The new GL-Class is celebrating its first appearance outside the confines of European exhibition centres on Iceland, a place where this multi-talented vehicle can demonstrate its versatile range of capabilities to particularly good effect. This country, being close to the Arctic Circle, is able to provide a tremendously varied range of conditions within a small area. In the capital city of Reykjavik, the urban qualities of the GL come into their own. The superlatively constructed main arterial routes are strongly reminiscent of conventional mainland trunk roads and motorways and communicate the performance characteristics of this all-rounder in conditions similar to everyday driving in Central Europe most effectively. In contrast to this, the many unsurfaced tracks and offroad sections give a clear indication of how well this vehicle performs when it leaves the tarmac. Then we have the exceptionally variable weather, magnificently compensated for by the climate control system on the GL. Even in summer, snowfall or snow showers at temperatures down around freezing point are not uncommon, while temperatures above 20° Celsius are equally likely to arise. It is not without due reason that these direct descendants of the Vikings maintain that their island has four seasons, all of which can frequently be experienced in the course of a single day!
The focus here is on models incorporating ultra-modern diesel technology featuring particulate filters as standard equipment: the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC and GL 420 CDI 4MATIC. The seven-seater premium off-roader, considered to be the new star in the luxury Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment of the market, delivers excellent dynamic driving properties both on and off the road, pampering its occupants with its spacious interior and the comfort levels of a luxurious saloon. The GL-Class sets yet another milestone with its comprehensive PRE-SAFE® safety concept, a total innovation in this segment.
The compelling design of the new GL-Class features serene body surfaces combined with more powerful elements and some striking points of detail, creating an image of power and exclusivity and imbuing this luxury off-roader with thrusting forwards poise even when stationary.
Four ultra-modern engines – two petrol and two diesel – deliver the superlative performance attributes of this versatile all-rounder. The two direct-injection diesel engines in the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC and GL 420 CDI 4MATIC models both comply with EU4 exhaust emission standards and operate as standard with a zero-maintenance diesel particulate filter which cuts down particulate emissions without the use of additional substances by a further 99 percent.
The latest reincarnation of this V8 diesel engine in the GL 420 CDI 4MATIC owes its powerful credentials primarily to its third generation common-rail high-pressure fuel injection with a maximum injection pressure of 1600 bar, raised ignition pressure, up to five diesel injection points per injection cycle, special perforated nozzles and a new design of piezo injector with more precise injection times, a power rating of 225 kW/306 hp. All of these features combine to give this off-roader the temperament of a true sportsman. The well proven V6 diesel engine in the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC delivers 165 kW/224 hp and a generous torque rating of 510 Newton metres. All engine variants of the GL are equipped as standard with the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT. The pricing level, which has to be described as restrained for this high-end market segment, adds to the attractions of this multi-talented GL, also available on request as a seven-seater. This motoring pleasure both on and off the road can be enjoyed from a price of Euro 63 684.- for the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC.
First-class on and off-road
- Motoring premiere for the new GL-Class with CDI engines
- Excellent handling both on and off-road
- Comfort more readily associated with a luxury saloon
For the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz is presenting its GL 320 CDI 4MATIC and GL 420 CDI 4MATIC models outside the exhibition centre. Both versions offer the very latest diesel technology and are equipped as standard with particulate filters. These seven-seater premium off-roaders offer excellent handling both on and off-road and pamper occupants with their extremely spacious accommodation and the comfort of a luxury saloon. The GL-Class sets another milestone with the comprehensive PRE-SAFE® safety concept, a first in this market segment.
The GL-Class meets all the requirements of a state-of-the-art, innovative SUV or even redefines them on a higher level. And of course the hallmark Mercedes off-roader genes such as superlative robustness, ruggedness and long-term durability have not been compromised. It is not without reason that the model designation echoes the legendary precursor of all Mercedes-Benz off-road cars – the G Class. The evergreen off-roader is now entering its 27th year of production and will continue to be marketed alongside the GL-Class.
With its poised, assured presence, the GL-Class leaves one in no doubt about its aspirations to conquer this highly competitive market segment. The distinctive design idiom exudes power and exclusivity. Calm body surfaces, powerful, wedge-shaped features and striking details give the impression the luxury off-roader is surging forward even when stationary. The spacious body (length 5088 mm, width 1920 mm, height 1840 mm) is beautifully proportioned, perfectly setting off this exclusive all-rounder.
Majestic drive systems: ultra-modern V6 and V8 engines
The engine line-up features four state-of-the-art powerplants that play a key role in enhancing driving enjoyment thanks to their harmonious torque and power delivery. Both direct-injection diesel engines in the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC and GL 420 CDI 4MATIC models comply with the EU 4 emissions standard and feature a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter, fitted as standard, which reduces particulate emissions by a further 99 percent without the need for additives.
The new-generation V8 diesel power plant in the GL 420 CDI 4MATIC model, with four valves per cylinder and twin turbochargers with variable nozzle turbines (VNT), makes the off-roader an even more spirited performer. Peak torque in the 4.0-litre engine has been boosted to 700 Nm, while modification measures have enabled the output to be increased from 184 kW/250 hp to 225 kW/306 hp. Furthermore, untreated emissions, fuel consumption and noise levels have been reduced. The increase in power is mainly down to the third-generation common-rail high-pressure injection system with max. 1600 bar injection pressure and the raising of the ignition pressure to 175 bar. Emissions have been cut drastically thanks to up to five diesel injections per injection process, special orifice nozzles, new piezoelectric injectors with more precise injection times and a modified exhaust gas recirculation system. The square bore/stroke ratio and a balancer shaft which rotates in the opposite direction to the crankshaft ensure outstandingly smooth operation. The tried-and-trusted V6 diesel unit in the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC model has an output of 165 kW/224 hp and an impressive peak torque of 510 Nm, which is available across a broad engine speed range. The result is a highly respectable set of performance figures.
In addition to the newly developed 5.5-litre, 285-kW/388-hp engine in the GL 500 4MATIC, launched earlier in the new S-Class, the second unit in this ultra-modern family of V8 engines is being used for the first time in the GL-Class. In the GL 450 4MATIC, the 4.6-litre engine develops 250 kW/340 hp.
All GL-Class engine variants come with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT as standard. Excellent performance and low fuel consumption result from the perfect combination of ultra-modern engines with 7G-TRONIC and the friction-optimised power train. Another important factor is the comparatively low gross vehicle weight thanks to the unitised body and the excellent aerodynamics (Cd 0.37) for such a large vehicle.
Outstanding handling on and off-road
4MATIC - the permanent all-wheel drive from Mercedes-Benz - provides the GL-Class with superior handling whatever the conditions. Together with the standard-fit AIRMATIC air suspension, the precise speed-sensitive power steering and the ADS Adaptive Damper System also fitted as standard, the imposing GL-Class (wheelbase 3075 mm) handles impressively. The latest version of the tried-and-trusted Electronic Stability Program ESP® also includes the ESP® Trailer Stabilisation component that defuses critical driving situations involving a trailer before they become dangerous by applying individual wheel brakes as required. Even when pulling the maximum trailed load of 3500 kg, the GL-Class models prove exceptional towing vehicles: alongside ESP® Trailer Stabilisation, the extremely rigid body, the automatic level control feature of the AIRMATIC system, the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and the long wheelbase length ensure safe and reliable handling when towing, even in adverse conditions such as crosswinds or when the road surface has ruts caused by heavy trucks.
The GL-Class not only cuts a fine figure on the road, its performance off the road is equally impressive. The modified AIRMATIC system permits a ground clearance of 307 mm in the highest off-road mode, in which case the fording depth is 600 mm. Should the ground clearance on occasion prove insufficient, a steel underguard protects the important chassis and power train components.
The standard-fit Off-Road Pro engineering package extends the range of options for negotiating normally impassable terrain considerably. Thanks to the transfer case reduction gearing (2.93:1) and multiple-disc locks with up to 100 percent locking at the reinforced rear axle and in the centre differential, almost all off-road terrain becomes passable. The traction-control measures are backed up by the 4ETS traction control system which increases the drive torque at the wheels offering good grip by braking the wheels providing less traction, thus enabling headway to be made even under the toughest of driving conditions. This effectively means that the front axle has an "electronic" differential lock which, in contrast to mechanical locks, ensures that the vehicle remains fully steerable. Further electronic dynamic handling control systems help to make the driver’s job easier when negotiating difficult terrain:
- The off-road ABS system, specially optimised for rough terrain, shortens braking distances on poor surfaces, loose ground or extremely steep descents by allowing the wheels to lock under certain circumstances
- Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) allows the driver to select various maximum speeds which the GL-Class will not exceed when negotiating steep descents, for example
- Hill-start assist prevents the vehicle rolling away when starting off on an uphill or downhill slope
- When the accelerator is pressed, the throttle valve opens more slowly, thus improving controllability
- Manual operation of the 7G-TRONIC using the steering-wheel shift buttons. The selected gears are retained for longer, depending on the permitted engine speeds
Two rotary controls on the centre console allow the driver to select from the drive modes and AIRMATIC modes, details of which are permanently visible on the central information display.
Superlative comfort whatever the conditions
The welcoming interior with its top-quality materials provides passengers with that feel-good atmosphere as only Mercedes knows how, with more than ample space for up to seven people. The GL-Class offers superb comfort on board - whether you’re just popping into town, cruising hundreds of kilometres or negotiating rough terrain. Occupants still enjoy good freedom of movement even on the two full-sized individual seats in the third row of seats:
The external and internal dimensions shown below are a good indicator of the spaciousness offered by the new GL-Class.
The internal dimensions clearly demonstrate that even the occupant room in the third seat row is particularly good. If these two seats are not required, they can be stowed electrically at the push of a button, either individually or in tandem, to provide a completely flat load surface. The luggage compartment capacity amounts to 1240 litres in the five-seater version. The GL-Class can provide up to 2300 litres of load capacity, with the load compartment measuring 2128 mm in length.
A complete range: equipment and appointments for even the most discerning tastes
The new GL-Class comprises four powerful models; European customers however will have to wait until September 2006 for a taste of the versatile off-roader. Extensive standard specification ensures safety, comfort and a high level of practicality for everyday driving. This starts with the GL 320 CDI 4MATIC, whose equipment includes:
- "ARTICO" man-made leather upholstery combination in grey, black or beige
- 10-way electrically adjustable front seats, driver’s seat with lumbar support
- 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive
- 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission
- Adaptive front airbags for driver and front passenger, sidebags for driver and front passenger, windowbags for passengers in all seat rows
- AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS)
- Audio 20 radio with CD player and eight loudspeakers
- Bird’s-eye poplar wood interior trim
- Cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC variable speed limiter
- DIRECT SELECT steering-wheel gearshift buttons and steering-column gear selector
- Dynamic handling systems ESP®, BAS, 4ETS, DSR and ABS (with special off-road ABS mode)
- EASY-PACK load compartment cover and safety net
- Headlamp Assist
- ISOFIX child seat attachment points in second and third seat rows
- Off-Road Pro engineering package with "shift-on-the-move" low range, multi-disc centre and rear differential locks (with up to 100% locking action), modified AIRMATIC (max. ground clearance 307 mm, max. fording depth 600 mm), additional under guard, manual mode for 7G-TRONIC
- Rear panoramic sunroof over third seat row
- Speed-sensitive power steering
- THERMATIC automatic climate control
- Three-point seat belts on all seats, driver and front passenger belts with adaptive tensioners and force limiters, belts on outer centre-row seats with tensioners and force limiters, third-row seats with tensioners
- Tyre pressure loss warning system
- Windscreen wiper/washer system with rain sensor
The standard specification of the V8 diesel-engined GL 420 CDI 4MATIC and the 250 kW/340 hp V8 petrol-engined GL 450 4MATIC also includes:
- 8.5 J x 19 light-alloy wheels with 275/55 R 19 tyres
- Automatically dimming interior and exterior mirrors
- Burr walnut wood interior trim
- Heated front seats
- Multicontour seats with memory function for driver and front passenger, also with electrically adjustable head restraints and electrically adjustable steering column
- Multi-zone THERMOTRONIC
Additional standard specification on the top-of-the-line GL 500 4MATIC includes:
- Bi-xenon headlamps with Active Light System, cornering light function and high-pressure cleaning system
- Heated second-row seats
- Light birch wood interior trim
- Nappa leather upholstery
- Remote-control electrohydraulic EASY-PACK tailgate
With the optionally available PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system, a world first in this market segment, Mercedes-Benz has raised safety to an even higher level. The system’s most striking feature: passive and active safety systems are networked with each other. PRE-SAFE® utilises the sensors in the dynamic handling control systems such as ABS, BAS (Brake Assist) and ESP® and optimises the protective function of the passive safety components in potential accident situations. The GL-Class also takes the issue of pedestrian protection to a new level. The front section includes precisely defined ample crumple space between the body and the major assemblies underneath. In conjunction with impact zones that are designed to yield, this design provides a high degree of protection both for pedestrians and cyclists.
The GL-Class meets all the requirements of a state-of-the-art, luxury SUV or even redefines them on a higher level. Yet the hallmark Mercedes off-roader genes such as superlative robustness, ruggedness and long-term durability have not been compromised. It is not without reason that the model designation echoes the legendary precursor of all Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles – the G-Class. The evergreen off-roader is now entering its 27th year of production and will continue to be marketed alongside the new GL-Class.