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While the rewards are great, pioneering a new genre is fraught with risk. One could get philosophical about the trials and triumphs associated with being the first to explore unchartered terrain. Mercedes-Benz, credited as the inventor of the automobile as we know it, knows a thing or two about scooping its rivals. And the company has benefited from foresight in exploiting market segments before they burgeon. Case in point? The realm of the upper-medium sport-utility vehicle. Allow us to frame and place that niche before reporting on the latest GLE-Class (W167), launched globally in San Antonio, Texas, US, last week. The GLA-Class could be described as compact. The GLC-Class is decidedly medium sized. And the GLS-Class sits at the top of the hierarchy as the largest sport-utility vehicle to wear the three-pointed star.

Ignore the anomalous Geländewagen for a second — that capable and covetable box-on-wheels occupies a special albeit vaguely defined spot in the brand organogram...

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