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August 08, 2012

This Week:

The new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, the S-Class among the SUV world

Stuttgart - In the SUV world, the new GL-Class is setting new standards in comfort, dynamics, safety, elegance and efficiency and with this spectrum it is regarded as the S-Class among off-road vehicles. This premium SUV is able to demonstrate its exceptional capabilities in everyday situations with dense city traffic, over very winding roads or on well-built motorways as well as way off the beaten track. Here the multi-talent's qualities are even more evident.

 Whether driving over tracks with potholes, continually altering road surfaces or dusty natural trails interspersed with off-road sections – the superior comfort of the seven-seater's ride as well as its outstanding power and confident performance are really convincing even when the going gets really tough.


Relaxed – and that means safe – driving both on-road and off-road – is one of the great strengths of the new GL-Class. Especially its NVH qualities (noise, vibration, harshness) are very convincing and are on a par with those of the S-Class. The high standards of comfort are derived from the combined result of a very rigid bodyshell, a perfected drivetrain, improved chassis and superb aeroacoustic finishing as well as the intelligent use of new-style insulation materials. At the same time, the GL-Class retains its traditional advantages of being extremely responsive with outstanding off-road expertise.


Included in the standard package are the fully load-bearing air suspension system AIRMATIC with its adaptive shock-absorbing system (ADS) as well as a load recognition feature. In comparison with the previous model, the AIRMATIC ADS provides outstanding comfort with greatly improved handling, roadholding and driving dynamics. For example, both the standard Crosswind Assist and load recognition feature are able to compensate for very varying driving conditions.

The optional active tilting stabiliser ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM uses its active lateral stabilisers for the front and rear axles to reduce the roll angle when driving round bends, thus providing a greatly improved response and more fun behind the wheel. At the same time, the system makes for better handling. An improved ride and increased scope when driving off-road by actively decoupling the stabilisers are among the other advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.


The GL is really well-equipped for going on tours off the beaten track. The standard package also includes the permanent four-wheel drive 4MATIC, a driving-off assistant, the Downhill Speed Regulation DSR and a special program for off-road driving. The ON&OFFROAD package of the new GL-Class with its six driving programs has greatly improved the vehicle dynamics and driving safety so that the most suitable drive control for extremely varying driving conditions both on the road and going cross-country is always available. From the "hardware" point of view, the ON&OFFROAD package comprises an underrun protection for the engine, fibre-reinforced underfloor panelling, a two-stage power transmission with reduction gears, a longitudinal differential lock and extended AIRMATIC functions allowing a maximum ground clearance of 306 mm and fording depth of 600 mm.

When it is dark or visibility is poor, the Bi-Xenon headlamps with Intelligent Light System and new off-road light, adaptive Main Beam Assist or adaptive Night View Assist P lus provide sufficient visibility. The optional 360° camera has four cameras at front and rear as well as in the housing of the exterior mirrors– and is especially helpful in big city jungles. From the picture information received, the system calculates a bird's eye view of the vehicle and its surrounding area and then relays it together with other views to the large COMAND display.

Improved driving and stress-reduced safety for the new GL-Class is provided in particular by its numerous assistant systems. In addition to the handling control systems ESP®, ASR, ABS and the danger-alert PRE-SAFE® safety concept, for the first time the standard version of the GL is also fitted with the collision warner COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST and the drowsiness detector ATTENTION ASSIST. Functions such as load recognition or STEER CONTROL reduce the strain on the driver in critical borderline driving situations as for instance by supporting the driver with a steering momentum on the steering wheel if the vehicle is oversteering. One innovation and highlight in the new GL is the standard Crosswind Assist which supports the driver with deliberate braking action when there are strong crosswinds, thus increasing the feeling of safety. Also available to optimise the safety of the vehicle are optional systems such as distance control DISTRONIC PLUS, braking assistant BAS PLUS or the PRE-SAFE® brake with its autonomous braking function in certain dangerous situations that have not been recognised by the driver . Easy parking is guaranteed with the Active-Park assistant. The system is able to detect suitable parking spaces and steers the GL automatically into the best possible position for parking.

Both the BlueTEC engine for the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY with supercharged direct injection BlueDIRECT petrol engine give extremely efficient and outstanding performances. The fuel consumption of the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC is 7.4 litres diesel per hundred kilometres which is about 20 per cent less than its predecessor, and at the same time it undercuts the future EU 6 emission standards. The fuel consumption of the 320 kW (435 hp) strong petrol engine GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY has been reduced by 18 per cent. With the change of models the GL range is being enriched by an AMG version for the very first time. In the high-performance SUV GL 63 AMG, the AMG 5.5 litre V8 Biturbo engine provides a top performance of 410 kW (557 hp) and maximum torque of 760 Nm. The GL 63 AMG accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds; it has a top speed of 250 km/h (limited electronically). The NEFZ fuel consumption is 12.3 litres per 100 kilometres (288 g CO2/km).

Overview of the most important specifications*:




kW/hp at 1/min

Nm from 1/min

0-100 km/h (s)

Vmax km/h

l/100 km NEFZ estim.

CO2 g/km




190/258 3800









320/435 5250









410/557 5250-5750






* Specifications for the international range of models; these may vary depending on the country
**Electronically limited

The first appearance of the new GL-Class is characterised by extensive standard equipment, individual equipment packages as well as attractive paintwork and high-quality interiors. There are three models on offer at the launch: the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC with V6 diesel engine, the V8 petrol engine GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY and the new GL 63 AMG with V8 Biturbo petrol engine.

The prices*:

  • GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC € 60,900

  • GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY € 79,500

  • GL 63 AMG € 109,500

*non-binding recommended price without VAT for the German market

Photos: MB

(Jul 26, 2012)

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