Is The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE The New Luxury SUV?

With the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz ML back in 1998, Mercedes are laying claim to a pretty bold statement – that they invented the luxury-SUV segment. We have two words for you Mercedes… and they begin with Range & Rover.

Regardless of whether it’s true or not, Mercedes have been continuing to build on the luxury-SUV market, and in 2016, they introduced the 3rd generation GLE, although in all honesty, it was more of an updated M-Class.

We have seen spyshots of the new model out testing on the public highways and we know that it’s the next generation GLE (due to be launched as 2019 Model Year) because it has been seen with “W167” markings on it – the current generation of GLE is known internally as the W166, so it stands to reason.

Plenty of Change for the New 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE


1. Plenty of Change
2. What's going to Power New GLE?
3. Mechanical Updatess
4. How Soon and How Much?

The next-generation GLE will be built on the MHA platform, the second Mercedes-Benz using it. MHA stands for Modulare Hoch-Architekture or in plain English, Modular High Architecture. The GLE will sit above the GLA and GLC but below the GLS and G-Wagen in the Mercedes line-up.

It isn’t just the platform that’s getting upgraded either; the overall styling of the vehicle will change, but not enough to lose the classic GLE look.

We know that the front grille is getting bigger and reshaped slightly, we can also see that the headlamps are more angular, giving it a slightly aggressive look. The same treatment is happening at the rear – new LED tail-lights will be wide and positioned high-up on the tail in a horizontal fashion.

The GLE is in a strong market, so it needs to look pretty – it’s up against the Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover Discovery, BMW X5, Audi Q7, Lexus RX, Lincoln MKX, Cadillac XT5 and the Volvo XC90 – all pretty heavy-hitters in the luxury-SUV world and while technically they are all quite similar, it really is only the badge and engineering that distinguishes the marques – basically, you pick your favorite brand and run with it.

What’s going to Power the new 2019 Mercedes GLE?

As regards the power, we know that there will be at least three engine choices, possibly five powertrains depending on whether Mercedes-Benz introduce them in the U.S.

At the lower-end of the range, there will be choices of an inline four-cylinder or six-cylinder, we’re also expecting a 4.0 liter twin turbocharged V8 (in an AMG badged GLE) and then a diesel version along with a plug-in hybrid.

We are pretty sure that the plug-in hybrid will make it across to these shores, but not so sure about the diesel – they just aren’t that popular here; history tells us that they’ve always sold in lower numbers than gas engines, but after the Volkswagen thing, even less so. Given the popularity in Europe, you’d think that a diesel would sell well here, but saying that, gasoline is much more expensive in Europe.

All powertrains will use the new 9-speed automatic transmission and drive the rear-wheels as standard with an option for all-wheel drive.

Mechanical Updates

The rest of the mechanicals will also be changing. The new MHA platform means less-weight, so of course the suspension has to be redesigned to change with the weight. We are also expecting updated geometry to give the GLE better road manners; handling is a loose term of reference when it comes to a luxury-SUV, but Mercedes will be doing all they can to make the GLE a little more capable when you’re making progress. Of course the AMG badged hot-version will get updated suspension again.

The interior pictures that we have seen show that the big Merc will have the regular twin-screen setup in the dash that we have become accustomed to, and this will be the hub for the updated COMAND system.

Expect the usual level of Mercedes-Benz refinement and features fitted, including (we think) a version of the Mercedes semi-autonomous driving system, allowing the car to take control for short periods of time.

Safety equipment will include pedestrian detection, pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, rear-view camera, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, lane keeping assist with steering input, blind-spot monitoring … pretty much everything you’d expect to find in a high-end Mercedes-Benz.

How Soon and How Much?

As regards the pricing structure, this is something that Mercedes have remained very quiet about. We can only assume that there will be a small increase over the current pricing models; for the 2017 Model Year, prices start at just over $52,000 and rise all the way up to over $110,000 for the fully loaded version. Merc can’t go too high because they will price themselves out of the market, and there is plenty of competition for them to worry about.

We think that Mercedes will give the new GLE a debut at one of the larger international auto shows in the early part of 2018, with full production happening around July, to hit the showrooms around August – no-one wants to buy a new car in the middle of winter! Even if it is an SUV.

2017-05-4 by Luke Widmeyer