These are the first official shots of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE, which will lock horns with BMW’s X5 when it goes on sale in Spring 2019.

Set for a full ‘in the metal’ reveal at the Paris Motor Show later this month, the car once known as the M-Class will receive a completely new range of engines, launching with two units – one petrol, one diesel.

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The petrol option will carry the GLE 450 4MATIC label, using a 362bhp in-line six-pot unit, backed up by 48-volt hybrid technology to improve performance and minimise emissions. On a mix of motorway and inner city driving, it can return up to 34mpg at 190g/km CO2.

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The GLE 300 d is expected to be the more economical option, driven by a four-cylinder two-litre diesel engine. However, running figures won’t be confirmed for this oil-burner until UK pricing is announced in the autumn. A plug-in hybrid variant with a particularly long mileage range will eventually be introduced too.

What does the new GLE look like?

Aesthetically, the GLE looks very much the same, with styling merely tweaked in places.

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The front-end features a big bold grille, flanked by sharp LED lights, while the rear gets blacked-out D-pillars and slimmer tail lights. The new GLE states its claim on having the best aerodynamics in its segment too, with a Cd figure from 0.29.

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At the centre of the dashboard is an adapted version of the dual-screen infotainment system you’ll find in the A-, E-, and S-Class, with two 12.3-inch screens sitting about the air vents. The rest of the cabin is impressively packed out with plenty of wood, metal and leather, as you’d expect with any Mercedes of this size.

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Bigger and more practical than before

The wheelbase has been stretched by 80mm, resulting in more space especially for rear passengers, and comfort has been improved further with an extra 33mm of headroom and electrically-operated seat backs.

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Practicality is boosted by a 125-litre increase to the boot – now 825 litres – opening up to 2,055 litres with the rear seats collapsed. Speaking of seats, this is the first time that the GLE has been made available with seating for seven people.

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A representative for Mercedes-Benz hailed the GLE as a competent all-rounder. “The new GLE is not only more comfortable than ever before on the road, but also shows its superior off-road character off the beaten track,” they said. “This alone shows our determination to reinforce our claim to leadership in the SUV segment.

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“Significantly more space in the interior, the new control concept, considerably extended and refined assistance systems, the best aerodynamics in the segment, a completely new range of engines and numerous other innovations emphatically underline this.”

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What do you think of the new GLE? Would you take it over the X5? Let us know down in the comments…

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