The new GLE Coupé is a further example of the Mercedes-Benz strategy to address all the requirements of customers in the premium-SUV segment in a targeted manner. From a relatively small niche, the segment of SUCs, namely SUV coupés, has developed into a trend within a trend in no time. With the renewal of the premium-SUV family Mercedes-Benz is also putting the GLE Coupé on a new technical footing.
“The GLE Coupé blends the imposing power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé”, says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. “The sensuous, reduced design idiom in combination with the extreme proportions creates a unique design statement.”
Like the GLE and the GLS, as a member of the large premium-SUV family the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé is being built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In total Mercedes-Benz now offers eight SUV models in the form of the GLA, GLC, GLC Coupé, the G-Class and the new GLB. With currently around one third of sales, the SUVs are a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand. To date, more than six million customers around the world have opted for a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
Exterior design: Powerful presence
The modern luxury, elegance and sportiness of a coupé and the robustness of an SUV: that is the design message of the new GLE Coupé. Its proportions with short overhangs and large, flush-mounted wheels and its dynamic greenhouse with the long side-window line exude high value and exclusivity.
“The GLE Coupé combines the impressive power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé”, says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. “The sensuous, reduced design idiom in combination with the extreme proportions creates a unique design statement.”
The front view combines characteristics of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family with clear coupé attributes: the diamond radiator grille with the single horizontal louvre references the other coupés in the Mercedes-Benz range. The openings in the louvre, meanwhile, showcase the SUV character, as does the high-gloss chrome-plated underguard in the front apron. With the AMG Line exterior, the grille widens towards the bottom in an A shape, and the pins in the diamond grille are highlighted in chrome. Full-LED headlamps enhance all variants of the GLE Coupé as standard.
The raked windscreen not only makes the vehicle look more dynamic than its SUV counterpart; it also is a better fit with the dropping roof line and ensures a harmonious elegance. The flank beneath it with its deliberately smooth design that emphasises surfaces effectively highlights the large, outside-flush wheels (19 to 22 inches). The black cladding of the wheel wells (with AMG Line exterior painted in the vehicle colour) and the optional running board between them underscore the SUV character.
The dynamism of the coupé line is especially evident from the rear design. A broad muscle bulges from the vehicle flank beneath the compact greenhouse. It starts just behind the door handle of the front door and envelops the tail lamps. This muscle lends the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé its powerful, read-to-pounce look, which is particularly effective in the three-quarter rear view. Together with the elongated tail lamps, it emphasises the width of the rear end. The lamps are specific to the coupé, but fit the characteristic day and night design of the Mercedes-Benz SUVs with their hallmark rounded blocks in a slim outline. The flush transition from the tailgate to the bumper, the number plate in the bumper above the high-gloss chrome-plated underguard and the integrated tailpipes complete the synthesis of coupé and SUV.
Interior design: Robust luxury with a sporty touch
The interior of the new GLE Coupé shares numerous features with the other models in the new premium-SUV family, but is sportier. A familiar sight is the modern cockpit with two large 12.3-inch /31.2 cm screens and the strikingly shaped instrument panel, horizontally divided by a trim element tier, which seamlessly transitions into the door panels. Its top is finished in ARTICO man-made leather in the GLE Coupé as standard. The sporty emphasis comes courtesy of the standard sports seats with particularly good lateral support and ARTICO cover, and the sports steering wheel with nappa leather rim, likewise standard in the coupé.
The SUV touch, meanwhile, is added by the high centre console with the dominant grab handles. The high-quality styling and processing of all surfaces and features and the impressive ergonomics convey a contemporary and luxurious impression. There are extensive possibilities for individualisation in the range of optional trim surface finishes and seat upholsteries, which can take the sporty theme in the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé to a whole new level and demonstrate the handcrafted quality of genuine luxury products.
The sporty, stylish cockpit is embedded in a powerful, strikingly styled solid body. The instrument cluster and media display (2 x 12.3 inches as standard) are housed behind a continuous glass surface to form a large, free-standing screen. The solid body beneath it transitions seamlessly into the door panels. The integrated trim element is made of brushed aluminium as standard and likewise surrounds driver and front passenger all the way into the doors. As a result, it accentuates the width while conveying security and elegance. At the same time, this creates the impression as if the upper body were free-floating. The ambient lighting illuminates the dashboard, with optical fibres running through the entire cockpit. The four rectangular air vents are prominently embedded in the trim element.
The prominent, raised centre console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, two grab handles are mounted on the centre console. The modern, luxurious impression is rounded off by the flowing surface contour behind them, the large trim element and the flush-mounted roller cover.
There is a touchpad in the centre console as a further means of controlling many vehicle functions. The controls on the centre console with tactile and audible feedback are designed to seem milled from a solid metal block. Material quality and finish illustrate the standard in terms of perfection and craftsmanship. The spokes of the new sports steering wheel have a distinctive design and underscore the robust appearance of the SUV interior. Touch Control buttons on them provide access to a host of functions without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
The door panels exude tranquillity with their harmonious transition from the dashboard and their accentuated horizontal design lines. The interplay between the powerfully sculptured armrest and the smoothly, recessed door trim creates a dramatic contrast. The door trim houses the miniature seat for the seat adjustment typical of Mercedes-Benz. The closing handles of the doors blend into the shape of the armrest, whose front end houses the controls for the windows and exterior mirrors. The result is a homogeneous design unit that harmonises with the grab handles on the centre console.
The trim elements of the dashboard are optionally available with a metal structure finish, which creates associations with sportiness and off-road characteristics. Available alternatives are open-pore woods such as anthracite oak and brown walnut wood, which bring the elegance and cosiness of contemporary furniture design into the interior.
Various options are available for the leather upholstery of the seats. In conjunction with the AMG Line interior, customers can choose between single-tone black leather and two-tone combinations in white/black or classic red/black – the latter combination is reserved solely for the coupé of the GLE family. The combination macchiato beige/black with matching roof liner is available as a stand-alone option. The upholsteries in the combination rough leather/leather, which evoke a subtle off-road atmosphere with rough leather grain on the seat side bolsters and head restraints, come in all black, magma grey/black or truffle brown/black.
The magma grey/black nappa leather seats, which are available in conjunction with beltlines, dashboard and door panels all trimmed with nappa leather, represent a classy option. These exclusive seats demonstrate particularly high-quality workmanship with multiple inverted pleats. The leather is inverted in the middle and the two halves on either side are folded inward so that two upholstery bellows face each other above the created recess. The two bellows are sewn together at the top and bottom. The result is a smooth, taut surface that can hug the back and is firm where the seat is supposed to give less.
The spaciousness: Tailor-made sports suit
The four-door coupé body offers noticeably more space than the predecessor and seats up to five occupants in comfort. The wheelbase is 20 mm longer than in the preceding model and this extra space benefits the seating and legroom of the passengers. The entrance opening has even been enlarged by 35 mm. In many places, the new member of the family offers improved interior dimensions, which add up to a more generous sense of space.
At 655 litres, the boot in its standard configuration is already decidedly generous for a coupé and in this position conceals its load beneath a high-quality, folding and removable cover attached with magnets. The backrest of the rear seats have a 40:20:40 folding split. When folded down, the maximum boot capacity increases to 1790 litres – an outstanding figure among the SUV coupés and an improvement by 70 litres over the predecessor. After folding down the rear seat backrests, the level loading area is almost two metres long and over 1.10 metres wide – both measurements surpass the first generation of the coupé by 87 and 72 mm, respectively. The loading sill, albeit inherently higher than on the conventional SUVs, is 59 mm lower on the new GLE Coupé than before and with AIRMATIC can even be lowered by a further 50 mm at the touch of a button.
In addition, special attention has been paid to improving the capacity of the stowage facilities in the interior, which now offer 40 litres of stowage space. All door pockets now accommodate 1.5-litre PET bottles, amongst other things. The all-round view has also been improved and the optional sliding roof panel is larger too.
Aerodynamics and aeroacoustics: Against the wind
As with the other large premium SUVs of the latest generation, lowering the aerodynamic drag and the wind noises was also an important development goal for the GLE Coupé. Some of the measures involved the entire model family, while upon closer inspection a lot of optimisation work was done on each version. A host of details was optimised with numerous computation loops involving CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen. The result in the respective configuration is a drag coefficient of Cd = 0.32, which is nine percent lower than the 0.35 of the predecessor.
The key measures include an active cooling air control system (AIRPANEL) behind the radiator grille. It meters the amount of cooling air as needed so that only as much air as is absolutely necessary flows through and as much as possible flows around the vehicle. The exterior mirrors have been optimised further, as the turbulence they create not only increases drag, but also noises that are produced very close to the driver’s ear. In addition, laminated safety glass with acoustic membrane (option – see chapter on bodywork) and lots of detail work on seals, wind deflectors and covers either reduce the wind noises already at their source or keep them away from the occupants.
The large ground clearance of SUVs makes detailed improvements to the underbody particularly beneficial to the aerodynamics. The new GLE Coupé features extensive panelling on the underbody and transmission tunnel. Additional covers are found under the tank, at the rear axle and the diffuser. These measures reduce drag-increasing and loud vortices at the underbody, where particularly low-frequency wind noises arise. The wheels have been improved as well. The selection of aerodynamic wheels, so-called aero wheels, comprises several sizes and also includes two-tone versions.
The seals of the large panoramic sliding sunroof have been optimised in terms of aeroacoustics. A special feature is the speed-sensitive control of the tilt position. When the speed is increased past 120 km/h with the sunroof at maximum tilt position, the roof automatically moves to a lower position. However, the control unit remembers that the roof was in maximum tilt position and automatically moves it back up when the speed drops below 60 km/h. This automatism ensures that the sound of the wind always remains pleasant and does not get overly loud. The optimised aeroacoustics of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé are also the result of persistent fine-tuning in hidden places, such as in the case of the aero seals under the bonnet and on the windscreen wiper box.
MBUX Mercedes-Benz User Experience: Digital convenience communicated on many channels
The GLE Coupé offers the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system with all the connectivity, entertainment and operating comfort functions which have already been introduced in the GLE and GLS. The information in the instrument cluster and on the media display are easy to read on the two large, high-resolution 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens arranged side by side in a widescreen look. An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure. The new “theme displays” allow putting the entire vehicle into personally pre-configured moods at the touch of a button. A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. The head-up display and MBUX Augmented Reality Navigation offer even more convenience and a greater multimedia experience.
The instrument cluster is divided into three separately selectable display zones – the two round instruments and the central display field between them. All three zones can be intuitively configured with the left Touch Control button on the steering wheel, which enables maximum personalisation.
In the central area, the accustomed Mercedes-Benz basic menu allows access to various main applications, while the left and right round instruments allow you to switch content directly by means of a simple wiping gesture. Drivers are thus able to freely combine three functions and displays individually that are of interest to their travel plan or driving style.
Depending on mood or to suit the chosen interior, the user has a choice of three different styles:
– Modern Classic is a further advancement of the classic display style in an elegant and light materiality.
– Sport has a high-tech turbine look with decidedly sporty black/yellow contrasts.
– Progressive represents a modern interpretation of an instrument cluster in the digital display world. In the interest of relieving reduction and focused information processing, the display values of the round instruments for vehicle and engine speed are displayed dynamically only in the respective required range.
– The fourth available option is the so-called Subtle mode. It provides the driver with a relaxing tranquillity through maximum reduction of information.
The subjects of intelligence and individualisation play a key role in this latest MBUX generation. The system provides intelligent suggestions based on the time of day, the place and the habits of the driver. If desired, MBUX anticipates what the user might want next, for example. For instance, anyone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays during the journey home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
Augmented reality: additional navigation assistance
When navigation is active, the navigation display can be complemented with the help of augmented reality technology. This makes it easier to get your bearings in unknown surroundings: A video image of the surroundings is enhanced with helpful navigation information, for example arrows or house numbers are automatically superimposed directly onto the image in the media display. This makes it easier for the driver to search for a certain house number, or to find the correct side road for turning off.
The most important things right in front of your eyes: the head-up display
Particular convenience for the driver is provided by the head-up display, whose resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and projection distance of the virtual image expanded to 2.84 metres set standards. Important information is projected onto the windscreen, reducing distraction from the traffic situation. There is also less eye fatigue for the driver, as the eyes do not constantly have to refocus between close-up and long-distance vision. A system of lenses and mirrors projects a full-colour image measuring around 45 x 15 centimetres onto the windscreen. It seems to float in front of the driver above the bonnet. The virtual image is twice the size as on the predecessor and 20 percent brighter. The benefits: better legibility in bright driving situations and space for further information about, e.g. the current audio source, the current phone call and the reception and battery status of the connected telephone. In addition it shows the arrival time and distance to destination if route guidance is active. The driver is able to select the information he/she considers relevant from a number of possibilities.
Welcome on board: MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System
The MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System available as an option from summer 2020 comprises two 11.6-inch full-HD displays and optionally one or two sets of Bluetooth headphones. This enables rear passengers to enjoy their own entertainment programme. They have access to the radio, TV, media and telephone, can connect their own devices and access the navigation system, services and the internet.
Music streaming from Amazon, too
In the course of 2020, Mercedes-Benz will also be integrating the music streaming service Amazon Music into the new SUV models. If the customer has an Amazon Music account they can transfer their music to the vehicle via the Mercedes me “Online Music” service. Individual songs, playlists or music of the desired genre can be played via touch or voice input. Amazon Prime members have two million songs to choose from, with 50 million for “Amazon Music Unlimited”. The music streaming service TIDAL will continue to be available.
Comfort appointments: Silent butlers in the wellness oasis
The equipment of the new GLE Coupé benefits from the development steps of the new premium-SUV generation from Mercedes-Benz. How extensive the comfort options are is most evident in the ENERGIZING packages. They include a host of equipment features that help the driver to stay fit in line with personal preferences and situations: functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heating, ventilation, massage), the surface heating as well as lighting and musical moods. Rather than just sporadically using a few (favourite) systems as before, customers are able to benefit even more and with more variety from the comfort features of their GLE Coupé.
The comfort of the new GLE Coupé begins already before getting in: the locking system comes as standard with a KEYLESS-GO starting function. The key only needs to be in the vehicle – but can stay in the driver’s pocket. The KEYLESS-GO Convenience package makes it even easier: thanks to HANDS-FREE ACCESS, there is no need to handle the key even to unlock the doors; locking and unlocking, starting and loading are all automatic.
A kicking motion of the foot under the rear bumper opens the tailgate when both hands are full with luggage. And once it is loaded into the boot, the tailgate can be closed in the same way. Two capacitive sensors recognise the kicking motion and operate the motor of the tailgate. An obstruction sensor reduces the risk of the tailgate catching objects or body parts. Furthermore, the opening height can be set to keep the very large tailgate from hitting the roof of a low garage.
The optional large panoramic sunroof demonstrates similar intelligence. Its opening angle as a tilting roof is automatically adapted to the vehicle speed to minimise wind noise. It closes automatically when it rains or when driving through tunnels or car washes. Its roller blind also does that automatically when the car is parked in the sun. In addition, it responds to voice commands such as “close roller blind”. The Mercedes me app even allows closing and opening the sunroof and roller sunblind remotely from a smartphone.
The air ducts and blowers of the climate control systems of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé have been designed to make them nearly inaudible in the interior. The standard-fit THERMATIC controls the temperature of the air separately on the driver’s and front-passenger’s side and distributes it in the interior through numerous vents after undergoing thorough filtering. The optional THERMOTRONIC allows individual control also in the rear seats, also thanks to additional vents in the B-pillar and footwell. The automatic system controls the temperature selected by the occupants on its own. Furthermore, it uses sensors to test the quality of the outside air and communicates with the navigation system. This allows the system to switch to air-recirculation mode automatically when the air quality is poor or when passing through a tunnel, and close the windows and sunroof.
Even more comfort if desired: surface heating and AIR-BALANCE
The optionally available Warmth Comfort package offers maximum heating comfort. It comprises particularly fast-acting heating of the front seats, of the centre armrest and the front door panels with their armrests. Heating wires in these surfaces ensure more homogeneous and cosy warmth after entering the cold vehicle. Seat heating is also available for the second seat row as well as seat heating for the front seats.
Even more wellness is assured by the AIR-BALANCE package. It enables active fragrancing of the interior, which is turned on, off, up or down via a separate menu in the infotainment system. A larger filter with activated charcoal made from coconut shells makes it possible to remove unpleasant harmful gases from the outside air. A special highlight of the AIR-BALANCE package is the ionisation of the air by means of a high-voltage ioniser in the air duct.
The ioniser produces negative ions which are attracted by the mainly positively charged airborne particles. Owing to magnetic attraction, these allergens form heavier agglomerations and sink to the floor. This provides noticeable relief for people suffering from allergies or asthma.
The pampering programme: ENERGIZING comfort control and ENERGIZING COACH
The optional ENERGIZING packages systematically use the functions of the climate control system, the seats as well as lighting and musical moods, and allow a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. The ENERGIZING package comprises seat heating, the AIR-BALANCE package and the ambient lighting, and offers two programmes of about ten minutes each named “Refresh” and “Vitality”. In addition, there are training sessions with video instructions, for example, for relaxation of the musculature. The coordination of the systems increases their effect on the well-being and provides the driver and passengers with an experience of all the comfort features of the GLE Coupé without having to think about how to operate them.
The ENERGIZING package Plus in addition comprises the multicontour seats for driver and front passenger, seat climate control and the massage function of the seats as well as the Warmth Plus package with its surface heating. This enables it to offer five programmes (“Refresh”, “Warmth”, “Vitality”, “Joy” and “Well-being”) plus additional training sessions. The ENERGIZING COACH is even able to recommend a suitable programme. Its intelligent algorithm is able to take the information about the stress level and sleep quality of the driver if the driver has a connected compatible wearable device. This could be the vívoactive® 3 smartwatch from Mercedes-Benz, for example.
ENERGIZING seat kinetics: active sitting whilst driving
Good for the back: the new ENERGIZING seat kinetics support orthopaedically beneficial changes in the seating posture by means of minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest. The innovation is available for the front seats in combination with all-electric seat adjustment with memory function. “The best seat position is the next one” – this is what many doctors say about sitting in the car. Because sitting in almost the same position for several hundred kilometres and many hours is not good for your back or discs. The new GLE Coupé offers an effective remedy with ENERGIZING seat kinetics. If the driver selects this programme, the inclination of the seat cushions and backrests is continuously adjusted minutely using the seat settings selected by the driver and the front passenger as the starting point (the so-called “Home” position). The changes are only minimal – a few degrees or millimetres.
Active sitting during the trip improves spinal health, because the natural strain and relief of muscles, joints and discs can lead to muscle relaxation and improved supply of nutrients to the joints and discs. The patented algorithm offers three programmes for short, medium and long distances with a custom number of readjustment cycles of precisely tailored durations for each. The suitable programme can be selected via the media display of MBUX.
For spoiled ears: optional Burmester® surround sound systems
The high level of noise comfort of the new GLE Coupé makes listening to music on a trip a special pleasure. The standard audio system comprises seven loudspeakers. In addition to ferrite mid-range speakers in the rear door panels and neodymium mid-range speakers in the front doors, each in a relatively high position, as well as tweeters in the mirror triangles, the Frontbass loudspeaker is worth mentioning. It is installed on the firewall in front of the front passenger and uses the volume of the cross-member and longitudinal member as a resonance chamber. Its sound is particularly brilliant as a result.
The optional Burmester® surround sound system is tailored specifically to the interior of the GLE Coupé and comprises 13 high-end loudspeakers. They are driven by an additional amplifier with digital sound processing which produces an output of 7 x 50 watts and 2 x 120 watts and is installed on the left in the boot. The system integrates a one-way in-car communication system, which amplifies the voices of driver and front passenger for the rear passengers to be able to communicate clearly even when listening to music.
The top-of-the-range system, the Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system uses even higher-quality speakers with particularly strong and light membranes made of composite material. Additional tweeters augment the sound on both sides on the level of the beltline and from the centre of the dashboard. Four additional 3D mid-range speakers in the roof next to the B-pillars and in front of the rear-view mirror reproduce the medium frequencies and ensure an impressive surround sound. Full, powerful bass tones come not only from the Frontbass speakers, but also from an additional woofer in each side door, and particularly from a 25-litre subwoofer in the boot, which has its own 400-watt amplifier. The top-of-the-range system also has voice amplification for improved communication of all passengers.
The sound systems are configured to be able to connect mobile devices. The GLE Coupé optionally offers various charging possibilities for these, including USB ports and a charging tray in the centre console for wireless charging. It can also accommodate an optional thermal cup holder, which can heat of cool two beverage containers. Cup holders in the front and rear without thermal function are provided as standard.
Suspension and brakes: Perfect footwork
The suspension of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé adopts the three-stage line-up of the GLE SUV. The suspension is steel-sprung in the base version. AIRMATIC air suspension with the Adaptive Damping System Plus (ADS+) first presented in the GLE is optionally available. The top version is the fully active E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension on a 48-volt basis. It reduces lateral forces during cornering, detects bumps in the road before driving over them, and with the recovery mode is able to get the vehicle unstuck when it has got bogged down in the sand. The brake systems of the new GLE Coupé are significantly more powerful than before.
All the suspension versions share the same front and rear axle architecture – each is attached to a subframe and therefore doubly isolated from the body shell. The bearings of the steering arms and axle housings are larger than in previous generations. Together with more rigid points where the forces resulting from wheel responses are introduced, this considerably improves vibration and ride comfort.
The front suspension is a double wishbone axle with the upper wishbone in a high position. All transverse links and the steering knuckles are weight-optimised forged aluminium components. Their geometry introduces longitudinal and lateral forces separately – good for the driving dynamics and suspension comfort.
The four-link rear axle is an advancement of the predecessor model, is lighter and improves the ride quality, driving dynamics and vibration comfort. Its control arms are also mostly of aluminium: wheel location is by a cast aluminium lower wishbone and a forged aluminium upper strut rod, as well as an upper camber strut of sheet steel. Front and rear axle can be equipped with any of the three suspension systems and are therefore designed for the adjustable ground clearance of the air-sprung suspensions.
AIRMATIC: lots of ride heights and intelligence
The steel suspension of the coupé has a sportier and more dynamic set-up than that of the predecessor, but is still comfortable. The optional AIRMATIC air suspension is sportier than in the GLE SUV, but also offers a particularly sensitive response and not only maintains the ground clearance independent of the load, but also adapts it variably to the driving situation. It combines air suspension bellows with adaptive ADS+ dampers whose characteristics in the compression and rebound stages are controlled fully automatically at each individual wheel. A sophisticated sensor system with algorithms instantly selects the damper setting in line with the quality of the road in order to adapt the ride comfort and driving dynamics to the situation. The system also adapts the ground clearance and lowers the vehicle at higher speeds by about 15 millimetres to reduce the aerodynamic drag and increase the handling stability.
The driver is able to reduce or increase the ground clearance as well. This function is also part of some of the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, which can be selected on a redesigned control panel in the centre console or via menus on the touchscreen. This enables the driver to tailor the damping and springing to his/her preferences and the situation.
The AIRMATIC air suspension system was fitted with a closed-loop air circuit, which operates with less noise, and lowers and raises the vehicle faster. The pump is driven by a 400 W electric motor. This allows the rear end of the vehicle to be lowered or raised at the touch of a button even without the engine running.
Wide choice: drive modes for on and off-road operation
By selecting the Sport drive program, the driver can permanently lower the ground clearance by 15 mm. This lowering results in a lower centre of gravity, thus enabling higher stability and agility during cornering. In return, the standard version of AIRMATIC allows an increase in ground clearance by 50 mm, e.g. in off-road terrain.
When the driver selects the ground clearance when stationary or on the move, a control lamp on the centre console flashes until the chosen level has been reached. If a raised ground clearance is not cancelled by the driver when the vehicle is on the road, the suspension control system lowers the suspension depending on speed to ensure safe driving characteristics at all times.
AIRMATIC offers a further practical feature to facilitate loading and unloading of the luggage compartment: the rear end can be lowered by 50 mm via a separate switch in the boot. The function is however deactivated if a trailer is connected.
E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL: the ultimate SUV suspension
Even better ride comfort and agility, plus innovative functions such as recovery mode, are provided by the newly developed E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension, which is combined with the AIRMATIC air suspension and is available as an option for the six-cylinder diesel models. This is the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel, suppressing rolling, pitching and lifting movements. Together with ROAD SURFACE SCAN and the curve inclination function CURVE, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL makes an exceptional level of comfort possible and thus underscores the aspiration of Mercedes-Benz to build the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension.
E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL was developed in-house by Mercedes-Benz, has a 48 V operating voltage and an electric compressor so that no pump needs to be driven by the engine via belts. The system builds on the fully load-bearing AIRMATIC air suspension system complemented with a semi load-bearing hydraulic system. The air springs bear the base load of the vehicle body and gradually regulate the level. The hydraulics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body, e.g. during longitudinal and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads. The body no longer squats or dives during braking and accelerating. On poor road surfaces, the system is even able to recover energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared with the preceding system in the S-Class.
The active suspension also allows a very wide spread of the handling characteristics that can be set with the drive program – from the comfort of a luxury saloon to the agility of a sporty SUV. In addition, there are innovative functions:
– Curve inclination function: in CURVE drive mode, the vehicle actively leans into bends by up to 3° in three stages, similar to a motorcycle. This reduces the lateral forces acting on the occupants. Cornering is therefore made much more pleasant, especially for the front and rear passengers.
– ROAD SURFACE SCAN: if the GLE Coupé is equipped with the Driving Assistance package with stereo multi-purpose camera, it continuously monitors the road surface ahead of the vehicle. The suspension struts are then activated so as to substantially reduce the body movements when driving over surface undulations, as the suspension responds even before the uneven stretch is reached.
Another exclusive off-road function of the active suspension is the recovery mode: if the GLE Coupé has become bogged down in sand, this mode can help to get the vehicle unstuck more easily in many situations. The suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tyres and therefore improves traction – the vehicle rocks itself free.
Brake system: even larger sized
The brakes of the new GLE Coupé are a consistent evolution of those of the predecessor generation. The internally vented brake discs all around now have a diameter of 375 or optionally 400 mm at the front and 345 mm at the rear. Larger brake pads at all four wheels provide better deceleration and suffer less wear. The two-piston floating callipers of the front brakes are of larger and more rigid design. This results in shorter braking distances, better directional stability when braking and a longer service life for wear parts.
The parking brake of the new GLE Coupé is electrically operated and uses a combination brake calliper. Pressing and holding its switch on the dashboard to the left under the rotary light switch at speeds above 4 km/h triggers an emergency stop. This braking manoeuvre is not executed by the parking brake, but by the service brake and is accompanied by the activation of the hazard lights.
Wheels: large, with low rolling resistance, and aerodynamic
The newly developed wheels of the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé are the most apparent special feature of the suspension. With diameters of 19 and 20 inches for the standard rims, and 21 and 22 inches in conjunction with AMG Line exterior, they play a major role in the dynamic appearance of the vehicle. Eleven different designs offer a wide selection. Aerodynamically optimised light-alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres are available in all sizes.
Powertrain: Diesel with six cylinders or plug-in hybrid with four-cylinder diesel
The driver-focussed, sporty standards of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé are likewise clearly apparent in its engine line-up. High-torque, smooth turbodiesel engines with six cylinders and a displacement of three litres form the model range at market launch. Thanks to a high-efficiency emission control system, they comply with the limits of the Euro-6d standard.
The new in-line six-cylinder diesel is available as the GLE 350 d 4MATIC Coupé rated at 200 kW (272 hp) and 600 Nm and as the GLE 400 d 4MATIC Coupé. Rated at 243 kW (330 hp) and 700 Nm, the engine of the GLE 400 d 4MATIC Coupé is the most powerful series-production diesel SUV ever offered by Mercedes-Benz. Most of the components relevant for efficient emissions reduction are installed directly on the engine. The integrated technology approach combining the new stepped-bowl combustion process, dynamic multi-path exhaust gas recirculation and near-engine emission control system, combined for the first time with variable valve-lift control, makes further reduced consumption with low emissions possible. Thanks to the near-engine insulated configuration, the emission control system has little heat loss and very favourable operating conditions. The measures taken include
– high and low-pressure exhaust-gas recirculation including cooling,
– a diesel oxidation catalytic converter (DOC) to avoid the emission of carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC),
– a particulate filter with SCR catalytic function (sDPF),
– an SCR catalytic converter (selective catalytic reduction) for reducing nitrogen oxides. For this purpose, ammonia in the form of the carrier AdBlue® is added to the exhaust gases before entering the sDPF,
– an additional selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converter with an ammonia slip catalyst (ASC) in the exhaust tract.
The special features of the top-of-the-line engine in the premium diesel family include the stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage turbocharging and, for the first time, the use of CAMTRONIC variable valve-lift control. Its design is characterised by the combination of an aluminium engine block and steel pistons, as well as the further improved NANOSLIDE® coating of the cylinder walls.
The AdBlue® tank has a capacity of 31 litres. Refilling is convenient via a separate pipe behind the fuel filler flap.
GLE 350 de 4MATIC Coupé: the third generation of plug-in technology from Mercedes-Benz
The significantly greater range of the GLE 350 de 4MATIC Coupé compared with other plug-in hybrids points the way to an even more remarkable electric driving experience. A special rear-end design and a modified rear axle create space for the large battery. Thanks to a battery with a capacity of 31.2 kWh, it is capable of over 100 kilometres (according to NEDC) with a corresponding driving style. It also has a top speed of up to 160 km/h under electric power. Its state-of-the-art four-cylinder diesel engine is also highly efficient. The proportion of electric driving is not only increased by the long range, but also by rapid recharging en route. To this end, the SUV has a combined charging socket for alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) charging. It is located in the left side wall, symmetrical with the fuel flap on the right side of the vehicle. At corresponding DC charging stations, the battery can be charged in approx. 20 minutes (10-80 percent state of charge (SoC)) or in approx. 30 minutes (10-100 percent SoC).
– Electric range of up to 106 km (NEDC)
– Electric output 100 kW
– System output 235 kW/320 hp
– System torque 700 Nm
– Top speed of up to 160 km/h (electric)/210 km/h (overall)
– Acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds
As the largest member of the EQ Power family, the GLE 350 de 4MATIC Coupé benefits in particular from cutting-edge technology. This also includes the high potential made possible by energy recovery at all four wheels, with a maximum energy recovery torque of 1800 Nm. In this mode, many driving situations in flowing traffic can be controlled merely by operating the accelerator pedal. Only strong deceleration or decelerating to a stop require the brake pedal. The GLE Coupé has a towing capacity of up to 3500 kg also as a plug-in hybrid.
The current electric engine has been redesigned for the 9G-TRONIC plug-in hybrid drives and is designed according to the principle of a permanently excited synchronous motor as an internal rotor. The likewise new, significantly enhanced power electronics have allowed considerable increases in power and torque density. One of the greatest innovations compared with the previous version is the use of a torque converter with integrated lock-up clutch as a starting device, and an additional clutch between the combustion engine and electric motor for all-electric driving. The stator of the electric motor is permanently integrated into the traction head housing, while the rotor is between the power flow of the separating clutch and transmission input. On-demand stator and rotor cooling allows use of the electric motor’s peak and continuous output without any problems.
The high-voltage on-board electrical system supplies not only the drive components and the vacuum pump of the regenerative brake system, but also the electric refrigerant compressor and the high-voltage heater booster. Both allow pre-entry climate control of the interior not only in summer but also in winter, because they can also operate without the combustion engine.
Nine gears for comfortable and efficient gear shifts
In all variants of the new GLE Coupé, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The wide spread of gears one to nine considerably lowers the engine speeds and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. The high overall efficiency is reflected in the fuel economy. Shortened shift and response times ensure optimum spontaneity combined with outstandingly smooth gear changes. Particularly in manual mode and in S mode, the 9G-TRONIC responds immediately and enhances driving fun as a result.
The particularly good gearshifting comfort of the 9-speed automatic transmission is the result of extensive measures. These include the novel direct control system, which shifts gears in a barely perceptible and especially fast manner. The combination of twin-turbine torsional damper and centrifugal pendulum technology in the torque converter ensures outstanding drive comfort. An additional electric transmission oil pump supplies the control elements and actuators with pressure in start/stop operation to ensure immediate moving off after an engine restart.
In ECO drive mode, the gliding function assists the driver’s active fuel economy measures. When the driver’s foot leaves the accelerator, the combustion engine is decoupled from the drive system and runs at idling speed. The vehicle rolls for a measurably longer distance than when on the overrun. When the accelerator pedal is depressed, the link between the engine and drive system is re-established.
In addition to the Comfort, Eco and Off-Road drive modes, the GLE 350 de 4MATIC Coupé offers the “Electric” and “Battery Level” drive programs. Maximum electric performance can be experienced in “Electric”. The combustion engine is only started when the driver depresses the accelerator pedal past a variable, noticeable pressure point and thereby demands more power than the electric motor can provide. In the “Electric” program, the energy recovery level can also be selected via paddles behind the steering wheel. The paddles on the steering wheel enable the selection of five different recuperation levels (DAUTO, D+, D, D- and D–).
4MATIC all-wheel drive: Sensitive right foot as standard
The new GLE Coupé comes as standard with fully variable all-wheel drive (torque-on-demand), which regulates the torque distribution between front and rear axle from 0 to 100 percent. The driver can control the distribution strategy with the selection of the drive mode in DYNAMIC SELECT. Torque-on-demand in conjunction with the driving dynamics control system ensures dynamic driving fun with high safety margins on all roads and thus plays a crucial role in the special character of the new GLE Coupé as a particularly dynamic SUV. In all programs, the control system offers all the driving dynamics advantages of all-wheel drive with a high level of driving safety. In concert with the shorter wheelbase and the more direct steering, its set-up makes the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé the most agile and corner-hungry large SUV from Mercedes-Benz.
Depending on the driving situation, the transfer case can supply the front axle with the suitable, variable drive torque as required. This takes into account the driver’s wishes and the selected drive program, and physical factors such as the current yaw rate or actual traction are also considered. These are used to continuously calculate the best torque distribution, so as to transfer correspondingly more drive torque to the front axle via the multi-disc clutch in the transfer case. This makes safe and sporty handling characteristics possible even on surfaces with varying friction coefficients. In the Off-Road mode on the other hand, the all-wheel-drive performance on grass, gravel and in light terrain is increased in terms of traction. The driving dynamics do not factor in the torque distribution process.
When moving off either forwards or in reverse, torque-on-demand ensures the best possible traction even on ice and snow. During dynamic driving manoeuvres such as driving slaloms, evasive action or cornering, on the other hand, maximum lateral stability at the front axle can be assured by reducing the drive torque at these wheels. The new transfer case also has positive effects on longitudinal dynamics and ride comfort.
Especially in conjunction with the new transfer case with torque-on-demand, a clear difference between the individual on-road drive modes Eco, Comfort and Sport is perceivable and selectable by any customer. The vehicle characteristics can be varied from neutral/slight understeer right up to slight and controllable oversteer.
The plug-in hybrid adds the drive programs Electric and Battery Level for locally emission-free driving.
The modular driving dynamics control system includes the basic functions of anti-lock brake system (ABS) and acceleration skid control (ASR), as well as yaw control, configured for the special features of 4MATIC. When critical driving situations are detected by the control system, traction and handling stability are maintained or restored within the limits of physics much more rapidly and efficiently by means of braking interventions and powertrain management. When the Off-Road button is pressed, the characteristic curves are adjusted accordingly.
This gives rise to benefits in particular
– during evasive manoeuvres,
– when braking on surfaces with different left and right friction values,
– during ABS interventions on changing friction coefficients,
– when braking in bends with large changes in wheel load
The driving assistance systems and PRE-SAFE®: Guardian angels and assistants of the latest generation
The Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems providing cooperative support to the driver in the new GLE Coupé are the same as in the other models of the series and thus represent the state-of-the-art of the technological development. In concert with the further advanced PRE-SAFE® functions of this generation, they ensure a high level of safety by relieving the burden on the driver, as a contribution to the prevention of accidents, and by offering the possibility to mitigate the consequences of an accident. In addition, innovative intelligent functions provide relief in certain driving tasks that not all drivers love, such as reversing with a trailer.
On board as standard are ATTENTION ASSIST, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist and Active Brake Assist, which offers a comprehensive range of safety functions, such as:
– a distance warning from a warning lamp in the instrument cluster, if the distance from a vehicle in front is inadequate,
– an additional acoustic warning if the danger of collision is identified,
– braking assistance appropriate to the given situation as soon as the driver applies the brakes,
– autonomous emergency braking for moving, stationary or crossing vehicles ahead if the driver fails to respond,
– autonomous emergency braking also for stationary or crossing pedestrians/cyclists
A new feature of Active Brake Assist in the Driving Assistance package is the turning manoeuvre function when the driver intends to cross the oncoming lane: if there is a risk of collision with oncoming traffic when moving off, the GLE Coupé can carry out autonomous braking. Braking intervention takes place when the driver activates the turn signal indicator signalling an intention to turn off, and the vehicle can be braked to a standstill before passing over the lane marking. If the driver does not, no braking takes place, so as to enable the GLE Coupé to leave the oncoming lane swiftly. Oncoming vehicles are detected via an intelligent fusion of radar and camera signals.
Motorway driving without stress
Anyone driving on the motorway a lot is often stuck in traffic and nobody likes it. The Driving Assistance package of the new GLE Coupé contains several functions at once that can alleviate this unpleasant situation. The tailback management on motorways starts already before there is a tailback, comprises help in stop-and-go traffic and even after the traffic obstruction is gone.
When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is active, the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé is able to respond to Live Traffic info – ideally before the driver or the radar and camera sensors detect the hold-up or hazard. When a tailback is detected, the speed is reduced to approx. 100 km/h as a precaution unless the driver specifically decides otherwise.
When actually driving in a tailback, Active Stop-and-Go Assist can markedly reduce the driver’s workload: where there are lane markings, the system is able to substantially perform the tasks of keeping in lane and maintaining the safety distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 60 km/h. The vehicle can move off again automatically up to one minute after coming to a stop.
To recognise tailbacks, Active Stop-and-Go Assist evaluates the road category, speed and distances from vehicles travelling ahead and in adjacent lanes. In addition to the stereo multi-purpose camera (SMPC) and long-range radar, it uses the front multi-mode corner radar sensors for environment recognition. If Active Steering Assist and Active Distance Assist are activated, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is switched on automatically when a motorway tailback is recognised. This is indicated by “Stop-and-Go Assist active” in the instrument cluster. As soon as Stop-and-Go Assist is active and the vehicle is moving in a tailback, a tailback symbol is added to the “green steering wheel” symbol of Active Steering Assist in the instrument cluster.
Active Steering Assist assists in forming an emergency lane
On multi-lane roads, Active Steering Assist is able to support the driver with the emergency corridor function. On motorways, at speeds under 60 km/h the vehicle refers to detected lane markings and applies swarm intelligence to take its bearings from vehicles in the surrounding area. If no such vehicles or markings are detected, the GLE Coupé will take its bearings from the vehicle ahead, as previously.
It is not only by providing driver support in tailbacks that Mercedes-Benz is expanding Intelligent Drive and is taking another major step towards autonomous driving. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver in keeping a safe distance and steering. The speed is automatically adapted ahead of bends or junctions and with Active Speed Limit Assist, identified speed restrictions are adopted automatically and in anticipatory mode. In addition, there is Active Lane Change Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist and Evasive Steering Assist.
The new GLE Coupé has further assistance systems in addition:
– Active Blind Spot Assist with exit warning, which is able to warn of bicycles and vehicles in the danger zone next to the vehicle and can prevent side-by-side collisions while driving by means of one-sided brake intervention or can mitigate their severity.
– Active Lane Change Assist: on multi-lane roads (recognised by the navigation system) at speeds from 80 to 180 km/h, it is sufficient to tap the indicator to activate the assistance. Within the next ten seconds, the sensor system together with the driver checks whether the adjacent lane is clear in front of, next to and behind the vehicle, also taking into account the speed of other vehicles (the system is available in selected countries depending on the eligibility for certification).
– Active Emergency Stop Assist: Active Emergency Stop Assist brakes the vehicle to a standstill in its lane if it detects that the driver is no longer actively driving the vehicle while it is on the move with Active Steering Assist switched on. If the driver fails to respond after repeated visual and acoustic warnings by turning the steering wheel, accelerating, braking or operating the Touch Control or other buttons on the steering wheel, the vehicle is slowed down in the identified lane until it comes to a stop, and warns the traffic behind by switching on the hazard lights. Once stationary, the parking brake is engaged automatically and the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated automatically after ten seconds. The vehicle is also unlocked, to allow first responders access to the interior. The entire process is aborted the moment the driver intervenes in any way.
– Evasive Steering Assist: within a speed range from 20 to 70 km/h, Evasive Steering Assist can help the driver to avoid a pedestrian detected by the assistance system using the radar sensors and stereo multi-purpose camera. The driver must take the initiative, which he/she does with a steering movement to start an evasive manoeuvre. The system assists in the evade request by introducing precisely calculated additional steering torque moments into the steering system. They help to evade the pedestrian in a controlled fashion and facilitate straightening out the vehicle afterwards. The driver receives noticeable support, but is not surprised by an automatic evasive manoeuvre that could lead him/her to a wrong intuitive reaction.
– Traffic Sign Assist: thanks to image recognition and information from the digital road map of the navigation system, the permitted maximum speed and any restrictions on overtaking for the current route section are shown in the instrument cluster. Additional restrictions such as speed limits in wet conditions (warning when the windscreen wipers are switched on) or speed limits for trucks only are also taken into account or ignored as appropriate in the individual case concerned. The vehicle speed is compared with the speed limit. If set to do so by the driver, a visual/visual-audible warning is given if the speed limit is exceeded. In addition, with HDD navigation installed, no-entry signs are recognised and the driver is prompted to check his/her direction of travel. When Traffic Sign Assist is ordered as part of the Driving Assistance package, a warning additionally appears in the instrument cluster and on the head-up display if people are detected in the area of zebra crossings. Traffic Sign Assist is also available separately from the assistance package.
Active Speed Limit Assist: in conjunction with MBUX and the Driving Assistance package, Active Speed Limit Assist, a selectable sub-function of Traffic Sign Assist, is also able to recognise sign gantries and road works signs captured by camera. Known limits, such as 50 km/h in built-up areas or 100 km/h on country roads, are also adopted from the navigation system. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC adapts the vehicle’s speed to the recognised speed limits automatically (in combination with navigation and traffic sign recognition). In this case, the speed can be adapted in anticipatory fashion based on map data when entering towns. On roads without speed limits, such as stretches on German motorways, the recommended speed – in this case 130 km/h – is adopted as the set speed. This speed can be adjusted by the driver. The desired maximum speed is always adopted in the course of the journey when the speed limit is cancelled. It remains preset until the vehicle leaves the motorway or until the engine is switched off.
Easier parking and manoeuvring with and without trailer: further optional assistance systems
Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC assists the driver when searching for a parking space and when entering or leaving parallel or end-on parking spaces. In the case of end-on parking spaces it is active in both forward and reverse direction. As part of the process, acceleration, braking and also gear-changing are automatic. In combination with Blind Spot Assist, the system can warn the driver of crossing traffic when reversing out of end-on parking spaces, and also initiate automatic braking if necessary. Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC gives a visual and acoustic warning of detected obstacles with the help of six ultrasound sensors in each bumper. These can be in front of, to the side or behind the vehicle, and are detected at speeds up to approx. 10 km/h.
The Parking package with reversing camera combines Active Parking Assist with a reversing camera in the boot lid. Its image is shown with superimposed guide lines in the media display. The reversing camera in the hinged Mercedes star on the tailgate is part of the standard specification of the GLE Coupé.
The Parking package with 360° camera provides an all-round view using four networked close-range cameras in the radiator grille, in the release handle of the tailgate located behind the hinged Mercedes star, as well as in the exterior mirror housings. The information is clearly presented in selectable views on the media display.
These four cameras are also used by Trailer Manoeuvring Assist. This makes manoeuvring with a trailer easy even for the inexperienced. In conjunction with the Parking package, hitching up a trailer is convenient even without outside help: lining up with the drawbar is done with the help of the reversing camera, which has a zoom mode for the purpose so as to show in close-up where the drawbar and ball neck are in relation to each other. Once the combination is hitched, briefly driving straight ahead calibrates Trailer Manoeuvring Assist with jack-knife protection.
Trailer Manoeuvring Assist can set the articulation angle specified by the driver up to a limited speed of 7 km/h. An articulation angle sensor in the ball neck of the trailer coupling supplies the necessary information. (A fully electric trailer coupling is available for the European market. Using buttons in the tailgate or driver’s door, the ball neck including the socket for the trailer electrics swings up from under the vehicle and automatically engages in its operating position. After its use, it disappears back into its rest position behind the bumper equally effortlessly.)
When a trailer has been hitched up and connected, Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is activated when at standstill by engaging reverse gear and pressing the Parking button to the left of the touchpad in the centre console, and works at speeds up to 8 km/h and even on uphill gradients up to 15%. Trailer Manoeuvring Assist can be intuitively operated via the MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – infotainment system: using the media display or the touchpad in the centre console, the driver only needs to select the required manoeuvre (indicating the direction by entering the desired articulation angle or selecting the “Straighten out” function). The manoeuvre can then be monitored from different camera angles. Dynamic guide lines show the trajectory, vehicle width and distance from recognised objects.
All-round protection when the worst happens
For many years PRE-SAFE®, the preventive occupant protection system, has supplemented the classic design measures. The result is all-round protection that commences well before an accident and is still effective afterwards, as in the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé. The extensive driving assistance systems, as well as the sophisticated crash sensor system, enable PRE-SAFE® to mitigate the effects of an impact regarded as probable even before the impact itself, with a precisely coordinated response by the restraint systems and a number of other measures. The scenarios to which PRE-SAFE® can respond and the parameters relevant to them have been further expanded in the new GLE Coupé. The system is now able to
– recognise a critical situation by the way in which the driver’s foot moves from the accelerator to the brake pedal,
– assess critical steering movements even at low speeds,
– take intervention by Crosswind Assist into account and
– include an impending side-on impact, for example accidents at junctions, with the help of the close-range radar sensors
Depending on the situation and equipment level, the seat belts of the driver and front passenger can be tensioned, the seat unit of the front passenger brought to a more favourable position (if the front passenger seat has the memory function) and the side windows and panoramic roof closed. These measures are reversible – if it is still possible to avoid the accident, the system is immediately ready to go into action again.
Even more precautions: PRE-SAFE® PLUS, PRE-SAFE® Sound and PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side
PRE-SAFE® PLUS: when a sustained danger of collisions applies, this system can warn any following vehicles which are approaching too fast by quickly flashing the rear hazard warning lamps, initiate the belt tensioning function and lock the stationary vehicle’s brakes in anticipation of a rear-end collision in order to minimise the risk of injury by reducing the forward jolt resulting from impact.
A new feature in the GLE Coupé is the PRE-SAFE® Sound occupant preconditioning as standard. The noise generated by a severe collision can lead to auditory damage in individuals with sensitive hearing. The system is able to prevent this. When an impending impact is detected, the vehicle’s sound system emits a noise signal to prepare the hearing of the occupants. This is able to activate a natural reflex: the stapedius muscle in the inner ear contracts, damping the noise reaching the inner ear.
When the outer radar sensors in the front bumper detect an unavoidable side-on collision, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, a component of the Driving Assistance package Plus, gives the driver or front passenger a push away from the side of the impending impact. An actuator in the seat side bolster is rapidly inflated by a gas cartridge, and gently pushes the upper body of the seat occupant away from the impact side. The distance from the door is increased, and the speed difference with which the side structure impacts the occupant is reduced. Both can reduce the risk of particularly serious injuries.
Body shell: Weighty advantages, lightweight design
The body shell of the new GLE Coupé largely shares its structure with the GLE SUV. The development focused on the high requirements on the rigidity of the body shell and on the noise insulation, which benefit the handling, safety and comfort. A host of lightweight construction measures were employed in order to keep the vehicle weight as low as possible at the same time.
For certain assemblies, the body shell of the new GLE Coupé combines high-strength sheet steel with lightweight materials such as aluminium where they achieve the desired characteristics. The bonnet and front wings are made of sheet aluminium, the strut towers at the front and rear axles are made of die-cast aluminium, and the side members at the rear are in part reinforced with die-cast aluminium. All components are sized optimally in order to achieve the desired strength at a low weight.
The floorpan of the passenger cell uses a so-called tailored rolled blank. These metal sheets are rolled to different thicknesses, so that the finished stamped component has the ideal wall thickness in every area. Large wall thicknesses only occur where they are really needed, e.g. in the area of the transmission tunnel that forms the backbone of the floorpan and greatly influences the rigidity of the body shell in a crash.
The main differences of the body shell structure of the coupé are the wheelbase shorter by 60 mm, and the larger tailgate. Because the latter has a larger cross-section than that of the SUV, the coupé is fitted with additional structural foams in the rear roof frame, which increase the torsional rigidity. The floorpan and the rear end of the plug-in hybrid variant were reinforced further in light of the weight of the battery and in order to protect it from damage in a crash.
For the greatest possible rigidity, the body shell components are for the most part bonded and spot-welded, and the flanges connecting the parts are designed to allow joining with minimal tension so that tolerances between the panels are compensated during assembly.
A haven of quiet
The rigidity of the body shell structure of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé is a key reason for the high level of noise and vibration comfort. It ensures that the typical excitation frequencies of wheels and powertrain can be dampened effectively and do not produce resonance vibrations. The load application points at the bearings of the powertrain and the axle carrier newly developed from scratch have a particularly rigid design and a new geometry. This means that these assemblies and their vibrations are very effectively isolated from the body shell.
The dampening of sound transmitted from the powertrain to the passenger cell has also been optimised. The firewall insulation to the engine bay is injection moulded rather than deep drawn and its wall thicknesses and basis weights are dimensioned to ensure that there are no acoustic weak points, but also to avoid dragging around unnecessary weight. The same is true for the insulation on the vehicle floor and the wheel arches. The measures are rounded off by insulation membranes, foamed-filled cavities and vibration-damping vehicle carpets.
The quiet is even more pronounced in the GLE Coupé when the optional Acoustics Comfort package is ordered. This includes laminated safety glass with a sound and infrared-absorbing membrane, as well as numerous additional insulation measures right up to special tyres. They are fitted with a layer of foam on the inside of the treads to absorb low-frequency noises originating in the tyre itself, and reduce the rolling noise.
Crash safety up to the latest standards
Protecting the occupants from the consequences of an accident is one of the most important development goals of Mercedes-Benz. In-house safety standards are applied in all models which in many cases go well beyond the legal requirements. Especially the crash-related requirements are aligned to the so-called Real Life Safety philosophy. These take findings from in-house accident research into account in the development specifications, e.g. the roof drop test. Alongside verification of crash behaviour, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles undergo additional component tests at system level. For many years PRE-SAFE®, the preventive occupant protection system, has supplemented the classic design measures. The result is all-round protection that commences well before an accident and is still effective afterwards, as in the new GLE Coupé.
The basis for occupant protection is the body structure with a particularly rigid passenger cell, whose strength is suited to the deformation resistance of the front-end and rear-end structures. To this end all structures within the vehicle body are optimised in terms of dimensions and materials, either by virtue of material strength or the wall thickness of the panels. This gives the occupants sufficient protective space and protects them from excessive deceleration forces, which are as far as possible reduced by intelligently responding restraint systems.
In addition to the passenger cell, the area of the body structure that accommodates the fuel tank is of particularly rigid design to limit the consequences of a serious collision. To this end, the new GLE Coupé has die-cast aluminium components with steel inserts which limit deformation of this area in front of the rear axle even in very severe accidents. The transmission tunnel and rear end are constructed even more rigidly for the battery of the plug-in hybrid.
Restraint systems: state-of-the-art belts and airbags
The GLE Coupé has three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters on all outer seats. The centre belt in the second row is a standard three-point seat belt. In addition, reversible PRE-SAFE® reel tensioners are available for the front seats, so that the belts can be pre-tensioned as a precaution in certain hazardous situations. For child seats, the two outer rear seats have anchorages for i-Size or ISOFIX child seat attachment systems, depending on the country.
For severe frontal collisions, the airbags in the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé include a knee airbag for the driver, a driver airbag and a front passenger airbag. As standard, a sensor system in the front passenger seat automatically deactivates the front passenger airbag when a rear-facing child seat or an unoccupied seat is detected. The window airbags can also be activated in a frontal collision involving a lateral component.
During a severe lateral collision, only the airbags on the impact side are normally activated: Window airbags are available as a head protection system extending down from the roof to cover the side windows between the A, B and C-pillars. This enables the passengers on the outer rear seats to be protected as well. Combined thorax-pelvis side airbags are also available for the driver and front passenger, and optionally also side airbags for the outer rear seats.
In addition the airbag control unit is equipped with rollover sensors. These can activate belt tensioners and window airbags for example when a rollover is detected.
Production Made in Tuscaloosa
The history of premium SUVs from Mercedes-Benz is also the history of the plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Since 1995, Daimler has invested more than six billion dollars in this location in the southern USA, and has produced more than three million vehicles since 1997, of which two thirds were exported. Tuscaloosa is the only production location for the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé. The GLE and the GLS are also produced here, as is the C-Class Saloon for the North-American market.
Daimler’s history in the USA goes back to the year 1888, when the first distributorship in the United States was founded, and since 1981 it has also included the heavy-duty trucks of the American icon Freightliner. However, the major strategic decision to produce passenger cars in the USA was closely allied to the introduction of the large SUVs, for which the American market is by far the most important worldwide. The Tuscaloosa plant and the M-Class were therefore two parts of one and the same decision announced in April 1993: the history of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. – MBUSI for short – had begun.
The plant was completed in July 1996, and production of the first M-Class commenced in the following year. Daimler took its corporate culture to the USA with thorough preparatory training and education. The originally planned production output of 65,000 units quickly became more. In recent years over 300,000 vehicles have rolled off the production lines in Tuscaloosa. Well over three million vehicles have left the plant since 1997. Around two thirds of the installed parts and components come from North American suppliers. Some two thirds of the SUVs produced in Alabama are exported from the USA. This makes MBUSI the second-largest car exporter in the USA.