The next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLE has been spied for the first time.
It's hard to get a true sense of the final design as the entire body, except for the roof, is covered in camouflage. In addition to the odd false panel, many of the car's snap-in components, such as the grille and tail-lights, have also been replaced by temporary units.
That said, it seems as though the fourth-generation M-Class/GLE will retain the SUV's historic harder edge styling elements, even though the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range now favours flowing lines and softer shapes.
Under the skin, the GLE will likely use version of the rear- and all-wheel-drive platform found underneath the E-Class. Like almost all new cars nowadays, the GLE will probably shed up to 100 kilograms through the use of lightweight materials, such as high-strength steel and aluminium.
Motivation will probably come from a mix of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, and include four-cylinder, V6 and V8 models. If current trends are anything to go by, the V8 engine will be used exclusively in the range-topping AMG models.
A plug-in hybrid variant will also be offered as part of the range, at least in Europe, China and the United States.
It's not entirely clear when the new GLE will debut, but given that the current M-Class/GLE was unveiled back in 2011, and Mercedes-Benz likes to stick to seven year model cycles for core vehicles, 2018 seems to be a good bet.