Stuttgart. In the SUV world, the new GL-Class is setting new standards in comfort, dynamics, safety, elegance and efficiency and within 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 winding roads or on motorways as well as way off the beaten track.

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

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 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), which 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, an 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 is a fully load-bearing air suspension system, named 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 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 greatly improved responses. At the same time, the system makes for better handling. An improved ride and increased ability when driving off-road by actively decoupling the stabilisers are among the other advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.

The ON&OFFROAD package

The GL is well-equipped for going on tours off the beaten track. The standard package includes permanent four-wheel drive, 4MATIC, a driving-off assistant, Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) and a special program for off-road driving. The ON&OFFROAD package fitted to 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 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.

Better visibility, more safety, greater comfort

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 Plus provide sufficient visibility. The optional 360° camera has four cameras located at front and rear as well as in the housing of the exterior mirrors – and is especially helpful in urban environments. From the visual 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.

New Assist systems: The best support for the driver

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 alerter 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 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 when there are strong crosswinds, 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 steer the GL automatically into the best possible position for parking.

GL-Class drive systems: Up to 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption

Both the BlueTEC engine for the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY, with its supercharged direct injection BlueDIRECT petrol engine, give extremely efficient and outstanding performance. The fuel consumption of the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC is 38.1 mpg, which is a 20 per cent improvement over its predecessor, and at the same time it undercuts the future EU 6 emission standards. The fuel consumption of the 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 557 hp and maximum torque of 760 Nm. The GL 63 AMG accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds; it has a top speed of 155 mph (limited electronically). The NEFZ fuel consumption is 22.9 mpg (288 g CO2/km).

Overview of the most important specifications*:

Model Cyl. cm³ hp
at 1/min
GL 350 BlueTEC
6 2987 258
7.9 137 38.1-35.3 192-209
8 4663 435
5.4 155** 24.9-24.5 262-269
GL 63 AMG 8 5461 557
4.9 155** 22.9 288

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

In addition to the state-of-the-art engine technology, an extensive BlueEFFICIENCY package supports greater economy. This includes the new seven-gear automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS, as well as the standard ECO stop-start function. The intelligent generator management, electric power steering and reduced rolling resistance of the tyres also have a fuel-saving effect.

In comparison with its predecessor (GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC), the weight of the new GL-Class has been reduced by 90 kg due to the extensive use of efficient construction methods. These include the use of light but durable aluminium alloys for the bonnet and wings.  The front and rear suspension links are also made of light alloys, therefore the lower weight reduces energy requirements and the vehicle provides a more comfortable ride due to its lower unsprung mass. Other weight reductions include the new acoustic windscreen, the magnesium cross beam of the dashboard, the BlueTEC system with SCR technology and components such as the new electric power steering, the electric parking brake and plastic engine support.

The interior of the GL: First Class for seven people

In addition to its extremely comfortable ride and excellent driving dynamics, both on the road as well as over rough terrain, the GL-Class spoils its passengers with an interior which comes up to the first class standards of a luxurious saloon. Up to seven passengers are able to enjoy the outstanding seating. The elegant interior design features high-quality materials and great attention has been paid to details; the space-efficient arrangement has a perfect ergonomic design – the interior of the GL-Class conveys the feeling of well-being typical for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Extensive trim elements in a range of wood or in aluminium, controls in silver-chrome and upholstery in permeable ARTICO man-made leather material with decorative topstitching on the seams in a contrasting colour underline the overall high-quality impression.

The 2-3-2 seating arrangement provides a generous amount of space. In comparison with its predecessor, the passengers have been given a great deal more elbow, shoulder and headroom in all three rows of seats. As a standard feature, the third row of seats can be folded up and down electrically. Another innovation is the EASY-ENTRY system for accessing the third row of seats from both sides – also if required with optional electric controls.

As another first for a series model SUV, Mercedes-Benz is offering an optional sound system for the GL-Class from the well-known manufacturers of music systems Bang & Olufsen. The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG High-End Surround-Sound System with a total output of 1200 W and 14 high-end loudspeakers transforms the interior of the car into a concert hall with breathtaking acoustics.

Mercedes-Benz is the first car manufacturer to evaluate and assess the role of aeroacoustics which provides the decisive parameters for a comfortable ride especially when travelling at higher speeds. As a result, the psychoacoustic characteristics of SUV models like the GL-Class have been considerably improved. Here not only the high frequency wind noises were rated, but also the low frequencies – especially those concerning the comprehensibility and audibility of spoken language. A comparison with the S-Class proves just how successful the GL engineers were: the objective and subjective impression of noise lies at the same level for both vehicles. Because of its typical SUV design, however, it took a great deal more effort to achieve these top results with the GL than with a luxury saloon.

First class design

From first sight, the GL-Class 2012 can be recognised as a member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. A new interpretation of the first generation GL at the front, the design is dominated by the GL’s typically upright radiator grille with its central star and the clear, high-quality design of the headlamps – the new Mercedes-Benz LED signature. In particular, the standard Intelligent Light System headlamps on the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY give a high-quality, exclusive and innovative appearance. The difference lies in a light wave conductor for the position lights, LED technology indicators and the practical Night View Assist PLUS which is available as an option. The daytime running lamps, also in LED technology are integrated in a chrome clasp in the bumper, and underneath the radiator grille the large underbody panel rounds off the self-confident appearance. The well-balanced proportions of the profile view (length 5,120 mm, height 1,850 mm) and the long wheelbase (3,075 mm) underline the vehicle’s on-road emphasis, but at the same time the short body overhangs at front and rear, together with the vehicle’s great ground clearance point to its suitability for off-road use. At the rear its two-piece LED rear lamps use light wave conductor technology. The large roof spoiler, bumper, with its modern “wing design” and the large chromed area of the underbody panel complete its enhancements. For the first time there is an extensive AMG exterior sport package available for those GL customers who find it increasingly important for their vehicle to have a sporting and dynamic appearance.

Passive safety: All-round protection for all passengers

Maximum protection potential is provided by the passive protection systems for passengers in conjunction with the “electronic crumple zone” provided by the assistant systems and the intelligent body construction. Adaptable two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, knee bags for the driver, sidebags for the driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis bags) and window bags for all three rows of seats are part of the standard package. The integration of the optional thorax bags in the backrest of the tilt-adjustable folding seat in the middle row of seats allows the airbag to be in the best possible position regardless of the position of the backrest. Furthermore, there are three-point seat belts for all seven passenger seats on board. Also part of the standard package are the pyrotechnic inertia reel tensioners and constant belt force-limiters, as well as electrically reversible belt reel-in tensioners at the front, inertia reel tensioners and single stage force-limiters on the outer seats of the middle bench seat as well as on the rear single seats. The GL-Class also has the standard active bonnet system.

GL-Class rounds off the Mercedes-Benz SUV range

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 a V6 diesel engine, the V8 petrol engine GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY and the new GL 63 AMG with its V8 Biturbo petrol engine.