Stuttgart - The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE might be instantly recognisable, albeit more smoothly sculpted and thoroughly modernised in its overall appearance, and yet the SUV has undergone something of a technological revolution beneath the skin, including further-enhanced MBUX ‘artificial intelligence’ cabin tech and trick new suspension adapted from the S-Class.
The E-Active Body Control Airmatic chassis option is a fully networked hydropneumatic, active suspension that’s linked, for the first time, to a 48-volt electrical system. Yet its real claim to fame is that this is the only system around that allows spring and damping forces to be individually controlled at each wheel, thus counteracting pitching and squatting in addition to body roll.
The first units that roll off the line early next year will be GLE 450 4Matic models fitted with Merc’s new 3-litre straight-six linked to that 48V system to provide an ‘EQ boost’ of up to 16kW and 250Nm in short spurts, over and above the 270kW and 500Nm that the engine normally produces.
Additional engines, including four-cylinder and V8 variants as well as a “long-range” plug-in hybrid will be added to the range in due course.
All engines will be mated to a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel-drive, although the six and eight-cylinder models will get a more advanced fully-variable AWD system that can send up to 100 percent of the torque to either axle. Those selecting the Offroad package will also be able to select low-range for tough terrain crawling.