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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class: Paris Auto Show

What Is It?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class represents an all-new generation of the company’s midsize premium SUV/crossover. And it’s a major leap from the outgoing model. While the previous GLE was essentially a name change that put a little distance between it and the old M-Class, this 2020 version comes fully equipped to deal with the trends and challenges as the 21st century ticks toward a new decade.

Before getting into the high-tech stuff, though, there’s a fresh development that’s basic but still important. Because of the new platform’s longer wheelbase (3.1 inches), the 2020 GLE-Class will offer a third seating row. And the second row can be ordered with 6-way power adjustment.

The first models on sale will be the rear-drive GLE 350, the all-wheel-drive GLE 350 4Matic and the GLE 450 4Matic. No doubt a couple of AMG variants will follow. Standard equipment includes two 12.3-in displays, one for driver information and the other for the infotainment system. Several safety features such as blind spot monitoring and forward-collision mitigation are also standard, while other equipment includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, navigation and 19-in alloy wheels.

It’s at the GLE 450 4Matic level where the really interesting tech kicks in. This model has what is basically a mild hybrid system, adding a temporary 21-horsepower boost and letting the vehicle travel solely on battery energy for a short range. Its other talent is to power an intelligent adaptive suspension system (known as E-Active Body Control) that attenuates separate spring rates and damping effects at each wheel for levels of comfort and control that were previously unattainable. The suspension is also enhanced by a system that reads the road surface and any curves as they approach and prepares the ride accordingly. This model also has a more intelligent version of the 4Matic AWD system. It’s capable of sending 100 percent of available torque to either axle, should conditions demand.

This new generation of GLE naturally has the latest driver-assistance features as well, such as active-steering assistance that will work with no or poorly defined lane markings, tighten the turning radius and help out with evasive maneuvers. A gesture-control system is part of an interior assistant function based on artificial intelligence (AI), learning the driver’s habits and preferences.

Mercedes-Benz says there are new engines for the 2020 GLE-Class. The GLE 350 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit making 255 hp; the GLE 450 receives a turbocharged 3.0-liter/inline six good for 362 hp (plus that occasional 21-hp bump). Both are linked to a 9-speed automatic transmission.

How Much?

Pricing will be announced nearer to the on-sale date. For a rough idea, though, the 2019 GLE-Class SUV starts at $53,545.

When Can You Get It?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class goes on sale summer 2019.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because…

The all-new GLE-Class is shaping up to be a major contender. The amount of technology — for safety, comfort and convenience — is profoundly impressive.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Acura MDX — Comes with three rows as standard, plus plenty of equipment. Rides well and should be as reliable as a calendar.

2019 Audi Q7 — Has all the right ingredients for success in this segment, including technology, style and seating for up to seven.

2019 BMW X5 — The 2019 model year marks the debut of the fourth-generation X5, due to go on sale November 2018 and offering lots of technology.

2019 Jaguar F-PACE — An excellent contender with plenty of interior space and a gorgeous ride quality.

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport — More capable than many rivals when the tarmac runs out, yet still luxurious. A new plug-in hybrid version, the P400e, joins the range.

2019 Lexus RX — Now with option of a third seating row, the RX remains a best-seller.

2019 Porsche Cayenne — Yet another new generation making its debut for this upcoming model year. Great to drive, great to just sit in.

2019 Volvo XC90 — High levels of safety features, high in comfort, high in style.

Used Land Rover Range Rover — Anyone seeking an all-out luxury SUV with plenty of off-road talent will probably love the regal Range Rover. Check out Land Rover’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

See all 2018 Paris Auto Show articles

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Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More about Colin Ryan

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