We’ve been keeping tabs on the next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class for awhile now. Many others have been watching as well, especially in the vicinity of the Nürburgring where Mercedes engineers and drivers love to exercise the latest steel from Stuttgart. Summertime testing is in full swing at the ‘Ring, and Automotive Mike on YouTube was on-site to catch nine minutes of new GLE-Class footage.
Right off the bat our ears take note of two very distinct noises. For starters, we can clearly hear the baritone of a V8 engine; almost certainly some derivative of the familiar 4.0-liter biturbo mill. Secondly, we hear tire squeal – lots of tire squeal. It’s a stark reminder to us that, even though automakers are moving towards SUVs and crossovers for all applications, such vehicles still come with a performance penalty in weight and a higher center-of-gravity. More power and suspension wizardry can certainly help make these vehicles fun-to-drive, but the tortured tires in the clip are certainly not happy with the situation.
Regardless, the new GLE-Class seems to carry its bulk quite well. There are actually two prototypes spied in this video, one which appears to be a standard model and another possibly equipped with AMG upgrades. The tires don’t like cornering but the updated SUV seems to take it all in stride. We know Mercedes-Benz will give the next-generation GLE will the same MHA underpinnings as the new GLS-Class, and that should translate to a fairly substantial weight savings versus the current model. It should also add a bit more interior room.
We’ve recently seen the new GLE wearing less camo than these test models, and we know some styling cues from the current model will carry over to keep this a distinctive SUV in the ever-growing marketplace. The interior will also pack all the screens and glass displays we’ve been seeing in other models, so when the wraps finally do come off, this should be quite an impressive offering.
The million-dollar question, then, is when all will be revealed. We suspect that day is drawing very near, perhaps at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September or failing that, the Paris show in October.
Source: Automotive Mike via YouTube