BMW is about to reveal the updated X5 LCI next week, February 7. However, Mercedes decided to beat BMW to the punch but revealing its newly facelifted GLE-class a week earlier. So now when BMW’s new X5 LCI debuts, it will have a fresh-faced rival to take on right away. If you thought BMW’s facelifts were subtle, check out the new Benz. This new nipped and tucked GLE-Class comes with a very subtle facelift, with only minor tweaks to its headlights DRL pattern, its taillights, and its bumpers. That said, the GLE was already a pretty good looking SUV to begin with and, like BMW, Mercedes is getting ready for electrification. So why fix what ain’t broke, right?

Exterior Updates

More Updates Inside The Cabin

Inside, there are a bit more updates. The new updated GLE gets a new steering wheel, which matches that of Mercedes’ S-Class models, and it now features touch-sensitive buttons. I think we can all agree that touch-sensitive buttons need to go, I’m not sure why car companies keep using them but they’re almost always awful to use and glossy black plastic is neither premium looking nor feeling. It does get some new interior tech, though, such as the newest MBUX infotainment system, that looks really good. I’ve never used it, so I can’t comment on its user interface but its graphics look really nice. Same goes for the digital driver’s display. The GLE also comes with Dolby Atmos surround sound for its Burmeister system, which will likely sound fantastic.

Mercedes kept the same engines for the updated GLE but gave them some updates. There are three models, the GLE 350, 450, and 580 and all of which come with 48-volt mild-hybrid engines that feature integrated starter generators, capable of adding a bit of power to the engine. That means during auto start/stop, the 48-volt system can power the car on its own, with the engine shut down, for smoother engine starts.

The Mercedes GLE 350 uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four, making 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. BMW doesn’t offer a four-cylinder X5 but that’s the exact same power output as its own B48 turbo-four. As for the GLE 450, that uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, which makes 375 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. While the top-dog GLE 580 gets a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 510 horsepower and 538 lb-ft.

There’s also an all-new model, the Mercedes GLE 400e plug-in hybrid. It uses the turbo-four paired with an electric motor to make 381 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes hasn’t announced an electric range yet, though.

We don’t know exactly what sort of powertrain and design tweaks BMW is going to make to the X5 but we have a pretty good idea and they’re likely to be very similar to those made on the GLE. Next week we’ll find out exactly how these two customer-favorite SUVs will stack up and it should be close.

[Photos: Mercedes-Benz]