TopGear.com04 April 2012

New Mercedes GL launches in New York

Merc’s monster Q7 rival and favourite of Lewis Hamilton gets a refresh

New Mercedes GL Class

You don’t see many Merc GLs in the UK. It’s even bigger than a Range Rover, but it’s not a Range Rover. A hard sell then, even with the cache of once being the off-duty wheels of choice of a certain Mr Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton of, um, Stevenage.

Lewis used to say he liked it because it was as far from his weekend car as it was possible to get. Which doesn’t quite explain why he had AMG build him a one-off GL63…

Anyway. Here’s the new one, like the old one, based on the ML Class and made in America. It’s much the same size as its predecessor and available with a whole lexicon of new acronyms and an AMG body kit complete with 21ins wheels. As Lewis specced on his.  

See more pictures of the new Mercedes GL

Benz says the new technology in the GL makes it as safe and smooth as an S-Class, even off-road (but not on those whopping rims, one assumes). Ideas from the M-B Lab seeing the light of day for the first time are Crosswind Assist and Steer Control. We don’t need to explain the function of the former (but you have to admit it’s a good idea). The latter basically gives you bionic arms when you’re obliged to ask more of the steering than you can give it.

Other ‘apps’ making their debut in a big Benz SUV include CPA (that one is Collision Prevention Assist), Active Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist. Adding a few extra Go Pro cameras to that system also means there’s a Range Rover-like 360 degree camera view. Wire in the sonars from the parking sensors and the new GL will park itself. Providing you can find a 5.1-metre plus parking bay, of course.

We have to admit to rather liking the way it looks. Especially the inside and extra-specially with those quilted leather chairs — who needs a Bentley SUV? Incidentally, for those interested in these things, those cupholders are heated. Or chilled. Americans love that kind of stuff, which is why they buy GLs by the gross, whereas here only 500 or so find (large) homes each year.

Power comes from the new-gen 4.6-litre V8 (if you’re in the US) or the three-litre V6 diesel (the better choice for Europe). C02 is down and MPG up, in both cases by around 20 per cent, the V8 returning 25mpg and the diesel 38mpg and as low as 192 grammes/km, which once again is impressive carbon reduction from Mercedes-Benz, who do seem masters of the sooty arts.

See more pictures of the new Mercedes GL

The GL is not due in the UK until next year. So you have plenty of time to work on channelling Lewis and working on that beard... 



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