The more rounded shape of the SUV makes it look smaller than the outgoing model, but that's probably just an illusion.

It was way back on June 7, 2016 when our spies caught on camera the next-generation Mercedes GLE for the very first time. Now, nearly two years later, a spy video is showing the posh SUV has entered the final stages of testing ahead of an official reveal likely scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

Several prototypes of the GLE were spotted and all of them were covered in camouflage from front to rear. Nevertheless, the disguise can’t hide the fact that Mercedes’ designers were quite busy when drawing the new luxury SUV as the shape of the body has gone through significant changes. It looks substantially more rounded now and that gives the impression of a smaller body, but we’re pretty sure the next generation will actually grow in size a little bit to distance itself from the GLC.

Update:

Speaking of the GLC, the smaller luxury crossover seems to have inspired Mercedes’ designers as the next-gen GLE appears to follow the same recipe, prompting some folks to describe its appearance as an upsized GLC. That being said, we’ll reserve our final judgment until the moment the camo will come off the high-riding model formerly known as the ML.

Despite its expected increased footprint, the 2019 GLE should lose a few pounds as a result of switching to the MRA platform. That will enable better packaging translating into a more spacious interior where we will also see Mercedes’ swanky new MBUX infotainment system first implemented in the latest A-Class.

Engines and gearboxes will likely be carried over from the E-Class, while a hot hybrid GLE 53 should arrive before the range-topping 63 model. Both high-performance derivatives were spotted roughly a month ago and logic tells us these will use the same powertrains as the E53 and E63 models, respectively. These spicier AMG flavors won’t be available from day one.

Meanwhile, the regular GLE could debut as early as October at the Paris Motor Show before going on sale late 2018 / early 2019.

Video: Automedia

2019 Mercedes GLE new spy photos