Unsatisfied With the Design, Mercedes Gives the GLE a Second Facelift

2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE 6 photos
Photo: autoevolution/Baldauf
2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE2026 Mercedes-Benz GLE
Having been rechristened from the ML to the GLE last decade, Mercedes' executive crossover then stepped into the fourth generation in 2019. Four years later, its mid-cycle refresh came out, and we thought the three-pointed star would be prepping a new one. But we were wrong.
You see, Mercedes has decided to update the current one instead of giving the world a fifth-gen GLE with new bones to match the new skin. So, like it or not, say hello to yet another facelifted iteration, spied in a premiere doing its thing on public roads somewhere in its homeland.

The heavily camouflaged face tells us that this is where the automaker's design team concentrated most of its efforts. Spotting the exact shape of the headlamps is impossible due to the trippy vinyl stickers, but they should be about the same size, likely featuring revised graphics. The same goes for the grille, and the bumper will also be new.

It appears that everything else soldiers on from the current GLE. However, since we're looking at early testers, there is enough time to take care of other exterior aspects, including the rear bumper, diffuser, and probably the roof-mounted spoiler. The facelifted GLE may also launch with a revised color palette and more wheel options, or so we believe, anyway.

2026 Mercedes\-Benz GLE
Photo: Baldauf
These scoops that just ended up in our inbox don't reveal the cockpit at all. However, our spy photographers think it might get a significant makeover for what is still another mid-cycle refresh, speaking of a free-standing digital gauge cluster and a more modern infotainment system, perhaps with a portrait positioning within the dashboard panel. It could also get a new steering wheel, a different gear selector, and a few other revisions to differentiate it from the current one.

It might get a few chassis tweaks, though nothing major, and chances are some of the powertrains could be mildly revised. It is still very early to speak about the firepower, but we suspect most units will carry over with no updates whatsoever. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 will still be a sportier alternative to the normal Benzes, and the GLE 63 S will top the family with its V8 power. The latter currently enjoys 603 hp (612 ps/450 kW), and we think its successor will be equally punchy.

Giving the GLE a second facelift may seem controversial at first glance. However, Mercedes has a lot on its future product plate, including several EVs, so this is a wise move that will allow the rival to the likes of the BMW X5 to remain on the competitive side of its class for a few more years. We expect the upcoming GLE to launch as a 2026 model.

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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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