Order books for the all-new Mercedes GLE are open now. Prices will start from £55,685, and deliveries begin in spring 2019.

The BMW X5 and Audi Q7 rival takes an evolutionary approach to design, with a big, bold front end, large grille and sharp LED lights. The back end gets a subtle update, too, with a blacked-out D-pillar and slimmer tail-lights.

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There are two engines to choose from at launch, both of which use a nine-speed automatic gearbox and feature four-wheel drive. The £55,685 GLE 300 d 4MATIC is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 242bhp and 500Nm of torque. It’s enough to shift the GLE from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds, yet deliver a combined fuel consumption rate of 46.3mpg. Its carbon dioxide emissions are rated at 162g/km.

Those looking for a little more power can turn to the GLE 450 4MATIC. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol features a mild hybrid system; the extra boost of the electric motor reduces load on the engine to improve efficiency. The result is 362bhp, 500Nm, and a 5.7-second 0-62mph time. Fuel consumption is inevitably lower than the diesel, at 33.6mpg, and it’s priced from £62,300.

Later down the line Mercedes will add a GLE 350 de diesel plug-in hybrid, as well as a pair of six-cylinder diesel (350 d and 400 d) engines. The flagship AMG versions won’t arrive until 2020, at which point a GLE Coupe will also be added to the line-up.

The wheelbase has been stretched 80mm beyond the old car, and headroom has been boosted by 33mm, too. The 825-litre boot is 125 litres bigger than before, while a total volume of 2,055 litres puts the GLE on par with the biggest cars in its class.

In addition, Mercedes will offer the GLE with the option of seven seats for the first time. It’s standard on the 450 petrol, and part of a £1,995 option pack on the 300 d, which also adds electric adjustment for the back seats, four-zone climate control and a couple of extra USB ports.

Up front, you’ll find an adaptation of the dual-screen infotainment system found in the latest A-Class. Two 12.3-inch screens feature as standard, while an augmented navigation system, which superimposes directions on top of images produced in a forward facing camera, is a £495 option. A £1,495 ‘Tech Plus’ pack also adds gesture control and a head-up display.

The new GLE gets ‘fully networked’ hydropneumatic E-Active Body Control suspension. Working in conjunction with the newly developed air springs - standard on the GLE 450 - the system can control the damping at each individual wheel to counteract roll, pitch and squat. In theory, it should make the GLE both more comfortable and better to drive.

The new GLE will come with a whole host of clever safety kit and driver assistance systems, including Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC. This system detects and responds to tailbacks with the help of in-built LiveTraffic software, and can alert the car to potential hazards.

Active Stop-and-Go Assist can then control the car in traffic, reducing the driver’s workload by recognising lane markings as well as the traffic ahead. If the car is brought to a halt, the GLE will re-engage drive if the vehicle ahead moves off within 60 seconds. These features, combined with blind spot assist, are part of a £1,695 driving assistance package, while active parking assist and traffic sign recognition are standard.

Also included on every GLE are open pore wood trim, nappa leather, active parking assist, and alloy wheels measuring at least 20 inches in diameter.

There’s a range of other optional upgrade packages, too. The £1,995 premium pack adds multibeam LED lights, memory package for the seats, wireless charging and a 360-degree parking camera. The Premium Plus pack, which costs £4,295, adds a Burmester sound system, a panoramic glass roof, an air filtration and perfuming system, keyless entry and hands-free boot opening.

More niche packages include the Towing pack (£1,150) which adds parking and stability control assistance specific to towing; and the Off Road pack (£1,695) which includes special off road driving modes, hill descent control, and reinforced underbody protection.

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Source: AutoExpress

October 29, 2018