Mercedes GL-class (2012) first official pictures | CAR Magazine

Mercedes GL-class (2012) first official pictures

Published: 11 April 2012 Updated: 26 January 2015

After churning out a brand-new ML and tweaked G-class, Mercedes’ 4×4 range update continues apace with the new GL.

The new 2012 Mercedes GL-class doesn’t look like it’s got any smaller…

Correct. The Stateside favourite is still more ‘XL’ than GL, reaching more than five metres in length and two metres wide. The burly body needed to carry seven people in comfort over any terrain they choose has at least had a nip and tuck in order to remain fresh.

New LED-rich headlights sandwich a reprofiled grille, while the rear enjoys yet more chrome on the underguards and LED tailights. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard.

Presumably there’s the usual raft of Mercedes engines available?

Naturally. Such girth requires a decent amount of poke to pull it along, so GL-class buyers can choose between a GL350 BlueTec diesel, or if you must, a GL500 V8 petrol. The 350 manages 254bhp/457lb ft, and crucially for the UK, 38mpg and 192g/km of CO2, figures 20% better than the old car.

Continuing Mercedes’ incomprehnsible naming strategy, the 4.6-litre GL500 musters 402bhp, but is slightly down on torque versus the V6 diesel, with 442lb ft of twist. It’s more significantly down on efficiency, at 25mpg and 262g/km. The V8 will at least take you and the family to 62mph in 5.9 seconds, a full two seconds quicker than the GL350, and top out at the usual 155mph.

Any other highlights?

The new GL’s trump card is the sheer volume of safety and assistance systems it offers to the driver, to keep manhandling its considerable bulk as stress-free as possible.

Adaptive air suspension is designed to offer S-class levels of NVH on the road and up to 285mm of ground clearance off it, while collision prevention systems alert the driver to potential obstacles in the road. The GL will even automatically brake and countersteer itself if it detects an oversteer situation, or a crosswind.

For passengers, entertainment is covered by a 14.7cm central screen, premuim hi-fi, and Mercedes Comand system with internet access. So, not only is the GL the size of a house, but it’s got just about all the gadgets you’d expect to find in one too.

When is the new GL on sale?

Assuming you’ve got a few acres to park it on, the new GL-class reaches UK showrooms in early 2013, with prices yet to be announced. Expect a slight increase over the current model’s £59k-73k cost.

The GL will remain a relatively rare sight in Britain, as the US and Middle East markets swallow the vast bulk of sales. Only some 2500 Merc GLs found homes in Europe in 2011.

By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish