Auto motor und sport magazine has participated to the last tests before production start of the fourth generation Mercedes GLE. Here are the first impressions in the Mercedes GLE 450.
The Mercedes GLE, code name W167, the fourth generation of the big class luxury SUV sold since 1997, will debut in this autumn. Auto Motor und Sport magazine has participated to the last tests before production start.
The new Mercedes GLE will be built on the new MHA platform which will debut on the new GLE and will be also use in the next GLS. The production of the new GLE will start in autumn this year at Tuscaloosa factory in Alabama, USA.
Rudiger Rutz, the responsible for Total Vehicle Testing for the MHA platform, his colleague Volker and project manager Stefanie Schmitz tested the final prototypes on the off-road and handling track and on country roads around Barber Motorsports Park, very close to the Mercedes factory from Tuscaloosa.
Barber Motorsports Park is famous because here you can visit the biggest Motorbike collection in the world.
Excellent off-road skills
With Rudiger Rutz on the steering wheel, the white and black camouflage Mercedes GLE 450 crawl over obstacles like a Land Rover Discovery or Mercedes G-Class.
The new GLE has a new EABC air suspension with adaptive dampers and the drive mode can be choosen from the MBUX monitor. The system works with 48V network while Mercedes GLE 450 is a mild hybrid with integrated starter generator with 16 kW and 367 HP for the conventional engine.
48V network was absolutely needed because only the small electric engines in the electro-hydraulic dampers needs a power of 3 kW. The dampers are completely independent and there is no mechanical connection between the four units.
Every single damper unit can lift or lower very quick the respective wheel, adjust the rebound and compression damping, with amazing effects when driving off-road.
Mercedes does not announce yet the price but the EABC suspension will be more expensive than the current Airmatic suspension with Active Curve system with active antiroll-bars (6,247 euro together). The active dampers in the EABC suspension does not act only for the roll compensation like in the previous ABC suspension and therefore its limits are far from being explored.
Suspension can be adjust from Sport to Off-road
The driver can choose the Comfort mode, Sport Mode or Off-road mode and the spread between these modes are impressive. In all driving conditions, the GLE confidently strains large and small bumps, creating a whole new sense of comfort.
But the all wheel steering like in case of MLB Evo platform from Audi Q7/Porsche Cayenne/VW Touareg will not be offered. The Mercedes engineers has considered that a similar effect can also be achieved through the four active damper elements: agile handling at slower speeds, in which the rear may steer a bit or straighter straight-ahead at high motorway speeds.
The new GLE is bigger than the previous model, W166. The new Mercedes GLE W167 will have a 80 mm longer wheelbase, will be 20 mm larger and only 1 mm taller. Official infos about the angles, boot volume or engine power were not revealed.
New range of engines
Auto motor und sport said that the former 5.5 liter V8 engine will be replaced in the AMG versions with the new 4.0 liter AMG V8 engine. In the AMG E 63, the new engine develops 571 HP and 612 HP in the S versions. We expect more or leass the same power for the AMG GLE 63 and GLE 63 S.
The base models GLE 350 will use the 3 liter V6 367 HP, while the GLE 450 and the AMG GLE 53 will come in a mild hybrid form.
The new 3 liter 6 inline diesels will also be available in GLE 350 d (286 HP) and GLE 400 d (340 HP). All the engines will be mated standard with the new 9 speed automatic gearbox.
A Plug-In Hybrid with petrol and diesel will follow. The petrol version will use a 2 liter turbo engine and a 90 kW electric engine and will deliver 279 HP in total.
2 gigant displays in the cockpit
The dashboard will be dominated by the two gigant 12.3 inch displays without frames between them like in case of S-Class. The right one is used for the multimedia system and is a touchscreen, while the left one is dedicated to the digital instrument cluster.
Under the multimedia display you will find four new rectangular air vents. The driver will benefit by a newly designed steering wheel including touchpad. In addition, a light bar in different colors dominates in the cockpit and will prolongate also to the doors like in case of the new CLS.
For the rear passengers in the GLE there will be more knee space due to the wheelbase increase.