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Exterior design: powerful presence
The aesthetic appeal of the GLE is based on the harmonious interaction between emotion and intelligence. This is characterized by timeless beauty, a combination of high-grade technology and craftsmanship and a focus on what is really important.
The design of the new GLE is defined by modern luxury both on and off the road. The vehicle’s proportions with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and large, flush-fitted wheels already leave no doubt that it can handle any terrain. The GLE follows the design strategy of sensual purity, and dispenses with individual edges in favor of generously modelled surfaces. The surfaces interact with precise graphic elements.
The front section of the GLE exudes presence and power: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated underguard and the hood with two power domes. This striking appearance is emphasized by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night. The ULTRA Wide Beam of the LED Intelligent Light System produces the maximum light intensity permitted by law.
Viewed from the side, the wide C-pillar, typical of the GLE, conveys self- assured stability. The large wheels in sizes from 19 to 22 inches are housed in wheel arches with prominent liners. This underlines the GLE’s robust SUV character, as do the pillared roof rails and the optional Illuminated Running Boards. The chrome surrounds of the windows are reminiscent of a premium sedan.
The GLE also cuts an athletic figure from the rear. This is emphasized by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the C-pillar to the rear lights. The reflectors are relocated lower than before, giving the rear lights a more flattering appearance. They are also in two sections. This not only gives an impression of width, but also creates an unmistakable night design with illuminated blocks typical of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, in this case with backlit edge lighting. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated underguard.
Interior: more space in the rear and an optional third row seat
A size larger: the new GLE has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (117.9 inches, +3.1 inches). This creates significantly more space, especially for passengers in the rear. Legroom in the second seat row has increased by 2.7 inches to 41.1 inches. Headroom in the rear with the standard, fixed rear seat unit and 40:20:40 backrest division has increased by 1.3 inches to 40.4 inches. And because the A-pillar is more upright than before, spaciousness and entry comfort in the first row has been further improved.
On request, and as a world first in the SUV segment, a second seat row with six fully electric adjustments is available. The right and left seats can be separately adjusted fore-and-aft by up to 3.9 inches, the backrests are adjustable for angle and foldable in a 40:20:40 ratio, and the head restraints are adjustable for height. In typical Mercedes fashion, the rear seat adjustments are controlled by a switch in the door panel. The backrest can also be completely folded down electronically, using a switch in the luggage compartment.
Useful holders and protective elements have been specially developed as accessories for practical stowage of recreational equipment in the interior. In conjunction with the AIRMATIC® air suspension, the vehicle’s rear can be lowered by around 1.6 inches using a switch, for easier loading and unloading.
Even more flexibility is possible with the optional, folding third seat row, which provides two extra seats. Thanks to the EASY-ENTRY® function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can conveniently reach their seats.
Seat kinetics is another innovation available for the front seats in conjunction with fully-electric seat adjustment with memory function. Seat kinetics supports changes in the seating posture by means of minute movements of the seat cushion and backrest.
ENERGIZING Comfort: now with a guide
The optionally available ENERGIZING Comfort system networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massage modes for a wide range of feel-good programs.
The ENERGIZING COACH is a new feature. This function, based on an intelligent algorithm, recommends one of the programs depending on the situation and individual. If a Garmin® wearable is worn, personal values such as stress level or quality of sleep optimize the accuracy of the recommendation. The aim is for passengers to feel well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC®, working with Route-Based Speed Adaptation, is activated; the new GLE is able to recognize and respond to traffic jams or slow-moving traffic with the help of information from LiveTraffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. When a traffic jam is recognized (and if the driver does not choose a different response), Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 60 mph as a precaution. This gives Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Funtion the ability to brake the vehicle to a standstill in good time when the end of a traffic jam is recognized.
When actually driving in traffic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist can markedly reduce the driver’s workload: where there are lane markings, the system is substantially able to perform the tasks of keeping in lane and maintaining a safe distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 37 mph. Moving again after being stopped can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop.
4MATIC® all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off-road
In all variants of the new GLE, power is transmitted by a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. With the four-cylinder engine in the new GLE 350, 4MATIC® all-wheel drive is realized with a transfer case which transmits the drive torque to the axles in a fixed ratio of 50:50 percent. Spinning wheels are addressed by braking intervention at the relevant wheel.
A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch is used for the other engines, including the GLE 450. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100% (torque on demand) between the axles.
Also when driving on the road, and particularly when cornering, the two fully networked transfer cases with torque on demand allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer.
E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL, developed in-house by Mercedes-Benz, has a 48V operating voltage and is optionally available for engine variants with the 48V system. On poor road surfaces, the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared to the preceding system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.
Free-driving mode is a completely new off-road function: if the GLE has become bogged down in a sand dune, for example, this can help to free the vehicle more easily. If possible the suspension level is quickly and automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improves traction – the GLE then rocks itself free.
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