Curves aplenty for next-generation crossover

The next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLE has been spied undergoing testing in Germany, and for the first time it's not wearing Magic Eye-style camouflage.

Although we have been seeing GLE prototypes since mid-2016, this is the first time they've wandered into public view with exposed body panels, and plain black camouflage at the front and back.

Our spy photography agency saw two different prototypes, both painted red. The first car seems to be a base variant (above) with a double-bar grille, and grey side sills and wheel arch protectors.

The other is an AMG-Line variant (below) with a much more aggressive front bumper, a single-bar grille, side steps, and a different design for the colour-coded wheel arch extensions.

Both versions have a softer style and smoother surfacing than today's model. The company is still using some false body panels to hide elements of the final design, including the bumpers and rear quarter windows.

We expect the new GLE to be powered by a choice of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with V8 engines reserved for the top-shelf AMG models. A plug-in hybrid drivetrain is also expected to feature in the mix.

Under the skin, the new GLE should ride on the company's MRA rear- and all-wheel drive platform. High-strength steel and other lightweight measures should help the crossover become more efficient.

The new GLE's interior was last spied in early-2017, and will include large high-resolutions ahead of the driver and in the middle of dashboard.