Drive system and suspension: Sport programme: DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL or AIR BODY CONTROL

Jul 6, 2016

The new GLC Coupé comes as standard with sports suspension including DYNAMIC SELECT with the five transmission modes ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and INDIVIDUAL. DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL sports suspension with steel springing and adjustable damping is optionally available. Also with this option, DYNAMIC SELECT allows the driver to adapt the individual character of the vehicle.

Uniquely in this market segment, the suspension can be equipped with fully supporting multi-chamber springing and electronically controlled, continuously adjustable damping. The AIR BODY CONTROL air suspension combines excellent driving stability and optimal comfort with sporty agility. Specific characteristics are preselected depending on the DYNAMIC SELECT settings. In SPORT+ mode, the occupants feel as if they are sitting in a sports car with a high level of lateral dynamics due to the even tauter connection to the chassis, which is lowered by 15 millimetres. COMFORT mode makes for an especially comfortable ride with soft suspension. To ensure maximum possible driving safety also in this mode, the spring/damper forces are instantaneously adjusted, for example in case of a sudden evasive manoeuvre. Further benefits of the system include reduced roll when cornering, automatic load sensing and lowering of the load compartment sill by 4 centimetres for more convenient loading and unloading.

Another key parameter for the sporty characteristics of the GLC Coupé compared with the classic GLC SUV is the retuned Direct-Steer system, which, with 15.1:1 (GLC: 16.1:1), offers a more direct steering ratio together with even sportier characteristics of the power assistance in the SPORT and SPORT+ modes.

Its suspension positions the GLC Coupé at the pinnacle of the market segment. Numerous design measures have led to a further improvement in suspension and ride comfort accompanied by excellent driving dynamics and agility. These include above all the four-link front axle, larger wheels at the front and rear plus bigger tyre dimensions up to 50.8 cm (20 inches). The elastokinematics have also been optimised, and the use of numerous aluminium components on the front axle and the five-link rear axle has resulted in weight savings while at the same time enhancing stability.

As standard the GLC Coupé offers a sports suspension with more robust springing and a reduced tendency to roll. Things get even sportier with the DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL, without neglecting the hallmark brand comfort. The steel suspension with steplessly variable damping puts in a convincing performance interacting with the ECO, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and INDIVIDUAL drive programs and offers optimum prerequisites for impressive driving experiences ranging from sharply direct to gently dignified.

AIR BODY CONTROL with ADS PLUS: innovative air travel

The GLC is the sole model in this market segment to offer the option of fitting the chassis with a full-support multi-chamber air suspension system and the electronically controlled, continuously adjustable Adaptive Damping System Plus (ADS PLUS). Thanks to adaptation of the spring rate and damping characteristics, this configuration combines excellent driving stability and sporty agility with optimum comfort and outstanding off-road capabilities.

The air springs at the front and rear axle boast higher volumes, which can be switched on and off via solenoid valves depending on the driving situation. This results in different spring rates. The necessary spread from soft basic springing for cruising that is as comfortable as possible through to sporty tuning is thus facilitated. If one wanted to transfer this level of flexibility to a vehicle with a conventional steel suspension, this would mean that, for example, the material thickness of the coil springs would need to be constantly varied. Fully automatically, within milliseconds and from many thousands of options, AIR BODY CONTROL therefore always selects the best possible spring set-up for the relevant conditions.

A similar principle applies to the Adaptive Damping System ADS PLUS. Here the setting continuously controls the respective optimum damping characteristics. ADS PLUS and AIR BODY CONTROL are networked by an innovative, integrated control concept. Thanks to this networking and extremely short response times of around 60 milliseconds, very high driving dynamics are achieved without compromising comfort. During evasive manoeuvres in COMFORT mode, for example, the spring and damping forces are instantly increased to optimise roll control and therefore handling stability.

Further benefits of AIR BODY CONTROL include reduced roll during cornering, automatic level control and lowering of the load compartment sill by 40 mm for convenient loading and unloading.

Ingenious combination: DYNAMIC SELECT and AIR BODY CONTROL

Specific characteristics are preselected according to the settings of the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling program. In SPORT+ mode the GLC Coupé's occupants feel as if they are sitting in a sports car with a high level of lateral dynamics due to the tauter connection to the chassis, which is lowered by 15 millimetres. Comfort mode offers the very opposite ride experience, focussing on particularly comfortable running with soft connection of the chassis. The new GLC Coupé offers the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control with five driving programs as standard:

  • ECO - places the emphasis on energy-efficient driving, with sailing function and ECO display in support of the most fuel-efficient driving style
  • COMFORT - well-balanced driving mode, with comfortable suspension tuning, fuel-efficient set-up for the drive system
  • SPORT - more direct response of engine and automatic transmission and more progressive steering characteristics support a sporty driving style, additionally taut, sporty suspension configuration in conjunction with DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL or AIR BODY CONTROL and ADS PLUS. Lowering of the driving level by 15 mm when fitted with AIR BODY CONTROL
  • SPORT+ - even more direct response for maximum longitudinal and lateral dynamics, powertrain is tuned with the emphasis firmly on driving dynamics for high agility, suspension level is lowered by 15 mm if AIR BODY CONTROL has been ordered
  • INDIVIDUAL - configuration according to personal preferences, within the bounds of combinations providing for safe and effective driving dynamics The COMFORT, SPORT and ECO settings for drive system, suspension and steering can be activated and combined according to personal preferences.

All DYNAMIC SELECT modes are individually visualised on the central media display.

4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive: the prime mover for excellent driving dynamics                                                                    

Also as standard, all models (except GLC 350 e 4MATIC Coupé) offer the nine-stage automatic transmission 9G-TRONIC. Depending on the mode selected for the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control, the automatic transmission with a torque converter boasts great agility and responsiveness or poised composure. The potential of the transmission is exploited to the full. It offers an enjoyably high shift speed and perfect transitions for energetic sprinting as well as gentle, barely perceptible gear changes for enjoyable cruising.

The development engineers have fully revised the design of 4MATIC permanent all‑wheel drive in combination with 9G-TRONIC. In contrast to the former configuration, the single-stage transfer case is no longer integrated into the automatic transmission, but rather flange-mounted on the 9G-TRONIC as a separate system. This solution known as an "add-on" combines the advantages of both concepts and results in increased efficiency. The new all-wheel-drive powertrain features the same compact design as with the previous, integrated solution, offers 50 newton metres of pre-lock torque and allocates the drive torque to the front and rear axles with a 45:55 split via a planetary differential. The add-on design also offers the following advantages:

  • Enhanced performance - use of particularly torquey engines possible 
  • Separate oil circuits - lubricant properties tailored specifically to the 9G‑TRONIC and the transfer case, resulting in less wear and enhanced NVH comfort as a result of reduced friction loss
  • Weight advantage - magnesium housing of the 9G-TRONIC is retained with the add-on solution, resulting in weight savings of around 12 kilograms for the overall system compared to the integrated variant with aluminium housing which was employed on the previous model. 
  • Improved system efficiency - as a result of the reduced weight, the lower friction loss, the broad gear ratio spread of the 9G-TRONIC and the resultant longer axle ratios

As with all hybrid models from Mercedes-Benz, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC is equipped with the latest version of 7G-TRONIC PLUS with a wet clutch, which has been specifically optimised in line with the needs of hybrid applications and also combines high driving dynamics with excellent drive comfort and superior efficiency.