help mute the bump.
An interesting bit about of that technology, Mercedes says the E-Active Body Control is instrumental for removing a GLE that has been bogged down in sand. “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.”
For the first time this model receives Fully-variable 4MATIC, allowing the torque of the engine to be distributed from 0-100% between the front and rear axles, depending on the selected driving mode. Also new is Active Stop-and-Go Assist, which actively controls the throttle and brake in bumper-to-bumper traffic up to 37 mph.
“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 fourth-generation car’s new design features a coefficient of drag as low as 0.29, which is down significantly from the current model’s 0.32 number, and also makes it class-leading aerodynamically speaking. Mercedes have accomplished this with an active airflow grille, wheel spoilers, an aero full-body undertray, and “aerodynamically optimized tires” for starters. From an aesthetic point of view, the new car looks a bit more rounded off at the edges, and the hood line appears less aggressive.
As for available powertrain options, the new GLE will be launched with a 255 horsepower 2.0-liter inline-four turbo for the GLE 350, while GLE 450 models will receive the 362 HP 3.0L inline-six turbo with EQ Boost 48V hybrid electrification. In all variants, the GLE makes use of Mercedes 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission.
The car will debut next month in Paris, and will be on sale here in the U.S. next spring. Pricing will be announced at a later date.