Mercedes-Benz unveiled a new highlight in the luxury SUV market segment: the GL-Class. Available in five-and seven-seat cabin layouts, the GL-Class premium off-roader offers excellent handling both on and off-pavement.
A 4.6-liter, 335-horsepower V8 engine powers the 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission that drives all four wheels through the company’s 4Matic 4WD system. The hardware roster also includes a four-wheel-independent suspension, speed-sensitive steering, and 18-inch alloy wheels wearing 265/60 all-season tires. An Airmatic air suspension and adaptive damping shocks are optional. The 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is rated to tow up to 7,500 pounds, and if history is any indicator, a Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG is likely arriving in showrooms for 2008 or 2009.
Downhill Assist Regulation and Hill Start Assist technologies are standard on the 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, while an Off-Road package includes a two-speed transfer case, front and rear locking differentials, and an air suspension that can raise the GL-Class an additional 12 inches to create a maximum fording depth of 23 inches.
Inside the 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, leather and burl walnut wood dominate, and there’s a standard power sunroof with a fixed glass panel located over the third-row seats. When the power split-folding third-row seats are not in use, the GL-Class can carry 43.8 cubic feet of cargo. Fold the second-row seats and it can manage up to 83 cubic feet of stuff. As with the M- and R-Class models, a long list of optional features including Premium, Sport, Comfort, and Entertainment packages is likely to be available, along with features such as a navigation system, satellite radio, and Keyless Go ignition.
Mercedes-Benz is unveiling a new highlight in the luxury Sports Utility Vehicle market segment: the GL-Class. The seven-seater premium off-roader offers excellent handling both on and off-road and pampers occupants with its extremely spacious accommodation and the comfort of a luxury saloon. The GL-Class sets another milestone with PRE-SAFE®, the comprehensive safety system, a first in this market segment.
With its poised, assured presence, the GL-Class leaves you in no doubt about its aspirations to conquer this 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.
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 passengers. 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 distance to the middle row of seats is 815 mm, with 979 mm headroom for passengers. If you need fewer seats, the rear individual seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a button, either individually or in tandem, to provide a completely flat load surface. In the five-seater version, luggage compartment capacity is 1240 litres.
The GL-Class can provide up to 2300 litres of load capacity, with the load compartment measuring 2128 mm in length. In line with the wide range of applications handled by the versatile all-rounder, the THERMATIC automatic climate control system fitted as standard in the GL 320 CDI provides consistent temperature for all seven seats both in the depths of winter and on those sweltering summer days. The versions with V8 engines such as the GL 420 CDI, GL 450 and GL 500 come as standard with the multi-zone THERMOTRONIC system, which offers even more climatic comfort. Other standard-fit convenience and comfort appointments include ARTICO man-made leather upholstery combinations, electrically adjustable front seats and a fixed rear glass roof above the third row of seats.
Intelligent solutions promote excellent safety
The GL-Class makes full use of the advantages of its unitised body, combining optimum strength with intelligent lightweight steel design. The result is excellent passive safety. Combined with the front and rear deformation zones, the high-strength occupant cell forms an efficient base for the occupant protection systems that include:
- Adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger
- Sidebags in the front, and in the middle row of seats as an option
- Windowbags across all three rows of seats from the A to the D-pillar
- NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger as an option
- 3-point seat belts on all seven seats
- Seat-belt tensioners and adaptive belt-force limiters for the driver and front passenger, seat-belt tensioners and belt-force limiters on the outer seats in the middle row
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 and 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 for nothing that the model designation echoes the legendary precursor of all Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles – the G-Class. The evergreen off-roader is entering its 27th year of production and will continue to be marketed alongside the new GL-Class.
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 Damping System also fitted as standard, the imposing GL-Class (wheelbase 3075 mm) handles impressively. Handling when pulling a trailer is no less impressive thanks to the ESP® Trailer Stabilisation. It defuses critical driving situations involving a trailer before they become dangerous by precisely applying the brakes, while AIRMATIC provides fully automatic level adjustment.
Special off-road features such as Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), hill-start assist and off-road ABS assist the GL-Class driver off-road. The Off-Road Pro engineering package, standard on all ECE models, means the GL-Class can also handle the most extreme off-road terrain. This includes a two-speed transfer case with a low range ratio and 100 percent differential locks for the transfer case and the rear axle. The modified AIRMATIC air suspension, designed specifically for the more demanding conditions, increases the ground clearance to a maximum of 307 millimetres where required, and raises the fording depth to 600 millimetres.
Majestic drive systems: new V6 and V8 engines
The ultra-modern engine line-up provides superlative drive comfort and compelling performance in all GL-Class models, coupled with superior fuel consumption figures compared with other vehicles in the class. Alongside the 165-kW/224-hp V6 engine in the GL 320 CDI, the range of diesel models includes the new-generation high-performance V8 diesel in the GL 420 CDI, which now has an output of 225 kW/ 306 hp and maximum torque of 700 Nm. Both diesel-powered versions undercut the EU 4 limits and feature a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter. In addition to the newly developed 5.5-litre, 285-kW/388-hp engine in the GL 500, launched earlier in the new S-Class, the second unit in this ultra-modern V8 family of engines is celebrating its world premiere in the GL-Class. In the GL 450 the 4.6-litre engine develops 250 kW/340 hp. Both engines also fulfil the stringent EU 4 limits (USA: LEV II standard).
All GL-Class engine variants come with the standard-fit 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT. Excellent performance and low fuel consumption result not just from the perfect combination of ultra-modern engines with 7G-TRONIC and the friction-optimised powertrain. 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.
Success story from state-of-the-art production facilities
Mercedes Quality - Made in the USA; has established itself as the company’s new trademark on the other side of the Atlantic and illustrates the success story of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama. The birthplace of the GL-Class started production in 1997 as the first Mercedes-Benz plant outside Europe. Around 600 million US dollars have been invested since 2001 in expanding and constantly modernising the plant; overall the company has invested around 1 billion US dollars. Following the extension of the Tuscaloosa plant in May 2005, its theoretical annual production capacity for all model series stands at 160,000 units. The new GL-Class is now the third model series to be built here, alongside the M-Class and the R-Class.
The new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is being given its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show 2006 in Detroit. US customers will be the first to savour the delights of the new trendsetter in the spring; European customers will have to wait until September 2006 for a taste of the versatile off-roader.
Design: A symbol of muscular power and prestige
The appearance of the new GL-Class leaves observers in no doubt whatsoever as to the strong character of the luxurious Sport Utility Vehicle: the premium off-roader from Mercedes-Benz displays size, robustness and muscular power in abundance as well as being sporty and dynamic in character. Despite a typically off-road body with short overhangs, its own, vibrant personality shines through.
This effect is thanks in no small part to an extremely linear design that is without superfluous flourishes yet displays remarkable finesse. Large surfaces and clearly defined, powerful lines create distinctive contours and visually emphasise the robustness and sheer athleticism at the heart of the GL-Class. The roof rails, wheels and exterior mirrors are generously proportioned and enhance the powerful appearance. At the same time, a closer inspection reveals finely drawn, sinewy lines that add to the extraordinary appeal of the new Mercedes off-roader, giving it a highly prestigious feel. This is a luxury vehicle with backbone and noblesse.
Front end with a no-nonsense character
The front-end design also emphasises the solid nature of the new GL-Glass. A steeply angled, robust radiator grille with a centrally positioned star dominates the front view. Two particularly powerful transverse louvres in silver with broad chrome highlights lend the vehicle a muscular look. The backdrop here is provided by a black honeycomb structure which is echoed in the air intake opening below the bumper.
The high bonnet, a classic off-road feature, has two powerdomes running along its length. Sharply defined ridges delineate the bonnet on the left and right and form an unusually distinctive link between the bonnet and headlamps, evoking the image of an athletic, chiselled musculature.
The wide clear-lens headlamps together with the clearly structured halogen projection-beam technology form a high-quality light unit. The fog lamps (with the cornering light function if this option is ordered) are housed in the bumper in a separate, extremely solid frame whose robust design is emphasised by two horizontal fins. The standard-version light units are ringed in black. If the cornering light function is specified, they have chrome surrounds. The upper part of the bumper is painted in body colour, while the section below this is trimmed in dark grey. This horizontal colour contrast makes the off-roader appear lighter and sleeker. A chrome-look underride guard, available as an optional extra, reinforces this impression.
Silhouette: elegance and durability
From the side, it is clear that the GL-Class offers ample space. There is an overriding impression of length. The long wheelbase and a high roof line which extends as far as the rear wall create a dynamic silhouette. Large window areas emphasise these lines, further adding to the air of elegance whilst also ensuring excellent visibility and a bright interior atmosphere. By way of contrast, the upright D-pillar is in keeping with the off-road character and solidity of the vehicle and serves to underline its dependability in any situation.
Dynamic side lines, which make the vehicle appear longer whilst also emphasising its strong, solid character, are testament to a meticulously thought-out design. A crease line emerges from the headlamp surround and runs smoothly along the front wing, across the A-pillar and the side roof frame before reaching the tailgate. Most prominent of all is the waistline which emanates ahead of the front wheel arch, rises rearwards and reaches its conclusion at a point above the tail lights. Beneath this is a further crease line stretching from the front wing, across the doors and as far as the D-pillar.
Generously-sized rub strips add structure to the side surfaces and, together with the solid roof rails in black or chrome, create a sporty, prestigious appearance.The powerfully accentuated wings with broad chamfered edges and the large light-alloy wheels with robustly dimensioned spokes lend the vehicle a firm-looking stance.
Distinctive rear end
The high rear end is divided by horizontal crease lines which emphasise the width of the vehicle and reduce the impression of height. This effect is reinforced by the raised position of the sturdy rear bumper, the high-quality chrome handle in the tailgate and the chromed rectangular tailpipes occupying a wide position on each side of the rear end.The impressive tail lights feature a new take on the classic Mercedes-Benz "ribbed lenses" theme. Ribbed areas and smooth surfaces alternate whilst two wide highlights, which are themselves subdivided by chrome highlights, appear to split the tail lights.
The reflectors have been removed from the main light unit and are now arranged separately in the bumper below the loading sill. The third brake light has been located in the roof spoiler.Optional extras include a stainless-steel scratch guard on the bumper loading sill as well as a chrome-look stainless-steel underride guard similar to the one fitted at the front end.
High-grade interior materials
The interior is dominated by high-quality materials displaying handcrafted precision and attention to detail, creating a luxurious, tasteful ambience which embraces the special character of an off-roader in many respects. The smooth dashboard and door surfaces underline robustness and self-assurance, whilst the colour contrast between the darker upper section and the lighter lower section as well as the continuous wood trim elements lend the interior a sense of breadth and spaciousness.
Drivers of the new GL-Class sit behind a four-spoke multifunction steering wheel featuring aluminium-style lower spokes. Behind this is the upper section of the dashboard, also trimmed in leather, rising in a powerful arch that spans the instrument clusters. The instruments are housed in two slanting tubes, making them easy to read and giving them a sporty appearance. Fine chrome rings surrounding the tubes add a further touch of elegance.
The console in the centre of the dashboard features a clearly defined, smooth design and houses easy-to-reach, logically positioned control and display functions. Here the emphasis is firmly on perfect ergonomics and tangible precision. Adjoining this area is the sturdy centre console with stowage compartments and integral cup holder functions as well as two robust, longitudinally arranged grab handles which echo the lines of the trim strips in the doors and provide useful support points when driving off-road.The door centre panels and the armrests are padded and feature an elegant trim as well as distinctive topstitching. Once again, wood trim elements catch the eye. There is a choice between bird’s-eye poplar, burr walnut with chrome trim strips or pale birch with chrome trim strips.
Colours and paints
The new GL-Class comes with a choice of three interior appointments colours: black, alpaca grey or buckskin (a fine shade of beige). These can be combined with two non-metallic and nine metallic paint finishes.