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Mercedes-Benz GLE loses its remarkable E-Active Body Control suspension option

Mercedes’ trick E-Active Body Control suspension system is no longer available in the GLE-Class, Motor Trend reports. It will still be offered in the Mercedes-Benz GLS, but only on the V8-equipped GLS 580 and GLS 600 Maybach (where it’s standard). The suspension system will no longer be available with the six-cylinder GLS 450. Meanwhile, the GLE will need to make do with Mercedes’ more run-of-the-mill air suspension.

“We constantly evaluate our portfolio to ensure we simplify the ordering process for our dealers and customers,” Mercedes told Motor Trend. “We’ve decided to continue offering eABC as an option in the GLS 580 and standard on the GLS 600 Maybach, but have removed the option from the GLE/GLS450 as a result of low take rates.”

That last bit explains why Mercedes is culling the herd of cars with E-Active Body Control. Apparently, very few customers were interested in paying the premium — currently $6,500 on the GLS 580 — for the remarkable technology. 

The ultimate benefit to the optional suspension is a smoother ride, elimination of pitch, squat and roll, plus some entertaining off-road abilities. It’s most recognizable from the “Free Driving Assist” mode, which will literally bounce the car up and down to help it get unstuck from deep sand. In reality, it’s most likely being used to entertain your passengers as you drive around on pavement, bouncing at stoplights and through crawling city traffic.

Motor Trend’s report also confirmed that the E-Active Body Control is still on for the new S-Class. However, we already knew it wouldn’t take advantage of the off-roading modes, so that means no bouncing.

The E-Active Body Control option for the GLE is on a path of being something special and rare on the used market. Mercedes only sold it for one model year, and it appears that the car in that spec wasn’t very popular anyway. We’ll miss the magic carpet smooth ride that it comes with, though the traditional air suspension option isn’t a horrible downgrade. More than anything, we’ll miss its ability to freakily tip itself into corners like a boat on water, along with its astonishing resistance to unwanted body motions. And the bouncing. Don’t forget the bouncing. 

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