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Mercedes GLE: data, prices, market launch, first seat sample

Luca Leicht
Mercedes GLE (W167)
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Curtain up for the new GLE: With the fourth generation of the luxurious all-purpose vehicle, Mercedes wants to drive back to the top of the segment. A position that absolutely corresponds to your own self-image. Because with the debut product introduced 21 years ago, at that time still trading under the name M-Class, Mercedes had opened the arms race of the premium manufacturers and made the SUV class, which was then mainly equipped with smaller Asian models, socially acceptable in Europe.

Right from the start, this model was committed to a balancing act between two worlds, should be both off-road and a real expert adopt the manners from the car sector on-road. Accordingly, the topic of off-road capability is still relevant for the new Mercedes GLE, which will be available from dealers at the beginning of 2019, as can be seen, for example, from the optional active suspension 'E-Active Body Control'.

Daimler AG
The new GLE gets a gentler design language than the previous model

DieShapes are becoming softer again

Formally, the GLE is taking a little journey through time, tending to be more rounded again, similar to the first M-Class, and saying goodbye to the hard design edges of the two previous generations. This is also beneficial for the aerodynamics, Mercedes promises to be best in class with a drag coefficient of 0.29. For comparison: The previous Mercedes GLE achieved 0.33.

Luca Leicht
auto motor und sport editor Marcel Sommer took a closer look at the interior of the new Mercedes GLE.

We get into the driver's seat and immediately notice the two huge 12.3 inch screens. The driver reads the instruments on the left screen, while the driver or front passenger control the infotainment system via the right display with a touch-sensitive surface. This is even easier to operate with a new interior assistant using gesture control.

The steering wheel can be adjusted in height and depth so that the driver can quickly find his perfect position. The seats offer a pleasant side support and a high level of seating comfort. As is typical for Mercedes, the seat adjustment is now in the side of the door - on the front andrear seats. At 1.95 meters, however, it has to be the lowest seating position in order not to hit the roof with their head.

In the rear, three passengers have plenty of space for themselves and their legs. Even tall people have a good ten centimeters between their knees and the backrest of the front seat. The fold-out armrest is leather covered and well padded. The cup holders at the front end can be opened quickly and easily, which does not affect the comfort of the armrests. However, the headroom in the rear is significantly less than in the first row. The first head-to-roof contact is 1.95 meters, probably earlier on a bumpy route. Just in case, two huge handles protrude from the center console. The rear passengers at least have the huge door handles to hold onto. At the rear end of the Mercedes GLE there is another talent: lots of space and a huge trunk lid. The latter is posted high enough on the roof that two-meter men can stand upright under it.

Daimler AG
The GLE is finally getting the new MBUX multimedia system, which has even been expanded to include a number of functions

The MBUX system has been expanded to include additional functions for the new Mercedes GLE. ToAmong other things, it can be expanded to include specific display and control elements for off-road use, a voice-controlled e-mail function or the integration of online music streaming. In addition, the system is self-learning and over time recognizes the user's preferences, such as a certain radio program at a certain time. An integrated augmented reality function integrates camera images into the navigation view, and the voice control has been further developed and now understands even more complex sentences and instructions.

Daimler AG
The GLE 450 with a six-cylinder petrol engine and Mild hybrid technology

Also new is the turning function of the brake assistant, which detects oncoming traffic, the blind spot assistant with exit warning (cyclists in particular will be happy to hear this) as well as the trailer maneuvering assistant, which is supposed to make reversing with a trailer easier. The system processes data from an articulation angle sensor in the ball head of the trailer coupling and is controlled via the MBUX display.

However, the greatest pride of the developers is the active 'E-Active Body Control' integrated into the 48-volt network -Landing gear. It is an in-house development by Mercedes and allows the spring and damper rates to be selectively controlled on each individual wheel. This minimizes rolling, pitching and lifting movements, to which the road condition detection (Road Surface Control) and the curve inclination function also contribute. This special equipment is reserved for the higher engine versions from six cylinders. Compared to the S-Class, where Active Body Control was originally introduced, the energy requirement has been roughly halved. The chassis also allows a world first, the free mode.

If possible, the level is automatically raised and lowered again several times, which changes the pressure of the wheels on the ground and thus improves traction - the GLE rocks free yourself. Another new function for off-road use is the individual wheel control. The level of each wheel can be adjusted individually via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the alignment of the vehicle in the field, for example when a wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel is fully compressed.

The new Mercedes GLE can also crawl through rocks.

GLE with release function

Every single damper unit can raise or lower the respective wheel at lightning speed, adjust the rebound and compression damping - with amazing effects when driving off-road. One of the most spectacular functions here: the retraction. The GLE literally hops up and down on its four electrohydraulic units to free itself from literally stuck situations. At first glance it looks strange, but it actually works, promises engineer Rutz. It was recently tried out during test drives in Dubai.

The price of the EABC chassis has not yet been officially revealed that it will be considerably more expensive than the previous Airmatic package plus Active Curve System in the current GLE (around 5,800 euros) can be expected. It can do more than that. Series project manager Stefanie Schmitz demonstrates some of this atsubsequent country road trip. There the active damper elements not only act as a roll compensation, the car leans slightly into the curve, as with the previous ABC chassis. Engineer Schmitz reveals that the system's limits are far from being explored. The side inclination is used only very moderately, too much inclination can cause travel sickness in sensitive passengers.

Mercedes has not yet published any information on the ramp angle of the new GLE.

Suspension can range from sport to Offroad everything

By the way, the spread between comfortable travel mode, tight sport setup for faster driving and offroad setting is impressive. The GLE confidently ironed out large and small bumps in all driving conditions, creating a completely new feeling of comfort. All-wheel steering? The engineers reveal that it is not planned. A similar effect can also be achieved with the four active damper elements: agile handling at slower speeds, when the rear is allowed to steer a little, or straight-line stability at high freeway speeds.

A short excursion over a tight handling course is confirmed theory. There it is quickly forgotten that the GLE is a mighty dream of a car. Incidentally, it is also significantly larger than its predecessor in the W166 series: plus 80 millimeters more wheelbase, 1 millimeter higher and two centimeters wider.

On the handling course, the new GLE almost lets you forget its pounds.

Starting price 65,807 euros

The prices for the new Mercedes GLE start at 65,807 euros for the GLE 300 d 4Matic, the GLE 450 4Matic costs from 72,650 euros. The 330 hp GLE 400 d 4Matic costs from 76,101 euros, the GLE 350 d 4Matic is available from 69,496 euros. First deliveries will take place in February 2019, the large diesels will be added from April. The Driver Assistance Package Plus is charged a surcharge of EUR 2,892, the fully electrically adjustable second row of seats costs EUR 1,428, and the seats in the third row cost EUR 1.83 extra


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