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 the active safety. Other new features to become 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. Up to seven passengers enjoy an excellent amount of space. Numerous BlueEFFICIENCY measures significantly increase the energy efficiency: the GL 350 BlueTEC 4 MATIC diesel model, for instance, consumes 7.4 l/100 km (31.8 mpg/US, 13.5 km/l) of diesel, which is around 20 percent less than the predecessor, whilst also undercutting the future exhaust emission regulations in accordance with EU 6. In the case of the 300 kW (408 hp) GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY petrol model, the fuel consumption falls 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 the 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 (a length of 5120 mm/ 202 in, width of 2141 mm/ 84 in and height of 1850 mm/ 73 in) and the large wheelbase (measuring 3075 mm/ 121 in), 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 large 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 scope of supply, as do perforated brake discs and brake calliper covers with Mercedes-Benz lettering.
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. Generously sized 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 (24 to 81 cu.ft).
In the interior 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/ 4.5 in 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 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 as an option and which can be covered with a high-quality retractable wooden cover. 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 above all the numerous 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 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 control 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.
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/pelvisbags) and windowbags 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.