When it debuted in 1997, it was the first Mercedes-Benz model ever assembled in America and now it is entering its fourth generation: the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the model line that started out as the M-class.
The model, however, in the past couple of years has shown its age. With an old platform and an outdated interior, it’s been eclipsed by more agile and contemporary competitors.
The new fourth-gen GLE, which will be unveiled at the Paris auto show next month and arrive at dealerships in the United States next spring, will come with a range of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines. At the launch, GLE350 4Matic and GLE450 4Matic will be available. The GLE350 will be turbocharged with 2.0-liter inline-four making 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque.
According to reports, Mercedes estimates that the GLE350 can reach 60 mph in 7.0 seconds (7.1 seconds with 4Matic), while the GLE450 will be able to do the sprint in 5.5 seconds.
Most intriguingly, there’s a new air-spring suspension called Airmatic with E-Active Body Control that in off-road mode allows the driver to lift an individual wheel. It can even hop the vehicle up and down to free the GLE. The E-Active suspension will also allow the driver to select the degree of body roll, including a setting in which the vehicle leans into corners.
Additionally, the wheelbase is expected to increase by 3.2 inches and the vehicle will be longer and wider, overall allowing for an optional third-row seat for the first time since the original ML. The second-row seats are expected to decline, however, it can be adjusted fore and after done electronically. While up front, the driver will face a wide, horizontally oriented dashboard with dual 12.3-inch display screens as standard.
The GLE will also incorporate a new generation of telematics, infotainment, and assistance systems. The exterior styling is far cleaner and more cohesive than before.
Talking about the competition, the GLE will face a number of strong competitors including the all-new BMW X5, the all-new Porsche Cayenne, and the still-fresh Audi Q7.