E-Active Body Control enables the new GLE to reach an high level of comfort

Perhaps the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension

“The best or nothing.” The Mercedes-Benz brand claim obviously leaves little room for interpretation. Especially when it comes to comfort, the engineers from Swabia don’t do things by halves. With the newly developed active suspension “E-Active Body Control” in the GLE, Mercedes-Benz raises the level of comfort to a new level. The active suspension struts that we developed jointly with Mercedes-Benz contribute significantly to the performance of the suspension.

With the active suspension optionally available for the Mercedes-Benz GLE, it’s not just the spring and damper forces on each wheel that can be individually controlled. The system also allows for the active stimulation or stabilisation of the vehicle structure with the shock absorbers. “It’s like a combination of a conventional controlled shock absorber and an active hydraulic cylinder”, explains Klaus Schmidt, responsible at thyssenkrupp Bilstein for Innovation & Base Engineering.

The integration of so-called gas bags is also unique. This is a joint development by Daimler, thyssenkrupp Bilstein and other partners, which won an Automotive Award 2019 from the Internationale Gesellschaft für Kunststofftechnik in October: The gas bag received the Grand Award for development, receiving the most points from the panel members. The gas bag is an elementary component of “E-Active Body Control”. The newly developed multi-layer composite film features very low nitrogen permeability, reliably separates oil and gas spaces and ensures maximum gas tightness with outstanding mechanical and chemical stability.

Each wheel is fitted with a damper inside the axle, which has an adjustable damping valve and a hydraulic accumulator on both working chambers. The damper is connected to a motor-pump unit via hydraulic pipes. By controlling the motor-pump unit, oil is displaced in such a way that a pressure difference is created within the damper, which quickly builds up an active force.

“The main focus of the suspension is really on optimising comfort. However, it also offers dynamic advantages over the standard suspension,” explains Hassel. The BILSTEIN expert is particularly impressed by the special curve tilting function: In “Curve” driving mode, the GLE actively tilts in three stages, similar to a motorcycle. “By actively stimulating the body, this curve function, when activated, raises the suspension springs on the outside of the curve when cornering to minimise centrifugal forces on the passengers,” says Hassel from our Road Trial division. “The Curve function is an add-on that has only become possible with the active shock absorbers”.

Thanks to a special camera, another innovative feature is possible, the so-called “Road Surface Scan”: the suspension reacts to bumps detected by the camera, controls the active suspension struts and largely compensates for unevenness when driving over.

Adrian Hassel sums it up: “The system can be used to stabilise the bodywork when cornering, driving dynamically around bends or simply straight ahead on uneven roads in order to minimise the acceleration on the passengers”.

Together with the “Road Surface Scan” and the “Curve” function, “E-Active Body Control” enables a truly extraordinarily high level of comfort – thus emphasising Mercedes-Benz’s claim to the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension.

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