Comfort, safety, elegance, efficiency – the new GL-Class from Mercedes-Benz demonstrates leadership qualities in all the decisive SUV disciplines. Innovations such as the standard-specification Crosswind Assist, the STEER CONTROL steering assistance system, the load recognition and the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (CPA) increase active safety. Other new features to become optionally available are assistance systems such as Active Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist, together with a parking package incorporating an automatic function for entering and exiting parking spaces, plus a 360° camera. With excellent driving dynamics and high levels of ride comfort – both on the road and on difficult terrain – the GL-Class pampers its occupants with the first-class comfort of a luxury saloon. Seven passengers can enjoy an excellent amount of space. Numerous BlueEFFICIENCY measures significantly increase the energy efficiency: the GL 350 BlueTEC 4 MATIC diesel model, for instance, returns 38 mpg on the combined cycle, which is around a 20 percent improvement over the predecessor whilst also undercutting the future exhaust emission regulations in accordance with EU 6. In the case of the 408 hp GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY petrol model, the fuel consumption has been improved by about 18 percent.
Dr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales & Marketing, has it spot on when he describes the new generation as follows: “The new GL-Class occupies the top position amongst luxury SUVs. With its comprehensive assistance systems it has a pioneering role where safety and comfort are concerned, and is on a par with an S-Class – even off the beaten track.” Even at first glance the 2012 GL-Class is recognisable as a characteristic representative of the Mercedes-Benz Sports Utility Vehicle family. This new interpretation of the first generation impresses with its powerful dynamism and sporty elegance. In the front area the hallmark GL upright radiator grille with its central star and the clear, high-quality design of the headlamps with an LED flare dominate. The daytime running lamps featuring LED technology are integrated in a chrome insert in the bumper, and beneath the radiator grille the generously sized chrome-look underguard completes the self-confident appearance of the front.
With its balanced proportions (length of 5120 mm, width of 2141 mm and height of 1850 mm) and the large wheelbase (measuring 3075 mm), the side view underlines the vehicle’s on-road emphasis. At the same time the short body overhangs at the front and rear, together with the high ground clearance, point to its off-road suitability. The hallmark-SUV high beltline with its high-quality trim, the feature line which rises dynamically and the chrome edging on the window surfaces highlight the vehicle’s effortlessly superior look.
As part of its standard specification the GL is shod with attractive 10-spoke 18‑inch light-alloy wheels, and as an option wheels up to 53.3 cm (21 inches) are available. The tail end with two-piece LED tail lights featuring fibre optics, a large roof spoiler and the bumper in a contemporary “wing design” with a generously chromed underguard rounds off the befitting appearance of the luxurious full-size SUV.
For GL customers who place particular importance on a sporty, dynamic appearance, an extensive AMG Exterior Sports package is now available for the first time. In addition to the hallmark-AMG front and rear apron, it also offers special wheel-arch flarings, which span over the 53.3 cm (21-inch) AMG 5‑twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. Illuminated aluminium-look running boards also form part of the pack, as do perforated brake discs and brake calliper covers with Mercedes-Benz lettering.
Inner values: the GL-Class offers automotive first class
Powerfully dynamic and elegant interior design, fine materials and lovingly crafted details, optimum ergonomics and a generous amount of space – the interior of the GL-Class oozes the ambience of wellbeing so characteristic of Mercedes-Benz. Trim in various wood or aluminium variants, controls in silver chrome and the upholstery with the breathable ARTICO man-made leather and the stitching in a contrasting colour underline the high-quality overall impression. The seats offer seven people a generous amount of space and follow the 2-3-2 system. Compared with the predecessor the occupants on all three rows of seats have more shoulder room, elbow room and headroom. As part of the standard specification the third seat row can be operated electrically. Another new feature is the EASY-ENTRY system on both sides – also available with electric operation on request – for access to the third row of seats. The centre bench seat facilitates even higher interior variability with its manifold adjustment options, including a cargo setting for optimising the luggage compartment, which offers a capacity of 680 to 2300 litres.
Inside the dashboard continues the visual emphasis on the vehicle’s width. The modern instrument cluster with two easily legible round dials with a clear-cut design and a large 11.4 cm colour display between the instrument tubes featuring photo-realistic representation stands out, making a high-quality impression. Next to it a large, central colour screen for the infotainment system dominates on the dashboard. The control and display concept impresses with excellent user-friendliness: infotainment, navigation and communication alike can be intuitively and very easily operated via the metal Controller on the centre console. As standard a multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather with steering-wheel gearshift paddles and 12 function keys is included on board.
Situated on the centre console, beneath the centre armrest with its integral palm support there is a generous stowage compartment, in front of it are the controllers and switches for the off-road programs, for example, the AIRMATIC air suspension and the COMAND system. Integrated here are two cup holders which can be heated and cooled. In the door lining with distinctive stitching the trim from the dashboard continues, whilst the door openers and seat adjustment switches are arranged in the proven Mercedes fashion. The designo Exclusive package is available as an optional extra, and amongst its features are fine designo nappa leather, extensive stitching and a exclusive diamond quilting on the seats and door lining.
Assistance systems take the GL to the top of its market segment
It is all the new assistance systems which ensure enhanced handling safety and driver-fitness safety in the new GL-Class. As part of its standard specification the new GL-Class has some impressive new features alongside the usual dynamic handling control systems ESP®, ASR, ABS and the anticipatory safety concept PRE-SAFE®: on board for the first time are the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (CPA) collision warning system and the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system. Ensuring a huge reduction of the burden on the driver in the limits of what is physically possible in terms of driving physics are systems such as the ESP® load recognition and the STEER CONTROL steering assistance system, which supports the driver with a steering torque on the steering wheel, for example, in the case of a vehicle which is oversteering. One of the new GL’s innovations and highlights is the standard-fit Crosswind Assist, which helps the motorist if the car is affected by strong crosswinds. It does so through targeted brake actuations, therefore ensuring an enhanced feeling of safety.
On request safety can be optimised further by systems such as the DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control, the brake assist system BAS PLUS and the PRE-SAFE® Brake with an autonomous braking function – in certain hazardous situations which go unnoticed by the driver. Also available as an option are the Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and the Speed Limit Assist. The Active Parking Assist with an automatic function for entering and exiting parking spaces serves to enhance comfort. In darkness or when visibility is poor, the bi‑xenon headlamps with the Intelligent Light System (ILS) featuring the new off-road light, the Adaptive Highbeam Assist and the Night View Assist Plus ensure that the motorist has a sufficient view of the road. The optional 360° camera equipment feature comprises four cameras in the front and rear area as well as in the exterior mirror housings. The system projects a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and of the area surrounding it from the image information, and shows them and other views in the generously sized COMAND display screen.
Passive safety: all-round protection for seven occupants
Together with the “electronic crumple zones” formed by the assistance systems and the intelligent body construction, the passive occupant protection systems result in the highest possible protection potential. Two-stage adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, sidebags for the driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis bags) and window bags above all three seat rows are part of the standard specification. The integration of the optional thorax bags into the tilt-adjustable folding seat backrests in the centre seat row facilitates an optimum airbag position for every backrest setting. In addition to this there are 3-point seat belts on board – for all seven seats. Other items included as standard include pyrotechnic inertia-reel tensioning and constant belt force limiters plus electrically reversible inertia-reel belt tensioners at the front, inertia-reel tensioners at the outer seats and single-stage belt force limiters at the outer seats on the centre bench seat and at the rear single seats.
The GL-Class is also able to demonstrate the highest possible protection potential when it comes to more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists. In addition to yielding areas in the front section, folding exterior mirrors and smooth contours, the risk of injury caused by the vehicle has been reduced by adjusting the bonnet and increasing the distance to the components in the engine compartment. In addition, an Active Bonnet is fitted as standard equipment. It is able to reduce the acceleration forces of an impacting pedestrian or cyclist, and it increases the deformation area.
Clean power pack: the engines for the GL-Class
Both the BlueTEC diesel unit for the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY with a charged, direct-injecting BlueDIRECT petrol engine offer impressive performance coupled with high efficiency. On average the new model range undercuts the preceding model series by 19 percent when it comes to consumption figures.
The key data* at a glance:
|GL 350 BlueTEC|
|GL 500 4MATIC|
* Provisional figures for the international model range which may vary from country to country
Today the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC with SCR technology and AdBlue® injection already undercuts the EU 5 emissions standard which is planned for 2014. With a consumption of 38 mpg (NEDC overall), the diesel model returns a 20 percent improvement over its predecessor. With a CO2 figure of 192 g/km the GL 350 BlueTEC achieves the best value in its power category. In spite of the considerably reduced energy requirement, performance is significantly increased. Whilst the maximum output of the first-generation GL 350 BlueTEC was 211 hp and the maximum torque 540 newton metres, the new model now boasts 258 hp and 620 newton metres.
The GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY has an NEDC consumption of 25 mpg, making it the most fuel-efficient V8 petrol model in its class. A GL500 Bi-Turbo charged 4.6-litre BlueDIRECT engine with 408 hp is used here. The new generation returns an 18 percent improvement in efficiency and offers the best classification currently possible: EU 5.
Alongside the ultra-modern engine technology, a comprehensive package of BlueEFFICIENCY measures supports the superb fuel economy. In addition to the standard-specification ECO start/stop function, these include the new seven-stage automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS. Other consumption-reducing features include the intelligent alternator management, the electric steering and tyres with optimised rolling resistance. The optimised belt-drive system with a decoupler, the intelligent (i.e. on-demand) control of all the ancillaries and pumps, plus the excellent cd value of 0.35, also minimise energy requirements. A decisive factor in the GL 350 BlueTEC diesel model is also the SCR exhaust gas system with an optimum flow and back pressure.
Extensive lightweight construction measures reduce the vehicle weight of the new GL-Class in comparison with its predecessor – by nearly 100 kilograms (GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC). By way of example, the links on the front and rear axle and the bonnet and wings consist of aluminium alloys which are as light as they are resilient. Further dietary measures concern the new acoustic windscreen, the magnesium cross member for the dashboard, the BlueTEC system with SCR technology and components such as the new electric steering, the electric parking brake, an engine support made of plastic and the new aluminium brake booster. Through these weight measures the agility of the full-size SUV increases whilst the fuel consumption is simultaneously cut.
S-Class ride comfort with pioneering driving dynamics – on the road and off it
Relaxed and, therefore, safe driving in all possible conditions both on and off the road is one of the new GL-Class’s strengths. In particular the NVH characteristics (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) are impressive and are on a par with those of the S-Class. The basis for the high level of NVH comfort is provided by the very rigid body, an optimised powertrain, the improved chassis, aero-acoustic refinements and the intelligent use of new-style insulation. At the same time, high agility, dynamic on-road handling and superb off-road abilities have always been advantages offered by the GL-Class. The standard specification includes the fully load-bearing air suspension system AIRMATIC with load recognition. The AIRMATIC facilitates excellent comfort with significantly enhanced handling. With Crosswind Assist and the load recognition the GL-Class compensates for the most varied driving conditions. The optionally available ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilisation works at the front and rear axle with active torsion-bar stabilisers and compensates for the roll angle during cornering; this significantly increases agility and driving pleasure. At the same time the system enhances handling, whilst even better ride comfort and extended off-road capabilities are also amongst the benefits of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.
The GL is optimally equipped for tours off the beaten track. Alongside the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC, its standard specification includes start-off assist, Downhill Speed Regulation DSR and a special off-road driving program. The ON&OFFROAD package for the new GL-Class has six driving programs for optimising driving dynamics and handling safety, as the optimum drive system control is provided for an extremely wide range of on-road and off-road operating conditions. In terms of “hardware”, the ON&OFFROAD package comprises an underguard, a two-stage transfer case with a low-range ratio, an inter-axle differential lock and enhanced AIRMATIC functionality that allows a maximum ground clearance of 285 millimetres and a fording depth of 600 millimetres.
Complete model range, impressive equipment variants
An extensive range of standard equipment and appointments, individual equipment packages plus attractive paintwork and high-quality interiors characterise the look of the new GL-Class. There are two models available at market launch: the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC with a V6 diesel engine and the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY V8 petrol version.
The extensive range of standard equipment and appointments has been considerably enhanced compared with that of the predecessor. Amongst the safety features it offers are ATTENTION ASSIST, the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST warning system, Crosswind Assist and pedestrian protection with Active Bonnet. Comfort details such as the electrically operated EASY-PACK tailgate, an electric sliding/tilting roof, the ARTICO upholstery with perforated man-made leather and electrically adjustable front seats are also part of the standard specification. In addition the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY model offers Active Parking Assist, Intelligent Light System (ILS), KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system, 3-zone THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control, multicontour seats for the driver and passenger including a massage function and Memory package, plus leather appointments. Another impressive feature is the novel EASY-ENTRY system in the rear compartment of the GL-Class: at the touch of a button the seats in the centre row fold down and allow easy entry and exit. The standard-specification entertainment system in the GL-Class Audio 20 CD will delight drivers with a 14.7 cm (5.8-inch) colour display, MP3/WMA/AAC-capable CD drive, USB interface, AUX-IN connection, Bluetooth® interface and a telephone keypad. Thanks to the new COMAND Online multimedia system with its ultra-modern, silver-coloured 3D-look menu surface the GL-Class now has internet access for the first time. As an option COMAND Online can be combined with the harman/kardon sound system or with the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system for the most discerning requirements, bringing with it stunning concert-hall acoustics.
As well as the standard-fit non-metallic paintwork in calcite white or black, the GL-Class can be ordered in the following metallic paintwork as an option: cavansite blue, iridium silver, obsidian black, pearl beige and tenorite grey. In addition to these the special metallic paintwork citrine brown, diamond white metallic and cinnabar red extend the wide selection of colours even further. An AMG Sports package is available for the GL-Class for the first time, as is an AMG Exterior Sports package, which lends the SUV a particularly sporty touch, with an AMG front and rear apron in the vehicle colour, AMG wheel arch flarings, 21-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and the sports brake with perforated 48.3 cm (19-inch) brake discs. Illuminated aluminium-look running boards complete the package and create a powerful appearance.
Mercedes offers the most diverse range of SUVs
The widest range of SUV vehicles is available from Mercedes-Benz in the UK. A total of four model series are available. Alongside the first-class SUV that is the GL-Class, there is the off-road classic the “G”, the R-Class long-distance saloon and the best-selling M-Class. What’s more, Mercedes-Benz is the manufacturer of premium SUVs boasting the longest heritage. SUVs account for around one fifth of Mercedes-Benz’s global sales.
UK Specifications and pricing are still to be confirmed. Due on sale in the UK early on 2013.