Certain things seem too good to be true. I never forgot when the 1,000 watt light bulb exploded over my head when the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE launched and I realized that Free Driving Assist – the luxury SUV’s ability to bounce up and down around itself clearing sand or snow – this can be used on dry roads pretty much whenever you want, provided the vehicle conforms to the system’s operating parameters (i.e., low speed or stationary).
Mercedes PR pros weren’t too hpy at the time, but I didn’t let that stop me from shooting half a dozen GLE-class Bouncy Bounce videos for Instagram. “They’ll be very popular in East LA,” I said to the German engineer who developed the high-speed hydraulic pumps that make E-ABC (E-Active Body Control, also known as Bouncy Actuators) work. “Why,” he replied with a smile in his young German eyes. “Do you have a lot of off-roading in East Los Angeles?”
At $ 8,200, E-ABC isn’t a problem. That’s way more than the $ 1,710 Airmatic air spring option, which frankly runs 85 to 90 percent as smoothly as E-ABC. Sure, you’ll lose the cornering mode – which keeps the beefy SUV flat when cornering – and the ability to drive off-road in East LA, or the kind of cute tandem owner-vehicle dance moves in the video above that shows the E-ABC -System is shown work.
But most customers don’t care. Americans don’t order cars either. We show up at dealerships, demand that we pay under the bill for everything they’re lying around in the showroom, and then curse the whole process for the next 84 months. The point is that American Mercedes Dealers did not order any GLE’s with E-ABC. Mercedes-Benz North America has therefore completely discontinued the system as an option for the GLE-Class from model year 2021 and limited eABC only to the three-row, three-row GLS580 with V-8 drive. No more jumping six-cylinder or GLE Benzes.
We asked Mercedes-Benz for a comment and received the following:
“We are constantly evaluating our portfolio to ensure that we are simplifying the ordering process for our dealers and customers. We have decided to continue to offer eABC as an option in the GLS 580 and as a standard in the GLS 600 Maybach, but have removed the option from the GLE / GLS450 due to low recording rates. “
Additionally, MB added, “The technology is used in sedans like the S-Class and S-Class Maybach, but sedans don’t have the bouncy bounce mode you love.”
If we interpret this correctly, Mercedes is saying it’s possible to make E-ABC bounce a Maybach S650, but there’s no practical reason for the sedan to have such a capability, so Benz passed it on. Does someone else suddenly feel like chopping a Maybach to make it bounce?
As for deleting E-ABC from the GLE, it feels like a huge loss. Can you really give a price to the smile my four year old makes when I start bouncing the Benz in the Starbucks transit? No you can not. I have the adult option in the room but I don’t like it. That is, the still bouncing Mercedes-Benz GLE450 MotorTrend As for a long-term test evaluation, it has now become much more difficult to give something back!