Okay, now that I've vented some of the frustration that comes with seeing these monsters on the road, lets get down to the actual cars. Mercedes-Benz presents its new range-leading SUV the all-new GL-Class. This all new premium off-roader is available in either the
- V6 diesel GL 320 CDI - 165 kW, 510 Newton - 9.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometers
- Petrol GL 500 285 kW
Customers interested in the multi-purposed GL-Class, which can optionally seat up to seven people, should go see their local Mercedes-Benz dealer.
Mercedes like to be first when it comes to new technology and the new GL class is no different, offering the PRE-SAFE® safety system, a first in this market segment. The system's most striking feature: passive and active safety systems are networked with each other. PRE-SAFE® utilises the sensors in the dynamic handling control systems such as ABS, BAS (Brake Assist) and ESP® and optimises the protective function of the passive safety components in potential accident situations. The GL-Class also takes the issue of pedestrian protection to a new level. The front section includes precisely defined ample crumple space between the body and the major assemblies underneath. In con-junction with impact zones that are designed to yield, this design provides a high degree of protection both for pedestrians and cyclists.
The entry level GL 320 CDI delivers 165 kW, while its ample 510 Newton meters are on tap across a wide range of engine speeds. Despite all of this power, the engine only burns 9.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometers.
The GL 500 features a newly developed 5.5 litre V8 petrol engine with a rated output of no less than 285 kW. Both engines are teamed up with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT as standard.
“The GL-Class combines superior on and off road capabilities in total luxury”, said Horst von Sanden, managing director responsible for Mercedes Car Group in Aus-tralia.“Mercedes-Benz has a long and proud history of off-road expertise and the new GL-Class builds on this. With the standard inclusion of the Off-road Pro Engineer-ing package, AIRMATIC air suspension and a unique sense of luxury, the GL–Class blends comfort and driving performance, two hallmarks of the Mercedes-Benz brand.“The GL-Class allows us to meet additional customer needs, providing a large ver-satile vehicle with seven seats optionally available.”
The distinctive design of the GL-Class exudes power and exclusivity. Calm body surfaces, powerful, wedge-shaped features and striking details give the impression the luxury off-roader is surging forward even when stationary. The spacious body (length 5088 mm, width 1920 mm, height 1840 mm) is beautifully proportioned.
The GL-Class is surprisingly agile with 4MATIC- the permanent all-wheel-drive system from Mercedes-Benz, helping to give the GL-Class superior handling dynamics under any conditions. The GL-Class not only cuts a good figure on the road, it also shines as a genuine off-roader. The standard specification Off-Road Pro engineering package considerably enhances the car’s off-road capabilities.
Comfortable Ride Regardless of Conditions
The welcoming interior with its top-quality materials provides passengers with that feel-good atmosphere as only Mercedes knows how, with more than ample space for up to seven people. The GL-Class offers superb comfort on board - whether you’re just popping into town, cruising hundreds of kilometres or negotiating rough terrain. Occupants still enjoy good freedom of movement even on the two full-sized individual seats in the third row of seats. The distance to the middle row of seats is 815 mm, with 979 mm headroom for passengers. If fewer seats are required, the rear individual seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a but-ton, either individually or in tandem to provide a completely flat load surface. The luggage compartment capacity amounts to 1240 litres in the five-seater version.
The GL-Class can provide up to 2300 litres of load capacity, with the load compartment measuring 2128 mm in length. In line with the wide range of applications handled by the versatile all-rounder, the THERMATIC automatic climate control system fitted as standard in the GL 320 CDI provides consistent temperature for all seven seats both in the depths of winter and on those sweltering summer days. The GL 500 comes with the standard-fit multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system, which offers even more climatic comfort. Other standard convenience and comfort appointments include ARTICO man-made leather upholstery combinations in the GL 320 CDI, electrically adjustable front seats and a fixed rear glass roof above the third row of seats.
Technological advancements gives better safety
The GL-Class makes full use of the advantages of its unitised body, combining optimum strength with intelligent lightweight steel design. The result is excellent passive safety. Combined with the front and rear deformation zones, the high-strength occupant cell forms an efficient base for the occupant protection systems that include:
- Adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger
- Sidebags in the front, and in the middle row of seats as standard
- Windowbags across all three rows of seats from the A to the D-pillar
- NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger as standard
- 3-point seat belts on all seven seats
- Seat-belt pretensioners and adaptive belt-force limiters for the driver and front passenger, seat-belt pretensioners and belt-force limiters on the outer seats in the middle row
The GL-Class meets all the requirements of a state-of-the-art, luxury SUV and even redefines them on a higher level. Yet the hallmark Mercedes off-roader genes such as superlative robustness, ruggedness and long-term durability have not been compromised. It is not without reason that the model designation echoes the legendary precursor of all Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles – the G-Class. Al-though not available for sale in Australia, the evergreen off-roader is now in its 27th year of production and will continue to be marketed alongside the new GL-Class.
Handling on road (and off-road - if it ever happens we'd love to know)
4MATIC – the permanent four-wheel drive from Mercedes-Benz – provides the GL-Class with superior handling whatever the conditions. Together with the standard-fit AIRMATIC air suspension, the precise speed-sensitive power steering and the ADS (Adaptive Damper System) also fitted as standard, the imposing GL-Class (wheelbase 3075 mm) handles impressively. Handling, when pulling a trailer is no less impressive thanks to ESP® Trailer Stabilisation. It defuses critical driving situations involving a trailer before they become dangerous by precisely applying the brakes, while AIRMATIC provides fully automatic level adjustment.
Special off-road features such as Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), hill-start as-sist and off-road ABS assist the GL-Class driver off road. The Off-Road Pro engineering package, standard on all GL models, means the GL-Class can also handle the most extreme off-road terrain. This includes a two-speed transfer case with a low range ratio and 100 percent differential locks for the transfer case and the rear axle. The modified AIRMATIC air suspension, designed specifically for the more demanding conditions, increases the ground clearance to a maximum of 307 millimetres where required, and raises the fording depth to 600 millimetres.
New V6 and V8 engines
The ultra-modern engine line-up in all GL-Class models provides superlative drive comfort and compelling performance coupled with superior fuel consumption figures compared with other vehicles in the class. Alongside the 165-kW V6 diesel engine in the GL 320 CDI is the newly developed 5.5-litre, 285-kW engine in the GL 500. This engine was launched earlier this year in the new S-Class. Both engines also fulfil the stringent EU4 limits.
All GL-Class engine variants come with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT as standard. Excellent performance and low fuel consumption result from the perfect combination of ultra-modern engines with 7G-TRONIC and the friction-optimised powertrain. Another important factor is the comparatively low gross vehicle weight thanks to the unitised body and the excellent aerodynamics (Cd 0.37) for such a large vehicle.
Success story from state-of-the-art production facilities
"Mercedes Quality – Made in the USA" has established itself as the company’s new trademark on the other side of the Atlantic and illustrates the success story of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama. The birthplace of the
GL-Class started production in 1997 as the first Mercedes-Benz plant outside Europe. Around 600 million US dollars have been invested since 2001 in expand-ing and constantly modernising the plant; overall the company has invested around 1 billion US dollars. Following the extension of the Tuscaloosa plant in May 2005, its theoretical annual production capacity for all model series stands at 160,000 units. The new GL-Class is now the third model series to be built here, alongside the M-Class and the R-Class.
Prices for the premium off-roader start at a competitive $103,900 for the entry level GL 320 CDI with the GL 500 priced at $146,900 (both exclude on-road costs).