MercedesBenz GLClass 2013: Launch Review motoring com au

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Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 2013: Review

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is an for the bush

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Launch

Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA

we liked

Excellent ride

Clever and practical 7-seat

Smooth engines

Not so much

too slow off the mark

Lighter, but very hefty

Lots of switchgear

OVERVIEW

GL Benz has 90kg, added air suspension and fuel consumption

By most the M-Class Mercedes is a hefty Not by Mercedes-Benz standards, though, nor the of a certain slice of Benz

The German powerhouse has two passenger that are even bigger if you stick seats in the Viano), the just-updated GL-Class SUV.

in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and sharing its with the new M-Class, the GL has been to be slightly lighter, more and more comfortable.

That point is the lynchpin, because most of its global buyers wealthy and based in the USA and Middle they won’t care a jot its fuel consumption dropping by two litres/100km.

Instead, Benz is this as a machine boasting all the of an S-Class with the offroad of an ML-Class.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT

safety, more seats, of the same

The updated GL is still at six months away from release but when it does prices should be more-or-less in with the existing model, $119,720 for the V6 diesel and $173,200 for the V8.

One of the developments with the updated GL is one of the easiest to overlook, namely the of adaptive damping for its air suspension.

the setup ran to pre-planned programs, could render the ride ‘chattery’ on small bumps. The to adaptive damping has largely the problem.

There’s more on offer from the GL tree you’ll find in the average You can stack yours full of up to and including Benz’s “Designo” which allows personal of leather colour, stitching, and so on.

There are three rows of for a total of seven as standard. no delete option, so owners who like them will to leave them folded, is easily achieved since fold electrically. The bad news is the switches are located on the right-hand, or side, of the luggage area.

The row of three seats folds but easily via a handle, although for the options ticker or the inherently there’s also an electric

All seven seats have adjustment, with fore-and-aft in the front and middle rows, and adult-ish space in the often-compromised row.

On the inside, everything is with lashings of leather and and an optional 1200W 14-speaker Olufsen sound system for audiophiles.

The GL does, however, some signs of the handbrake applied to spending during the financial crisis. There’s a lot of switchgear on display, including the unit and sound system, hamper efforts to bring a new look to the cabin.

The dash is standard Benz fare, large speedo and tacho by smaller but easily legible On the flipside, a new slimline indicator feels a little too much Benz’s old cruise control and it’s easy to mistake the

MECHANICAL

Engine and transmission lots more electrical

It’s history now that and the rest of the right-hand drive don’t get the Audi Q5-rivalling GLK, thanks to an obscure technical anomaly. Fortunately, the GL to the ML-Class family, so that driveshaft is not an issue. The GL owes than that to the ML, as well, its front doors and its all-wheel system.

But, while the ML is a mid-size SUV, the GL is a US-style machine, clocking a whopping on the weighbridge.

Benz has countered the beast’s to some extent by pulling out of the lightest model (thanks to alloy front quarter and bonnet) and by fitting more petrol and diesel engines.

By far the selling model – even in the US, – will be the GL350 BlueTEC its turbocharged V6 diesel.

The engine is well known in Australia to its appearance in everything from the to the ML-Class. The 3.0-litre, single-turbo V6 out 190kW at 3600rpm and 620Nm 1600rpm to 2400rpm.

While torque figure is undoubtedly so is the GL 350 BlueTEC’s 2455kg weight. this European Commission includes a 75kg driver, 7kg of and 90 percent of the 100-litre fuel but however you slice it that’s a load for six cylinders to move.

fortunate, then, that also the option of a direct-injected, petrol V8, in the form of the GL 500 4Matic In the US this vehicle will be as the GL 550. It’s not known as yet way Mercedes-Benz Australia will The force-fed bent eight out 320kW at 5250rpm and 700Nm a diesel-like 1800 to 3500rpm.

engines have strong claims. Where the previous GL 350 CDI 9.2 litres/100km, the GL 350 BlueTEC drops to 7.4 litres/100km on the EU combined cycle, a 20 percent reduction. Benz the engine is already ahead of EU6 emissions standards.

The bigger, 4.7-litre petrol V8 in the GL 500 also a reduction in consumption over the 5.5-litre V8. Benz claims and 262g/km of CO2, an 18 percent over the outgoing V8’s

All new GLs boast a seven-speed auto and an drive system with Speed Regulation and a range of traction aids for different In fact, the range of driver systems is off the charts, including existing drowsy driver skid control, ABS,

Collision Prevention Assist, and a new assistance setup that individual wheels to cancel the of unsettling gusts. There’s a feature called Steer to help in the event of oversteer.

Despite the surfeit of electronic the double-wishbone front, multi-link suspension does an excellent job of the sort of situations that call for their deployment.

The air-suspension has been upgraded to sophisticated adaptive shock that are capable of recognising in individual seats and adjusting the accordingly.

Standard fitment are 265/60R18s sourced from a of manufacturers, while the V8 runs with an optional 20-inch available.

For anyone considering a bit fair dinkum, the GL also an optional Off Road Package six driving modes for different beefed-up underbody protection, transfer case, centre-diff and more ground clearance.

The enhanced GL boasts 306mm of clearance and 600mm of wading versus the standard car’s 276 and respectively. Towing capacity is or 3500kg with a braked

PACKAGING

It’s big. very big.

In most perhaps even the USA, the GL be considered a big car. A very big Indeed, if it was 55kg heavier, need a special licence to it.

As it stands you need a decent garage to accommodate its 5.12m 1.85m height (1.95m for the pack) and 1.94m width. if you want to keep your mirrors extended you’d make that 2.14m Then you might want to add a bit just in case you want to get

Pleasingly, the GL’s generous proportions also translate a roomy interior, with clever arrangements for its seven

There’s 1540mm of shoulder up front, 1529mm in the middle and in the rear. Head room is generous, with 1046mm the seat base and the roof up 1015mm in the middle and 988 in the rear. The row of seats suffers only a for knee space, which is to 458mm from the middle 727mm.

Luggage capacity is a 600-litres, expanding to an enormous with seats folded.

The GL always had other big off-roaders in its Now it’s aiming for limos,

Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series

It’s tough figuring out who the GL’s competitors are. The of that third row of seats differentiates it from its little the ML, while its size and the space in its row sets it apart from the BMW X5 and Q7.

There doesn’t appear to be immediately on the horizon from likely suspects, either. BMW has decided the X5 is all it needs for now, Audi remains interested in a SUV for the US market, but not right now.

Rover is said to be cooking up a seven-seat version of its prestige bearer, but that won’t be after the all-new, lighter makes its global debut at the show in September.

That the GL eyeballing more traditional off-roaders, such as the Toyota 200 Lexus LX570, and Nissan While they all have off-road prowess than the none have the badge or, for that matter, quite as space.

ON THE ROAD

Surprising. In a way.

The GL350 BlueTEC is quiet for a diesel. You can barely the V6 at idle and, when you on it to get away from the lights, you why.

It’s not working.

that’s being a bit facetious, but it is so slow from a standing that it feels like Benzes that take off in gear to prevent jerking.

The says there is a muscular available from 1600rpm, but it like there is nothing until closer to 2400rpm.

smooth, yes, but the lack of from a standing start really acceptable in this day and

Benz claims a 0-100km/h for the GL350 of 7.9 seconds. But by our estimation only possible if you trick it punching off the line by building up the with one foot while the car on the brake with the other. might be moderately effective, but also a bit rudimentary for a vehicle this pedigree and at this point.

Suffice to say it’s so tardy off the that you need to recalculate thrusts across intersections you can see a big, big hole. You sit there distant machinery loom while your foot is to the floor, waiting, with desperation for the engine to muster the to shift the GL’s 2.4-tonnes.

initially denied there was a Benz subsequently conceded the response was a combination of shifting a lot of and trying to keep urban consumption low.

The disappointing about this is that the is a nice thing once up and moving. It’s smooth and and even has a sweet engine when the turbodiesel begins to It’s decently flexible in the mid at speeds beyond about but it never feels brisk.

the petrol V8 powered GL 500 is far stronger, more punch pretty everywhere, albeit with a far thirst.

The V8 has a lovely aural at idle and launches from a start in the way you expect a modern to. There’s instant punch the twin turbos and it builds far more urgently than the making a lie of the slightly later of its peak torque.

The V8 leaps enthusiasm any time you go near the and with 0-100km/h acceleration of 5.4 it’s capable of frightening of Australia’s domestically-produced V8s.

Of you won’t frighten them for because repeated full-throttle will necessitate frequent at the bowser. We couldn’t get near claimed 11.3L/100km figure and to pull the trip computer 15s.

Both engines are quiet, but while we imagine the to be the popular choice, it’s off-the-line acceleration means we recommend it.

Fortunately, there’s to the GL equation and for once, the advertising and reality align: as an SUV, the GL a mighty fine limousine.

Its is silken — better and cossetting than the current — refusing to be disturbed by edges, corrugations or undulations. The of road and wind noise at a 100km/h is equally impressive.

We ran with the electrical systems off for of our time in order to get a better of the baseline handling, without the intervention of the GL’s electronic aids. Whether on gravel or wet it was never anything but well and nicely controllable.

The same off-road, where the GL is equipped all manner of electronics to prevent but is fundamentally pretty well anyway. Even when its ultra-long wheelbase means it in such a gentle and predictable that it’s unlikely to out an unwitting driver.

The steering is of the variety, but it’s sufficiently and the brakes are strong.

Ergonomically, little to complain about and the interior let down is the quantity of over knobs, dials and It’s clearly new from the not-so-clearly new from the inside.

The row of seats is every bit as comfortable as the row, though the centre lets the side down a The good news is that the row is decently roomy and a genuine for kids and adults.

That it a real family alternative for the lover and a reasonable if pricey conveyance for anyone else. don’t buy the diesel until make it move a bit better.

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Published. Friday, 3 2012

Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series
Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series
Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series
Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series
Mercedes-Benz GL 350 CDI AT Special Series

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