We took the new Mercedes-Benz GLE 4Matic offroad

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Mercedes Benz launched its next-gen GLE 4Matic range in South Africa this week, and as with many new cars, it’s packed full of some of the coolest tech you’ll find in a car. The new GLE comes in three variations, the 300d (which has a 2-litre turbodiesel drivetrain), the 400d (fitted with a 3-litre turbodiesel) and the 450 AMG (with a 3-litre V6 petrol engine).

One of our favourite features is the active suspension system called E-Active body control. This optional feature manages the suspension individually. In other words, it controls the spring and damping force of each wheel separately according to road conditions. We saw this in action while taking the SUV onto some rocky terrain. 

Down to the details

The interior is extremely spacious and comfortable, as you’d expect from a top of the range SUV. This gen comes with the option of a third seat row available on request, which we couldn’t really test out, but we’re guessing it is ideal for larger families.  What we did get to test, however, was its bundu-bashing capabilities…

Let’s get down to the tech – the GLE is fitted with the latest MBUX system (Mercedes Benz User Experience). It’s all built into the double 12.3in displays up front and features a (very accurate) voice assistant, as well as automated seat adjustment and 360-camera views of the car. The MBUX Interior Assist can also detect hand and arm movements to assist with certain functions. 

The 450 AMG 4Matic features an integrated starter/alternator (ISG) that incorporates hybrid-like functions into the six-cylinder engine. The drivetrain is electrified with 48V, but it’s not an actual hybrid-engine. It features EQ Boost or energy recuperation when braking, like you’d get in electric vehicles. This allows for fuel-saving and power-allocation to systems that need it less or more — something previously only used in EVs and hybrids. 

Another feature South Africans will especially enjoy is the new Trailer Manoeuvring Assist. This brings up a rear-camera as well as a render of the actual trailer behind the car on the heads-up display, which allows the driver to easily manoeuvre the attached trailer or caravan. Or a boat, if that floats your boat. The built-in assistant will also help to actively control the trailer by controlling the steering angle. 

The new GLE range does come at quite a price though, but let’s just say that if you can afford a boat to tow, you can probs afford one of these machines. The GLE 300d starts at R1,210,500, while the 400d will cost R1,351,200 and the 450 AMG is priced at R1,329,400. All of them can be specced according to your needs, including the extra row of seats, MBUX requirements and the addition of E-Active body control.

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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