If you remember when the Mercedes-Benz GLE was the M-Class, you're probably among the few Mercedes cognoscenti. Now their GLA, GLE, GLC, GLS nomenclature is just freakin' confusing. Now, the GLE is here for 2020, and it's totally new. Upon first viewing, it may seem on the tame side, but there's much more than just the smoothed out lines of the body to look at. 

2020 mercedes benz gle profile

Whereas the 2018 GLE looked like a combination of curves and sharp lines, the new GLE looks far more cohesive. The total redesign still actually keeps the ethos of the original and rather curvaceous M-Class but in a cleaner, more modern way. The wheelbase is longer, providing for the option of a third row. The new GLE is so slick in its outer body that the aerodynamics are class-leading. The drag coefficient is a mere 0.29, equating to the best figure in the crossover segment.

2020 mercedes benz gle front

Under the hood of the GLE350 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 255 horses and 273 lb-ft of torque, and it's mated to a 9-speed automatic. Upgrade to the GLE450, and you get something much better in the way of a 3.0-liter turbo inline six with a nifty 48-volt electrical system--giving out a total power output of 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. That's some significant power. 

2020 mercedes benz gle rear

The GLE450's 48-volt active suspension system combines with an air suspension and it's known as E-Active Body Control, giving the GLE the ability to control spring and damping at each wheel. The result isn't just greater ride comfort in varying situations but also added off-road and traction capabilities. The suspension can do fancy things like raise and drop quickly in sand for greater traction and then rock itself repeatedly until the car becomes unstuck. How cool is that? The all-wheel drive controls are also fully variable so torque can adjust as needed between front and rear.

2020 mercedes benz gle rear 34

The interior of the GLE has also drastically changed for greater levels of opulence and technology that's class-leading. Inside, you'll find two huge high-resolution screens built into a single frame. It recognizes hand gestures and can even distinguish between driver and passenger input. The infotainment system will also learn from your audio/radio selections and phone call history and will pull up screen shortcuts when it thinks you'll use them. Cool, albeit a bit creepy.

2020 mercedes benz gle interior 2

In what amounts to the largest head-up display we've seen, the GLE gets a 17.8 x 5.9 inch projected display using lenses and mirrors. Apparently, it looks like the screen is 10 feet away from you rather than on the car's glass. Whoa. The whole dash looks more unified and trims range from textured aluminum to open pore wood. Round HVAC vents have been replaced by ellipsoid versions, and the gear shift selector is now on the center console between two huge grab bars instead of on the steering column, a welcomed change.

2020 mercedes benz gle seats

High-tech driver assistance features such as a new autonomous traffic-assist system which works in stop-and-go traffic up to 37 mph. Mercedes' active brake assist now operates when the vehicle is turning, taking you out of harm's way if the system detects a car moving in your direction.

2020 mercedes benz gle grab handles

The full details of the GLE will come closer to the end of the year, and the official sale date should also be announced. It will likely be in the spring of 2019 as a 2020 model. No pricing has been released yet, but we expect it to be a higher asking price than the current model, which should come as no surprise given the upscale interior and more advanced infotainment and driving technology. 

2020 mercedes benz gle mountain roads

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