Both were carrying the full production bodies.
It’s been a while since we last talked about the next-generation Mercedes GLE and now a couple of prototypes have been spotted roaming the streets of Germany while undergoing testing. The one with the license plate ending in "335" appears to be a lower-spec version judging by the headlights, while the other (with the plate ending in "487") not only has more intricate lights, but it also boasts an aggressive front grille.
Chances are the second test vehicle is some sort of an AMG version, quite possibly the GLE 43. It’s certainly not the full-blown 63 range topper as that one will switch to the Panamericana grille with vertical slats as seen on the smaller GLC 63 and its “coupe” counterpart. Both versions are hiding the full production bodies and despite the camouflage, it’s pretty clear some big design changes are in tow for the large SUV.
Overall, it looks like the next-generation GLE will have a more rounded body in the same vein as the aforementioned GLC. As a result of switching to the MRA platform, expect to see an elongated wheelbase that will pay dividends in terms of the amount of available room inside the cabin, not just for passengers, but also as far as the trunk’s capacity is concerned. A bump in size is possible, but even so the weight could go down significantly thanks to the new underpinnings.
The GLE 43 might be promoted to become the GLE 53 taking into account a recent report indicates Mercedes-AMG is slated to roll out a hybrid “53” series in the near future to replace what would be the short-lived “43” cars. The CLS 53 is set to lead the way with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine working together with an electric motor to provide a combined output of approximately 500 horsepower, with 430 hp provided by the combustion engine and the other 70 hp generated by the electric motor.
Though we don’t get to see the interior in this spy video, our own spies did manage to catch on camera earlier in the year a different GLE prototype with the overhauled cabin. Pictured in the gallery below, the test vehicle had a dual digital screen like the E-Class and the forthcoming CLS, but with square vents and grab handles for a more rugged look.
One of the oldest models in Mercedes’ lineup, the current GLE has been around since 2011, back when it was still called ML. It will make the transition to the new generation likely in the second half of next year before going on sale as a 2019MY.