Perhaps the smartest SUV suspension in the world

“The best or nothing.” The brand claim of Mercedes-Benz obviously leaves little room for interpretation. Especially in terms of comfort the Swabians do not do things by halves. With the newly developed active chassis “E-Active Body Control” in the GLE, Mercedes-Benz takes the comfort level to a new level. A significant contribution to the performance of the chassis is provided by the active suspension struts we have developed together with Mercedes-Benz.

With the optional active suspension available for the Mercedes-Benz GLE, not only the spring and damper forces on each wheel can be individually controlled. The system also makes it possible to actively stimulate or stabilize the structure of the vehicle with the shock absorbers. “It’s a combination of a conventional regulated shock absorber and an active hydraulic cylinder,” explains Klaus Schmidt, who is responsible for innovation & base engineering at thyssenkrupp BILSTEIN.

Also unique is the integration of so-called gasbags. This is a joint development of Daimler, thyssenkrupp BILSTEIN and other partners, which was honored in October by the International Plastics Technology Society with an Automotive Award 2019: The Gasbag received the Gran Award for development with the most points of the jurors. The gasbag is an elementary component of “E-Active Body Control”. The newly developed, multilayer composite film features a very low nitrogen permeability, thus reliably separating oil and gas spaces and ensuring maximum gas tightness with excellent mechanical and chemical stability.

“The main focus of the suspension is really on comfort optimization. However, it also offers dynamic advantages over standard undercarriages,” explains Adrian Hassel from our Driving Test department. The BILSTEIN expert is particularly impressed by the special curve tilting function: In “Curve” driving mode, the GLE tilts actively in three stages similar to a motorbike. “By being able to actively energize the bodywork, this Curve function, when activated, raises the outside of the curve while cornering to minimize centrifugal forces on the occupants of the vehicle,” says Hassel. “The Curve function is an add-on that has become possible with the active shock absorbers.”

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

Adrian Hassel sums up; “You can stabilize the system with cornering, dynamic cornering, or just driving straight ahead on rough roads to minimize acceleration on the occupants.”

Together with “Road Surface Scan” and the “Curve” curve tilting function, “E-Active Body Control” enables an unusually high level of comfort – underscoring Mercedes-Benz’s claim to build the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension.