Merc GLE takes it to the bends
unit from 1998, available for our inspection, made for an amusing contrast with its cassette player and faux wooden inlays.
When the GLE-Class is introduced to the SA market in the first quarter of 2019, two derivatives will be available initially. A nine-speed automatic will be used across the range.
First up is the 300d 4Matic with its 1,950cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged-diesel, which is good for 180kW and 500Nm. The manufacturer claims a sprint time of 7.2sec for this entry point in the line-up.
Next up is the 450 4Matic. The 2,999cc, six-cylinder, turbocharged petrol unit proffered its momentum in a manner far silkier than its smaller counterpart. With an output of 270kW and 500Nm, it will dispatch the 0-100km/h dash in an expedient 5.7sec, says Mercedes-Benz.
Its might is further complemented courtesy of a 48V battery that can offer short boosts of up to 16kW and 250Nm. This is in addition to the standard 12V system that powers the displays, windows and other ancillaries.
This 48V system is also partly responsible for the wizardry of the optional e-active body control. In a nutshell, it enables the independent regulation of the suspension at each wheel. So, it will compensate at the necessary corner to keep things level under hard acceleration, braking and over lessthan-ideal surfaces.
But the system also aims to offset body roll by leaning into a curve, as one would on a motorcycle. Try to get your head around that one for a second. For the driver, the effects are quite novel, feeling the car tip its nose either left or right in a rather pronounced fashion.
My driving partner found the sensation less thrilling, begging me to switch out of the special curve setting and back into comfort, with its predictable handling characteristics.
E-active body control will also assist should you become stuck in sand or mud. The idea is that it uses its own effort to bounce up and out of the mire.
Later in 2019, the 400d 4MATIC will join the line-up, wielding a 2,925cc, turbocharged diesel unit. With its sextet of cylinders, the derivative serves 243kW and 700Nm of torque, giving it a claimed sprint time just 0.1sec slower than its equivalent petrol sibling.
The Mercedes-AMG subbrand will later breathe its magic
MY DRIVING PARTNER
on the GLE-Class, with the 53 and 63 monikers pandering to customers with performance motoring appetites.
Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa was unable to provide indicative pricing for the imminent newcomer.
You can make an educated guess, since the outgoing vehicle remains listed on the website of the company, demanding a basic outlay of R1,012,303.