The new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is a luxury SUV with some trick features and fantastic new suspension options. Will the plug-in hybrid version coming in 2020 have 60 miles of range?
The all-new 2020 Mercedes GLE is the most popular SUV that Mercedes sells and it’s getting quite a few high-tech and comfort upgrades for 2020, almost promising that it will continue to be one of Mercedes’ best-selling vehicles in the line-up.
- When will the Mercedes-Benz GLE redesign come out?
- What’s new for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE?
- What does the new E-Active Body Control suspension feel like on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450?
- How does the E-Active Body control work?
- What is MBUX and how does it work?
- Does the Mercedes-Benz GLE seat 7 passengers?
- How much is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE?
- What’s the range for the GLE plug-in hybrid? Will the 2020 GLE plug-in hybrid have 60 miles of range?
- Should you upgrade from the previous model of the GLE?
When will the Mercedes-Benz GLE redesign come out?
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE redesign will hit showrooms in the spring of 2019, according to Mercedes. Here in the U.S., we’ll get the GLE 450 4MATIC first. The 4MATIC moniker is Mercedes’ name for their all-wheel drive system. Later in 2019 we will get the 4-cylinder GLE 350 and GLE 350 4MATIC, and according to Mercedes, the GLE 350 will be followed by a “future hybrid,” likely making its showroom debut in 2020. We got a chance to head to San Antonio, Texas, to hit the Hill Country in a few different trim levels of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC SUVs.
What’s new for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE?
For 2020 the new Mercedes-Benz GLE gets a suite of upgrades including:
- New E-Body Control: An optional intelligent suspension system that smooths out bumps and allows the car to lean into a turn the way a skier or a motorcyclist does. Read more about what we thought of it below.
- A variety of engine options including:
- A 3.0L turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine mated to a 48-volt mild hybrid system for added fuel efficiency in the 2020 GLE 450 4MATIC. This engine puts out 362 hp and 369 lb. ft. of torque.
- A 2.0L inline 4-cylinder engine that puts out 255 hp and 273 lb. ft. of torque will be in the 2020 GLE 350 and the GLE 350 4Matic
- MBUX-Your new smart assistant: The new GLE gets Mercedes’ latest version of Mercedes-Benz User Experience technology. The system can be activated by voice command and it is surprisingly robust. Read more below about MBUX in the new GLE.
- Active traffic assistance: The latest generation of Mercedes’ driver assistance package, called Active Stop-and-Go Assist, further enhances the way the 2020 GLE manages traffic. When activated, the new GLE uses traffic information and GPS location to recognize traffic jams and manage the speed of the vehicle if the driver doesn’t choose to interfere. In traffic jams, where lanes markers are clearly marked, the Active Stop-and-Go Assist can keep the GLE in the lane, come to a complete stop and remain stopped for as long as a minute before proceeding again (due to traffic) without the driver needing to tap the gas, and it can maintain a safe following distance.
- More Space: A longer wheelbase and optional 7- passenger configuration.
Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLE back in 2015 as a replacement for the much-loved ML-class. The boxy SUV got a swoopy styling upgrade, a variety of new technology, and a name change that has since propelled it to one of the best-selling SUVs in Mercedes-Benz history, according to Dr. Andreas Zygan, the Head of SUV Development at Mercedes-Benz. In fact, according to Dr. Zygan, SUVs account for more than one-third of the total global sales for Mercedes. Because SUVs are so immeasurably popular and the segment is incredibly competitive, Mercedes has added quite a few new bells and whistles to make the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 stand out.
What does the new E-Active Body Control suspension feel like on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450?
The first major change that Mercedes made to the GLE 450 for the 2020 model year is an optional, fully-active, intelligent suspension that Mercedes calls E-Active Body Control. This electronically controlled hydropneumatic suspension system allows each individual wheel to move independently. Essentially the system can damp and adjust the ride height of each wheel many times per second to smooth out the ride for occupants inside. We got a quick demo of some of the extreme articulation and movement that the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 can do on the first night of the event we attended in San Antonio. Check out the video below to see the GLE 450 “dance.” While it’s a neat feature to see demonstrated, it has a functional purpose, too. The GLE 450 is off-road capable and if you get stuck in sand and have the E-Active Body Control option, you can use the free-driving mode to make the vehicle jump to help you gain traction. While not many Mercedes GLE 450 buyers will take their luxury SUV off-roading, they will drive it quickly on curving roads and that’s where the E-Active Body control and Mercedes’ Road Surface Scan system really shines.
How does the E-Active Body control work?
- The Road Surface Scan system uses a stereo, multipurpose camera to continuously scan the road ahead as you drive.
- It anticipates undulations, potholes, and bumps and preps the E-Active Body Control suspension to smooth out those bumps.
- The Result: From inside the SUV you hardly notice rough roads or giant potholes.
When you take the vehicle on a curving highway onramp or a curving road and set the system to “Curve” using the touchpad in the center stack, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE leans into the turn like a motorcycle or a downhill skier. In curve mode, there is almost no body roll translated into the cabin and the experience is impressive even if it does take a little getting used to at first. In addition to the E-Active Body Control, Mercedes will still offer the base steel suspension system and the upgraded Airmatic suspension for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE. The steel suspension is more than adequate and translates some bumps and undulations into the cabin but the ride remains incredibly smooth. The air suspension, however, offers up an incredibly floaty ride to the GLE 450 and can lead to a disconnected, mushy, and somewhat unsettling feeling on the road. The only way to reduce that sense is to set the vehicle to Sport or Sport+ mode which tightens the steering and suspension a bit.
What is MBUX and how does it work?
MBUX or Mercedes-Benz User Experience first rolled out in the brand new A-Class and it gets an upgrade in the 2020 GLE with the new interior assistant. The system uses everything from speech and gesture recognition as well as touch pad input to help the driver and passengers manage their experience and access tech inside the vehicle. If you say “Hey Mercedes” when the voice recognition is turned on, you can ask the MBUX system to do a variety of things. We used the MBUX system to:
- Turn on seat heaters and change the temperature in the vehicle
- Answer questions about soccer players (it is connected to the Internet)
- Get directions and navigate
- Change the volume and radio station
It’s an incredibly robust system and it’s like having an assistant in the vehicle with you to manage your entire driving experience. Plus, Mercedes has equipped the MBUX system with artificial intelligence that learns as you use it.
The Interior Assistant in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450 also recognizes gestures and arm movements from front seat passengers. When the cameras inside the vehicle recognize the passenger’s or driver’s hand reaching for the center console, the screens adjust to highlight specific functions that that person may want to use, like adjusting the massaging seats, for example. In the 2020 GLE, the MBUX system comes standard with two 12.3” touchscreens mounted in the dash. You can choose to control the system through voice, gesture or by using the touchpad near the armrest. The system is easy to use and highly intuitive and the learning curve isn’t steep. It’s one of the more impressive technological systems on the market and Mercedes just keeps making it better.
Does the Mercedes-Benz GLE seat 7 passengers?
Yes! The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE can seat 7 when configured with the optional rear seat. For 2020 the Mercedes-Benz GLE gets 3.1 inches longer overall, which gives rear-seat passengers in the second row 2.7 more inches of legroom. When outfitted with the third row, the 2020 GLE gets an electric “easy-entry” function that allows access to the third row by folding the second-row seats. Third-row occupants get cupholders and USB chargers as well. While it’s not incredibly roomy for a 5’7” adult, it’s comfortable enough to take a quick ride with coworkers to get lunch. Kids and small teenagers would be comfortable in the third row. The rear third-row is an option that needs to be ordered when you choose your vehicle. It doesn’t come standard in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.
How much is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE?
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE will start at $54,695 and will hit showrooms in spring of 2019. That’s $2000 less than the starting price of the previous model. Upgrade to the all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz GLE350 4MATIC and you’ll add $2500 to the price tag. The Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 will start at $62,145 including destination. Adding in packages like the upgraded suspension, technology, and third-row seats, will take the price of the 2020 GLE higher. All GLE models come standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a second 12.3-inch touchscreen display for infotainment, Navigation, LED headlights, park assist, and a number of additional electronic driver aids.
What’s the range for the GLE plug-in hybrid? Will the 2020 GLE plug-in hybrid have 60 miles of range?
There are a number of reports that say that the new GLE plug-in hybrid will have up to 60 miles of range. In early October, Daimler Sales Chief told Automotive News that the new plug-in hybrid version of the GLE will have up to 100 km (62 mi) of range based on the new European fuel standards that are being rolled out. It’s expected that the EPA range will be slightly lower, but many believe that the GLE plug-in hybrid will have right around 60 miles of range. It won’t be available until 2020, after Mercedes rolls out the gasoline versions in the United States. The GLE plug-in hybrid was recently spotted at the Nürburgring, a track in Germany, where it was being tested, according to Auto Evolution.
Should you upgrade from the previous model of the GLE?
If you’re looking for a high-tech, highly capable, fuel-efficient, spacious SUV that can seat up to 7 passengers, it is worth upgrading to the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE. With all of its new technology, amazing upgraded suspension, offroad capability, and space to meet your needs, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is worth the price.