Mercedes-Benz once countered a popular saying to BusinessDay and other motoring journalists from other parts of the world that gathered in Hannover, Germany, at the last Motorshow, that the fastest way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach, but through his foot; not just foot, but his right foot. And if you have money to burn, this will certainly be the case with the new GL.
The GL Class is fondly known as the S-Class of SUVs, and I can bet you after spending some time on and off road in the vehicle, you would be in a position to explain that the GL Class offers plenty go on the road, thanks to state-of-the-art 7G Tronic Plus transmissions and turbocharged power plants.
The GL is not just about off road safety. On road you also get, for the first time as standard fitment, the likes of Collision Prevention Assist (CPA) and the drowsiness detector Attention Assist to go with the usual full house of handling control systems ESP, ASR, ABS and the danger-alert Pre-Safe safety concept.
Optional 18-inch alloy wheels with 60-profile winter tyres combine with the G-class’s rough and ready “trailing link and panhard rod” suspension for an alarmingly choppy ride on typical urban roads. Performance is as plentiful as you’d ever want, given the G-class’s approximation of body control and lack of steering precision, with a 0-62mph time of 9.1sec and a 109mph top speed.
Also available to optimise the safety of the vehicle are optional systems such as distance control Distronic Plus (DP), 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.
Inside, it is big. It is a proper seven-seater that can house a full complement of adults so the driver will be pleased to know that easy parking is guaranteed with the Active-Park assistant. This system is able to detect suitable parking spaces and steer the GL automatically into the spot.
For Juliet Joshua, “I have only really briefly touched on what the Mercedes-Benz GL Class offers, but this a premium package on the surface and under it and appear to offer everything anybody is looking for in a luxury full size SUV.”
As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the GL prices include the industry leading PremiumDrive maintenance package of six-years/100, 000km with no customer contribution, depending on the market.
Should you want to go seriously off road, the GL retains its traditional advantages of being extremely well equipped for the task. These see 190kW and 620Nm of power and torque for the 350, 320kW and 700Nm for the 500 and a massive 410kW and 760Nm for the 63 AMG being sent down to the wheels. Included in the standard package is the full load-bearing air suspension system AIRMATIC with its adaptive shock-absorbing system (ADS) as well as a load recognition feature.
Mercedes-Benz should be applauded for the thoroughness of its update to the G-class: this oil-burner gets M-B’s seven-speed auto ’box, electro-hydraulic power steering even, and returns an acceptable (for a two and a half tonne off-road behemoth) 25mpg and 295g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle.
Furthermore, the On & Off-Road package comprises an under-run protection for the engine, fibre-reinforced under-floor panelling, a two-stage power transmission with reduction gears, a longitudinal differential lock and extended Airmatic functions allowing a maximum ground clearance of 306mm and fording depth of 600mm.
As a true go-anywhere off-roader now with added creature comforts, the G-class has a place for those who can afford the premium. It certainly got character to burn and provides a real luxury feeling for prospective buyers. All Mercedes-Benz vehicles are under the franchise-ship of Weststar Associates.