Not all things are equal from one generation to the next.
There are few things in life that you can take for granted. Death, taxes, and that a new car (or truck) will be more expensive than the model it replaces. But even that, it seems, isn't always the case.
Mercedes-Benz has announced pricing for the all-new 2020 GLE. And despite all the advancements made from the previous generation to the new one, it actually starts two grand lower than the outgoing model, with pricing now starting at $53,700 (plus the requisite $995 destination fee). But not all things are as equal as they may seem on the surface.
The base version of the 2019 model started at $55,700. But where the outgoing base version was the GLE 400 4Matic, the new point of entry is the GLE 350, which not only comes with a smaller and less potent engine, but in rear-drive form.
The outgoing GLE 400 4Matic packs a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 rated at 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. The new GLE 350 comes with a 2.0-liter turbo four rated at 255 hp and 273 lb-ft. You'll be able to get the new GLE 350 with 4Matic all-wheel drive as well, but that'll cost you at least $56,200 (plus delivery).
That works out to $500 more than the outgoing GLE 400 4Matic, despite having significantly less power and torque. To beat the old GLE 400's output, you'll need to step up to the new GLE 450, which trumps the outgoing model with 362 hp and 369 lb-ft – and up to 21 more horses with the EQ Boost mild hybrid system. But that'll set you back $61,150 (plus destination), which isn't quite as much as the more potent outgoing AMG GLE 43 ($67,750), let alone the even more expensive AMG GLE 63 ($102,550) or GLE 63 S ($109,700).
You can bet there'll be AMG (as well as new full-hybrid) versions of the new GLE to follow. But for now the GLE 350, GLE 350 4Matic, and GLE 450 4Matic will be the only models offered. And the base version will only arrive in the summer, several months after the (more expensive) all-wheel-drive versions arrive in US showrooms in the spring.
When they do – power and price aside – they'll put to rest a model that first debuted in 2011 as the third-generation M-Class before it got a facelift and a new name in 2015.