6 Aug 2012

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL Class

The GL Class from Mercedes was, essentially, a G Class replacement.  But whereas the rough and ready G Class's direct competition came from the Land Rover Defender or a 20 year old Toyota pick-up Mercedes pitched the GL class in a different field altogether.

The GL has been updated for 2013 and aims further still for the territory occupied by the Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery, Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, Toyota Land Cruiser and Audi Q7.

The main target markets are the US and Arab states where the roads are wider, and less cluttered, and fuel cheaper than here in the UK where the GL, as with all it's competition, will cost a quite a bit to run and fills the road.

The GL weighs 2.5 tonnes, sits seven passengers and is five metres long.  It is also 2.1m wide - only 40cm below the maximum width of a vehicle on UK roads.

Having to house seven people whilst retaining a decent sized boot (200 litres with the rear seats in place) and retaining the G Class's off-road ability has meant the GL is of a pretty uniform SUV shape.  High, wide and long.

But with the GL Mercedes have done a better job of creating a characterful car than the S Class - which seems to get blander through every iteration.  The body lines are crisper than before, LED features in the brake lights and in the lower front fascia and who wouldn't fail to recognise that grille.

Indeed the GL stands out as an individual piece of design in the front and rear aspects.  The side profiles could, theoretically, come from any design house but the grille, bonnet and boot all shout Mercedes.

For the size and weight of the GL the performance and fuel efficiency are not actually too bad.  It comes with two engines in the UK - a 3.0 litre V6 diesel and 5 litre V8 petrol.  The 350CDi BlueEfficiency has 258bhp, does 0-62 in 7.9 seconds and can theoretically achieve 30.7mpg.  The 500 has 435bhp, does 0-62 in 5.4 seconds and can achieve 20.5mpg.

The diesel is astonishingly efficient and the petrol astonishingly fast.

On the other hand the proposed 63 AMG has a 557bhp engine, does 0-62 in 4.9 seconds and drinks fuel at 19.1mpg.

Prices range from £58,935 for the 350CDi to £73,075 for the 500 with Sports Pack.  Mercedes haven't released prices for the AMG yet.