2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE Surfaces in Fantasy Land With Fresh Design Cues

2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE - Rendering 6 photos
Photo: Kolesa
2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE - Rendering2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE - Rendering2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE - Rendering2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE - Rendering2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE - Rendering
Mercedes is preparing a second facelift for the fourth-generation GLE. The brand's executive crossover debuted in 2019, and four years later, the three-pointed star company gave it a mid-cycle refresh.
Knowing how automakers tend to roll these days, we believed that work would be underway for the fifth-generation GLE. However, the German car manufacturer has something different up its sleeve for this model, and that is a second facelift, a move that should keep the crossover competitive for a few more years until its successor launches.

The 2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE is currently being tested on the road, with the team behind its development ensuring everything works. We already saw it in prototype form at the beginning of the month, sporting some camouflage at the front. This tells us that it will feature a new face with fresh headlamps, a different grille, and a new bumper.

Mind you, it was tricky to make out the details due to the trippy vinyl stickers. However, the peeps at Kolesa recently peeled its fake skin away to reveal its updated face virtually. The model has entirely new lighting units with a different daytime running light signature. The side vents in the new bumper are about the same, and the central air intake was revised. Last but not least, the grille sports a new pattern and still holds the large corporate logo in the middle.

2026 Mercedes\-Benz GLE \- Rendering
Photo: Kolesa
While the scooped prototypes had no changes at the rear, it is natural to expect the upcoming GLE to feature some novelties there, too. The rendering artist has also covered this aspect, as the digital illustrations portray the Stuttgart company's rival to the likes of the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 with fresh taillamps. They retain the outgoing model's shape, yet the graphics have been revised. The bumper and diffuser are also new, though you'll need a side-by-side comparison with the current one to spot the differences.

Mercedes may round off the model's second facelift with an expanded color palette and maybe new wheels. We wouldn't look for any significant upgrades inside. However, our spies believe it might get a new infotainment system and a free-standing digital instrument cluster. There is a small possibility that the former will be neatly incorporated into the updated dashboard panel, perhaps sporting a portrait orientation, yet it is still too early to assume that this information is correct, so we'd advise you to take it with a pinch of salt for now.

Nevertheless, updating the dashboard panel would give the 2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE a more youthful and cleaner cabin design. There is nothing wrong with the dual-screen MBUX system that stands under a single pane of glass on the current one, but this move would be a welcomed upgrade. It is also possible that the air vents will be restyled, and we think the automaker will give it a new steering wheel. Rumors also speak about a possible tweaked center console and improved safety and technology gear.

2026 Mercedes\-Benz GLE \- Rendering
Photo: Kolesa
The upcoming GLE will retain its predecessor's construction. After all, it is nothing more than another facelift and not a new generation. The chassis could sport a few tweaks with emphasis on comfort in the lesser models and more agile cornering on the AMGs. We suspect most of the powertrain family, or perhaps all of it, will soldier on. The same goes for the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53, which will still bridge the gap between the normal Benzes and the top-of-the-line AMG GLE 63 S, which boasts 603 hp (612 ps/450 kW) in the current iteration.

In all likelihood, the second facelift of the Mercedes GLE family will launch as a 2026 model in the United States. We expect the first copies of the revised crossover to arrive at dealers nationwide sometime next year, probably with a small price bump. The current GLE 350 4Matic starts at $62,650, packing a 255 hp (259 ps/190 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque 2.0L turbo. The 450 4Matic brings an inline-six with 375 hp (380 ps/280 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) and has an MSRP of $69,500.

The GLE 450e 4Matic and 580 4Matic currently start at $69,500 and $86,700, respectively. The former is a plug-in hybrid with 381 hp (386 ps/284 kW) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm), and the latter uses a 4.0L V8 with 510 hp (517 ps/380 kW) and 538 lb-ft (730 Nm). Last but not least, the 429 hp (435 ps/320 kW) GLE 53 4Matic+ and the 603 hp (612 ps/450 kW) GLE 63 S 4Matic+ top the offering. Capable of sprinting to 60 mph (97 kph) in 4.9 seconds, the 53 starts at $86,750. The 63 S is 1.2 seconds quicker and can be ordered from $127,700. All prices exclude destination.

So, do you think the 2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE looks better as portrayed by the quoted website?
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About the author: Cristian Gnaticov
Cristian Gnaticov profile photo

After a series of unfortunate events put an end to Cristian's dream of entering a custom built & tuned old-school Dacia into a rally competition, he moved on to drive press cars and write for a living. He's worked for several automotive online journals and now he's back at autoevolution after his first tour in the mid-2000s.
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