One of the first available options in the premium large SUV segment from way back in 1997, the Mercedes-Benz GLE (formerly M-Class) has been renewed entirely for 2019. Now in its fourth generation, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE has been confirmed to go on sale in Australia in the second quarter of 2019.
Now sitting on a new platform that has increased the car’s wheelbase by 80mm, the new GLE is the first model since the first-generation ML to offer an optional third row of seating, which puts it on par with the larger GLS SUV for seating capacity.
“In 1997 Mercedes-Benz founded the premium SUV segment with the launch of the M-Class. Since then, more than two million customers have decided in favour of the off-roader,” says Ola Källenius, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“With a new control concept, innovative driving assistants, a new engine range and significantly more space, the new GLE is set to continue this success story.”
Immediately noticeable with the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE is its exterior styling, which is still identifiable as a GLE, though combined with the latest Mercedes-Benz styling it does appear much newer than before – especially at the rear, with its angular tailights. The front shows off new signature Mercedes LED daytime running lights, while the side creases on the old GLE have been smoothened in theme with new Mercedes styling. The rear ¾ windows have been an M/GLE styling cue since the first model in 1997, and we’re glad to see it continued to the new model.
The interior of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE appears to be a big leap forward for the nameplate, which trades the slightly dated cabin from the previous model for a much more modern and stylish layout. Most noticeable are the amount of air vents inside – four lie in the centre of the cabin alone – while Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system with dual screens is standard equipment. MBUX now includes a system called Interior Assist, which is a more advanced form of gesture control to control various functionalities inside the GLE’s cabin.
While overall length and height dimensions are yet to be announced, Mercedes has revealed that the wheelbase has grown by 80mm, and second-row headroom has been increased by 39mm to increase passenger comfort. Bootspace is listed as 825-litres with the second row erect, and 2,055-litres with all of the seats folded – comfortably larger than the new BMW X5. Thanks to its new styling, the new GLE offers a drag-coefficient as low as 0.29, with is 0.3 less than the previous model.
Available is a new form of the company’s 4Matic four-wheel drive system. Four-cylinder models offer a 50/50-split four-wheel drive system, but choosing a six- or eight-cylinder model or the plug-in hybrid equips the car with a more advanced version of 4Matic, which can distribute the car’s torque up to 100 percent to either axle thanks to an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch. If a customer chooses the optional off-road package, the variable all-wheel control works in both low- and high-ranges, which is a world-first, according to the brand.
Mercedes-Benz is yet to reveal the full engine range for the GLE, though a GLE450 4Matic will be part of the range that features a turbocharged six-cylinder engine and a 48-volt electric system that can product up to 286kW of power and a massive 750Nm of torque. Also available will be four-, six- and eight-cylinder petrol engines, all turbocharged. Expect hi-performance AMG 53 and 63 models in the future, as well.
For the first time since the first generation M-Class, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE will be offered with an optional third-row of seating to match the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 in seating capacity. Choosing the third row also earns buyers an electrically-adjustable middle row of seating, which has six electric functions, according to the brand. Offering seven seats fixes one of the largest issues with the current GLE.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE is due to go on sale in Australia in the second quarter of 2019, with local pricing and specifications to be announced before then.
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