Mercedes GL and GLK spy photos

Published: 10 February 2009

With a beady eye on its bottom line, Mercedes is giving its vast GL the mildest of mild mid-life updates, as caught here by our frozen spy photographer, as it underwent cold weather testing well north of the Artic Circle. Unfortunately our snapper also papped the unfeasibly ugly GLK, piggybacking on the GL’s test session, as it tried out a new advanced lighting system. Avert your eyes now…

The GL doesn't look that different…

That’s because it isn’t. Rather than a full-scale – read unduly expensive – overhaul for its summer debut, the big off-roader is getting the mildest of revisions to its grille, headlamps, bonnet and taillights. Expect LED daylights, a chunkier grille and restyled headlights to steal the headlines. Interestingly, the badging on the back of the GL test cars showed them to be diesel BlueTech models aimed at trying to convince the diesel-shunning US market to have a go at the black pump.

Any other changes?

Our man with the long lens couldn't get a shot of the GL’s cabin – to be frank he was scared off by the sheer ugliness of the GLK – but as with the sheetmetal changes, we expect the cabin to remain largely as is, and similarly, the engine line-up will (BlueTech models aside) stick with the existing diesel and petrol V6 and V8s.

And what’s going on with the GLK?

As far as we can tell the GLK is being tested out with a new LED and Xenon intelligent lighting system – you know, the kind that varies it beam intensity and spread according to speed and road conditions. But as the GLK doesn't come to the UK – and because it made our eyes water when we stared at it for anything more than a few seconds – we didn't look too closely…

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars