The new GL, due in Australia in early 2013, is full of subtle changes over the previous model, such as re-profiled headlights that also incorporate an LED strip, while the LED daytime running lights are now positioned higher than before.
A new full-length chrome-look underguard and chrome window surrounds hint at the new GL-Class’s increase in dimensions – the 2012 GL is longer, wider and taller than the 2011 model, though Mercedes says the new car is nearly 100kg lighter than it predecessor.
The new two-piece LED tail-lights are sunk into the redesigned tailgate, accompanied by a roof spoiler, rounder rear bumper and chrome-look underguard.
The previously standard 19-inch wheels have been swapped for 10-spoke 18-inch alloys but options exist for up to 21-inch wheels.
Inside sees various wood and aluminium trim options available with controls in silver chrome including those for the Comand multimedia system that now has Internet access.
Options for nappa leather, diamond quilting on the seats and door linings (pictured above), and a Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen sound system are also available.
Mercedes-Benz is only offering a choice of two engines, at least initially, both mated to a seven-speed auto.
The GL350 BlueTec 4Matic comes with the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel generating 189kW of power and a tow-friendly 620Nm of torque. The GL350 manages a respectable 0-100km/h time of 7.9 seconds and 218km/h top speed while still being frugal enough to deliver 7.4 Litres per 100km and 192g of CO2 per kilometre (down from 9.2L/100km and 242g/km).
The GL500 BlueEffiiciency 4Matic sports a 4.6-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 that provides 300kW and 600Nm, shoving the GL500 from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.9 seconds onto an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. All this hustle results in fuel figures of 11.3L/100km and CO2 of 262g/km (down from 11.8L/100km and 313g/km).
Keeping the GL-Class on the straight and narrow is a new suite of safety technologies borrowed from other recent new models, including assist systems designed to help prevent collisions, prevent drivers falling asleep, prevent the vehicle from wandering unintentionally into another lane, help the driver see vehicles in their blind spot, and even a system that will brake individual wheels to help keep the GL stable in crosswinds.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is also available for the first time with AMG's exterior sports package offering owners hallmark-AMG touches including AMG front and rear aprons, special wheel-arch fairings, illuminated aluminium-look running boards, cross-drilled brake discs, brake calliper covers with Mercedes-Benz lettering and 21-inch AMG 10-spoke alloy wheels.
No confirmation yet as to price or when the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class will come to our shores but as a guide the current generation sells from $119,270.