Mercedes' latest GLE melds tech with a super-smooth ride

It's the only SUV that melds active and air suspension to reduce pitching.

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The EQC isn't Mercedes' only tech-heavy SUV launching in the near future. The brand has taken the wraps off a new version of the GLE where the technology matters as much with what you don't notice as what you do. It's billed as the first vehicle to combine a "fully networked," 48-volt active suspension with air suspension, giving it the unique ability to control damping and spring forces at each wheel. It'll not only counteract body roll, but pitching and squat motions. Your passengers should be that less likely to spill their drinks after a bump.

Gallery: New Mercedes-Benz GLE | 69 Photos


You'll see a lot of tech inside the cabin as well. It includes the MBUX media system you saw in the A-Class, but this time you'll experience it through two side-by-side 12.3-inch screens. As you might expect, that includes "hey, Mercedes" voice controls as well as motion recognition that both changes the interface on proximity and recognizes basic hand gestures.

This being 2018, you'll get hybrid options as well as plenty of assists. The GLE 450 4MATIC backs its 367HP six-cylinder engine with a 22HP EQ Boost electric motor, and a plug-in hybrid is on the roadmap. The active assistance now knows how to deal with tailbacks (i.e. congested lines of traffic), kicking in as you come up behind the last car and coping with stop-and-go traffic. An active braking assist can slow you down at appropriate speeds when turning off a highway, while a blind spot aid warns you when someone's creeping up (including when you're getting out of the car). Europeans have the option of a trailer assist that makes reversing easier for newcomers.

Mercedes hasn't divulged pricing for the new GLE, but it'll start reaching American dealerships in spring 2019. The existing model starts at $52,200, so we'd expect its successor to cost roughly as much or more.

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