Our colleagues at Car and Driver got to of the next-generation Mercedes GLE SUV, and discovered . To free itself from a sand dune, the GLE uses its air springs to bounce the car up and down while the tires claw for grip.
Wait. What did you think was going on here?
This feature is called Freischaukelfunktion—which translates literally as "rocking function"—and it comes as part of an available off-road suspension for the new GLE. It's somewhat similar to the old off-roader trick of rocking a car back and forth by quickly switching between reverse and first. That's a technique that, as Car and Driver, points out, is rather tricky. The Freischaukelfunktion seems to make this easy.
Car and Driver reports that with this off-road suspension, the new GLE can raise and lower each wheel individually. Theoretically, this gives the GLE the off-road traction of a truck with solid axles, without any on-road compromises. It's too early to call this a best-of-both-worlds solution, but it does sound pretty damn nifty. For more, be sure to read Car and Driver's .
And yes, it looks hilarious. You'll be sure to get some looks if you ever employ the "rocking function" out in the dunes.