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The GLE uses the car maker’s MHA (Modular High Architecture) platform. which is heavily related to the MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform that underpins the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class. However, the MHA has been created to ensure a high ground clearance for SUVs.
The model has more space than its predecessor, with a considerably longer wheelbase at 2995mm, an increase of 80mm, which means second-row leg room is increased by 69mm to 1045mm. The second row of seating is fully adjustable electronically, controlled by a switch in the door panel. The GLE is also offered for the first time with the option of a third row, adding two extra seats.
The interior includes two 12.3in digital displays as standard, as recently launched in the new A-Class. There is a multi-function steering wheel with touch panels and a larger touchpad in the centre console replaces the rotary dial on the outgoing GLE.
The instruments and infotainment system operate via the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) interface that supports conversational speech and information gathering via the Mercedes Me app.
The GLE also introduces the latest generation of Mercedes’ driving assistance systems, including Active Tailback Assist, which recognises tailbacks early on and reduces speed to 62mph as a precaution. Once in the tailback, the car can autonomously keep in lane and maintain a safe distance in speeds of up to 37mph.
A GLE63 variant and GLE Coupé will follow the launch of the GLE. Pricing is expected to be slightly less than today’s starting price, with the 300d starting from around £54,000 when the new model goes on sale in spring next year.