The new Mercedes GLE aims to conquer the segment, offering a mix of luxury, comfort and cutting-edge technologies, which include the impressive E-Active Body Control suspension.
Mercedes claims it’s the first suspension system on the market which can individually control the spring and damping forces at each wheel, meaning it can counteract not only body roll, but also pitch and and squat at the same time.
The new E-Active Body Control features a 48-volt electrical system and is combined with the GLE’s newly developed Airmatic air suspension. It will be offered as an option on six-cylinder models and above, with Mercedes saying that it requires half the energy of the previous-gen system in the S-Class.
The system’s hydropneumatics can generate forces that overlay those of the air suspension, enabling them to actively support and dampen the GLE in special conditions, like linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the new E-Active Body Control is the free-driving mode; it’s an all-new off-road function which helps the GLE free itself if it becomes bogged down in a sand dune or in a similar situation. Once engaged, the free-driving mode detects the surroundings and, if possible, starts to automatically raise and lower the suspension several times, changing the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improving traction; in other words, the GLE rocks itself free, as you can see in the video that follows.
The driver can also adjust the suspension height at each wheel individually during off-road driving via the touchscreen display; this could prove useful for example when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a spring is fully contracted.
For on-road driving, the E-Active Body Control features the so-called Curve inclination function; just like a motorcycle, the GLE leans into bends and eliminates most of the centrifugal force. And if the vehicle is fitted with the Road Surface Scan stereo multipurpose camera, the suspension can respond in advance of any undulations on the road ahead.
If that’s not a tech overkill, we don’t know what is. Pity that a very small percentage of GLE owners will ever venture off-road, and an even smaller will get to experience those systems at work…