Merc GLE takes it to the bends

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

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.

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