The EQC might have stolen all the headlines but Benz also quietly released information on the new-generation GLE SUV
SPACIOUS YET SLIPPERY
The new GLE is larger than before, with a wheelbase expanded by 80 mm to a total of 2 995 mm. The larger footprint not only frees up a claimed 825 to 2 055 litres of boot space, but also ups second-row kneeroom by 69 mm and headroom by 33 mm, while an optional third row of seats is now offered. Despite being larger than its forebear, the new GLE is reportedly the most aerodynamic car in its class, with a Cd of just 0,29.
The GLE’S MBUX infotainment system has undergone 40 improvements over the unit that debuted in the A-class (which we test on page 72), including extended off-road assistance, online app functionality and Interior Assist, which senses passenger movement and highlights ancillary functions ahead of selection.
Conjoined 12,3-inch instrument screens are standard and a 720x240pixel head-up display will also be offered.
The GLE remains a capable offroader thanks to a new fully variable all-wheel-drive torque-on-demand system controlling the torque distribution between the front and rear axles up to 100% and incorporates high and low-range settings when specified with the optional offroad package.
SIX FOR STARTERS
The launch-model GLE450 4Matic features an all-new 3,0-litre, sixcylinder engine electrified with 48 V electrical architecture and coupled to the firm’s nine-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the engine’s 270 kw and 500 N.m outputs, the EQ Boost system ushers in a further 16 kw and 250 N.m over short periods.
BODY IN BALANCE
The optional E-active Body Control System uses the powertrain’s 48 V electrical system to individually adjust the air suspension’s dampers at each corner. This system not only helps the body stay neutral under cornering, but can also help extricate you from a tricky off-road situation, raising and lowering the suspension to optimise the ground pressure of the tyres to improve traction.
ETA: Q2 2019