The SUV's E-Class origins are already noticeable.

The current-generation model was facelifted back in 2015 when it switched to the GLE moniker to better reflect its ties with the E-Class. However, it’s still stuck on the oily bits of the W212 E-Class, and that’s evident once you hop inside the cabin. For a completely new car with a redesigned interior, you’ll have to wait for the next-gen GLE seen here at Mercedes-Benz’s R&D center in Sindelfingen, Germany.

The latest spy shots provide us with the best look yet at the midsize SUV’s interior, which will obviously borrow many bits and bobs from the aforementioned E. The dual digital screens are already noticeable, as are some of the controls on the dashboard. While the E-Class models and the upcoming CLS spotted just yesterday have round central air vents, the new GLE will have square ones to make the car feel brawnier on the inside.

More GLE spy content you might enjoy:

Another significant difference is the “floating” dashboard effect in the sense that it does not appear to be connected to the center console. Rounding off the visible changes so far are the grab handles used in case something is about to go terribly wrong.

2019 Mercedes GLE spy photo
2019 Mercedes GLE spy photo

Stepping outside of the prototype, the body is still dipped in a substantial amount of camouflage. Once the disguise will come off, expect a design in the same vein as the GLC, but obviously on a larger scale. Taking into account the GLC is bigger than its GLK predecessor; the new GLE will probably grow a bit to distance itself from the compact crossover.

You won’t have to worry about the SUV gaining weight since it’s actually going to be lighter than today’s model thanks to Mercedes’ MRA platform. It will make more extensive use of lightweight materials, thus enabling the posh SUV lose a few pounds to boost efficiency and performance. In addition, brand new inline-six gasoline and diesel units might find their way inside the engine bay following their debut later this year on the S-Class facelift.

The next-gen GLE is likely due to come out at some point in 2018 and go on sale as a 2019MY.

Photos: CarPix

2019 Mercedes GLE spy photos