It was just last year that Mercedes-Benz introduced the new GLE, but that SUV was essentially a renamed ML-Class with a few design tweaks. That means it was still based on the 2012 W166 M-Class platform. This week, we’ve received the very first spy shots of a prototype of the next-generation GLE testing.

Likely to be launched in 2018 as a 2019 model, the new GLE is expected to set the blueprint for the design of all future Mercedes SUVs. Although camouflaged, we can see that the styling direction is geared towards a more rugged, G-Class-inspired look than the rounded design of the current model. The wheel arches are significantly wider making the body look smaller than it is. The window lines on the side and the back are also differently styled.

The new GLE will be based on the same MHA platform that debuted in the smaller GLC, which will eventually underpin all the SUVs in the carmaker’s line-up except the G-Class.