2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class at the 2012 New York Auto Show
The 2013 Mercedes GL is that debuted in New York is a larger, safer, roomier and more advanced version of its former self
by Jim Davis | 06 April 2012
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Comfort, safety, elegance, efficiency – the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is the leading luxury full-size SUV. New innovations like standard COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (CPA), Crosswind Stabilization, self-leveling air suspension and electromechanical steering all increase active safety. Also new are assistance systems like Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist, as well as PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist and the Surround View camera. With benchmark performance and ride characteristics both on-road and in rugged terrain, the GL-Class cradles its occupants with the first-class comfort of a luxurious sedan. The all-new GL is perfect for large families with ample space for up to seven passengers, while a host of efficiency measures delivers a substantial improvement in fuel economy. The 2013 GL-Class goes on sale in the U.S. in September 2012.
Its balanced proportions (length 201.6 inches, width 84.3 inches, height 72.8 inches) and generous wheelbase (121 inches) reaffirm the on-road comfort of this vehicle. At the same time, the short overhangs front and rear, as well as substantial ground clearance are clear indications of its off-road capabilities.
The typically high SUV waistline with a distinctive chrome strip, the dynamic sweep of the character line and the chrome edging around the windows all add to the refined look of the all-new GL. The standard wheels on the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 are 19-inch twin five-spoke alloys, while the GL550 comes with 21-inch AMG twin 5-spoke wheels. 20-inch 10-spoke alloys are available as options on the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450.
Split LED taillight clusters feature light guide technology, and a large roof spoiler and bumper in the modern “wing” design with a large chrome skidplate complete the impressive exterior.
For GL customers who value a more sporty, dynamic look, illuminated brushed aluminum running boards are standard on the GL550 and available as an option for the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450. Also available for the GL450 is the Appearance package with 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, illuminated running boards and dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets.
Inner values – the GL-Class delivers first-class travel
Powerfully dynamic and elegant interior architecture, fine materials and lots of attention to detail, perfect ergonomics and generous amounts of space – the interior of the GL-Class conveys Mercedes-Benz’s characteristic first-class ambience. Large trim pieces in fine wood finish, operating controls in silver chrome, and upholstery in MB-Tex with contrasting stitching reaffirm the overall premium feel of the GL’s interior. The seating offers plenty of space for seven in a 2-3-2 layout. Compared with the previous model, occupants have more shoulder, elbow and headroom on all three seating rows. Electric operation of the third row is a standard feature. A new option is the Power EASY-ENTRY system for access to the third seat row. The second-row bench offers a wide range of positioning options for even more interior versatility, including rear-seat recline and a 60/40 split for optimizing the luggage area, which has a load volume ranging from 16 to 94 cubic feet.
The dashboard design emphasizes the width of the interior. The modern instrument cluster boasts a premium look-and-feel with two clearly designed and easy-to-read dials and a large 4.5-inch photo-quality color display between them. The top of the dashboard is dominated by a large central color screen for the infotainment system. The operating and display concept is extremely user friendly, with the controller now located on the center console. It has a fine metal finish and offers intuitive and simple operation of infotainment, navigation and communication systems. Standard equipment includes a multifunction steering wheel in premium leather with gearshift controls and 12 multi-function buttons.
Beneath the center armrest with integrated hand support is a large stowage bin and, in front of it, the controls and switches for functions such as the AIRMATIC air suspension and the COMAND system. Included here are two cup holders with a premium wood retractable cover. The dashboard trim elements carry into the door trim panels, which feature distinctive stitching. The doormounted seat controls and handle are arranged in typical Mercedes fashion.
Assistance systems place the GL at the top of its class
For further improved safety and driver alertness in the new GL-Class there are a wide range of assistance systems. Standard equipment includes the usual array of stability control features ESP®, ASR, ABS and the PRE-SAFE® predictive occupant safety system, and also introduces for the first time as standard COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (CPA) and ATTENTION ASSIST driver drowsiness detection. The radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST operates at speeds between 20 and 155 mph and recognizes when the distance to the vehicle in front is decreasing. It can also recognize stationary objects. If there is an imminent risk of a collision, the system emits a visual and acoustic warning to alert the driver and prepares Brake Assist for the most immediate possible braking response, which is initiated as soon as the driver applies the brakes.
The system takes into account specific driving conditions such as bumper-tobumper traffic and adapts accordingly, calculating optimum brake pressure and adjusting it up or down as the situation changes – i.e. if the vehicle ahead accelerates, or if the distance to moving and stopping vehicles decreases. It calculates the precise braking force required to avoid an accident and makes best possible use of any distance remaining to minimize the risk of impact from the vehicle behind.
Another innovation and highlight in the new GL is the standard Crosswind Stabilization system, which assists the driver with targeted brake impulses in the event of strong crosswinds to deliver enhanced safety and vehicle control.
The optional Driver Assistance package includes DISTRONIC PLUS and PRESAFE® brake with autonomous braking function to optimize safety in certain dangerous situations. The package also comes with Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist. The Parking Assist package for the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 features PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist for automatic maneuvering in and out of parallel parking spots, plus the new surround view camera. It uses image data from four cameras at the front and rear of the vehicle and in the exterior mirror casings to calculate a bird’s eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings, and shows this and other perspectives on the large COMAND display. Also available for the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 is the Lighting package, which includes Bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination & Corner Illuminating Lamps, a headlamp cleaning system and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. The equipment in the Parking Assist and Lighting packages is standard for the GL550.
Passive safety – comprehensive safety for seven passengers
Together with the “electronic crumple zones” provided by the assistance systems and the intelligent bodyshell design, the passive occupant protection systems provide the highest possible level of protection. Adaptive, two-stage airbags for driver and front seat passenger, driver side knee airbag, front & rear side airbags and window curtain airbags across all three seating rows are all standard equipment, while all seven seats are fitted with three-point safety belts. It is important to visit a car insurance comparison site that considers the added safety features when giving you a insurance quote as they will save you money over standard SUV’s without such safety features.Pyrotechnic pre-tensioners, constant belt force limiters and electrically reversible pre-tensioners are all standard on the front seats, while the outboard seats on the middle row and the individual third-row seats are fitted with pre-tensioners and single-stage belt force limiters.
Clean power – the GL-Class engines
All three of the engines in the new GL lineup deliver outstanding performance paired with excellent efficiency.
|Model||cyl.||cm3||hp @ rpm||lb-ft @ rpm||0-60
|6 turbo||2,987||240 @ 3,600||455 @
|GL450||8 turbo||4,663||362 @
|GL550||8 turbo||4,663||429 @ 5,250||516 @
The extensively re-engineered V6 under the hood of the new GL350 BlueTEC generates 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, marking an increase of 30 hp and 55 lb-ft over the outgoing model. SCR technology and AdBlue® injection place it well within emissions requirements across all 50 states. Supremely fuel efficient, it offers astonishing range on a single tank, paired with excellent pulling power from very low revs.
The twin-turbo direct-injection V8 motor in the best-selling GL450 is an outstanding combination of performance and efficiency. With 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, it offers 27 hp and 67 lb-ft more than its predecessor. This added power and higher peak torque delivered over a wider rev range deliver all the prerequisites for relaxed long-distance cruising, as well as the versatility and responsiveness to deal with a wide variety of day-to-day activities.
At the top of the list, the GL550 now comes with a direct-injection twin-turbo 429 hp engine with a mighty 516 lb-ft of peak torque. While the extra 47 hp brings even more performance to this supremely refined full-size SUV, it is the added 125 lb-ft of peak torque that truly make themselves felt, in terms of off the line performance and the ability of the GL550 to handle heavy loads with ease. Alongside state-of-the-art engine technology, all three engines are equipped with extensive efficiency measures like direct-injection and paired with the new seven-speed automatic transmission. Intelligent alternator management keeps fuel consumption down, as does the electromechanical steering, the optimized belt drive with decoupler, the intelligent demand-based control of all auxiliary equipment and pumps. A key feature of the GL350 BlueTEC is also the SCR exhaust system optimized for airflow and back pressure.
The front and rear suspension links, as well as the hood and fenders are made from lightweight and tough aluminum alloy. Further weight reduction was achieved with the new acoustic front windshield, the magnesium transverse mount supporting the dashboard, the BlueTEC system with SCR technology and components such as the new electromechanical steering, electric parking brake, polymer engine mounts and the aluminum brake servo unit. These weight reduction measures increase the agility of the full-size SUV while at the same time reducing fuel consumption.
S-Class comfort with ground-breaking handling both on and off-road
Relaxed, safe driving under all possible conditions both on-road and off-road is one of the strengths of the new GL-Class. NVH characteristics (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) are particularly impressive and on par with the S-Class. The foundation for the high comfort level is the extremely stiff bodyshell, an optimized driveline, improved chassis, aeroacoustic refinement and the intelligent application of new kinds of insulation. Excellent agility, dynamic onroad handling and outstanding off-road capabilities have long been among the benefits of the GL-Class. Standard equipment includes the AIRMATIC full air suspension system with self-leveling function. AIRMATIC delivers outstanding comfort paired with considerably improved stability. It compensates for all manner of driving conditions with features such as crosswind stabilization and the self-leveling function. The optional Active Curve System works at the front and rear axles with active anti-roll bars to compensate for body roll during cornering, delivering a considerable boost to agility and driver involvement. Added stability, further improved comfort and enhanced off-road capabilities are further attributes of the Active Curve System.
The GL is also superbly equipped for trips off of the asphalt. In addition to 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, standard equipment includes a hill start assistant, and Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR). The On- and Off-Road package, available as an option for the GL450 and GL550, enhances handling and safety with six programs, delivering optimum driveline control across the most diverse conditions on the road and on rugged terrain. On the hardware side, the On- and Off-Road package incorporates a skidplate, a two-stage transfer case with reduction gearing, a longitudinal differential lock and expanded AIRMATIC functions that deliver ground clearance of 12 inches and a wading depth of 23.6 inches.
Complete model lineup, compelling equipment packages
Extensive standard equipment, individual equipment packages and an attractive range of paint finishes and premium interior appointments define the look of the new GL-Class. It comes to the U.S. market in three model variants, the GL350 BlueTEC with a V6 diesel, the GL450 and GL550 V8 biturbo gasoline versions.
The comprehensive list of standard equipment has been significantly expanded in comparison with the previous model. It incorporates safety features such as ATTENTION ASSIST, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST and Crosswind Stabilization. Comfort details like the power liftgate, an electric power/tilt sliding glass sunroof, MB-Tex upholstery with perforated surface finish and heated 8-way power front seats with driver 4-way lumbar support are also standard, as is the COMAND system with central controller.
A wide range of optional packages provides customers with extensive choice and added refinement. The Premium 1 package for the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 includes the iPod/MP3 media interface, hard-drive navigation and voice control, satellite radio and multi-color ambient lighting with illuminated door sills, and memory function for the front seats. The Premium 2 package adds the harman/kardon LOGIC7® surround-sound system, KEYLESS-GO and softclose doors. Further packages available for the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 are the Lighting package, the Parking Assist package, the Lane Tracking package with Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. The GL450 also offers the Appearance package with 20-inch 10-spoke wheels, illuminated running boards and dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets.
The GL550 boasts an unparalleled array of standard equipment that also includes driver and passenger multi-contour seats with massage function and active ventilation, 3-zone automatic climate control and rear air conditioning, an iPod/MP3 media interface, hard-drive navigation and voice control, the harman/kardon LOGIC7® surround-sound system, satellite radio, multi-color ambient lighting, KEYLESS-GO, soft-close doors, PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist, Bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination and Corner Illuminating Lamps and illuminated brushed aluminum running boards. Its safety equipment is further enhanced by Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist and Surround View.
The Driver Assistance package is available for all three models, while the On- and Off-road package can be selected for the GL450 and GL550. A further array of standalone and special order options is available for all three models. A fine choice of flat and metallic paint finishes spans from Black and Arctic White, to Cinnabar Red, Obsidian Black, Steel Grey, Iridium Silver, Pearl Beige, Dakota Brown, Diamond White and Lunar Blue.
Inside, the GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 are fitted with Eucalyptus wood trim as standard, while the GL550 comes with Burl Walnut. MB-Tex upholstery is offered in Black, Almond Beige or Grey, with genuine leather in a choice of Black, Almond Beige or Grey. designo upholstery with DINAMICA headliner as well as designo Black Piano Lacquer Wood Trim and a designo wood/leather multifunction steering wheel are optionally available.
Mercedes offers the broadest SUV lineup
Globally, the most diverse range of SUVs in the premium segment comes from Mercedes-Benz. A total of five model lines are available around the world. Alongside the GL-Class, the successful global family encompasses the distinctive GLK, the classic “G” all-terrain vehicle, the long-distance specialist the R-Class and the bestselling M-Class. Mercedes-Benz is also the premium SUV manufacturer with the longest tradition. SUVs account for around one fifth of the brand’s global sales volumes, with the U.S. being by far the largest market for the entire SUV family. With 27,000 units sold in 2011, this is where the GL-Class achieved a market share of around 30 percent, making it the absolute market leader in its segment. The second largest SUV market overall is China, followed by Germany.
Quick Reference: Performance/Availability:
- On-Sale: September 2012
- 2013 GL350 BlueTEC: 240hp, 455 lb-ft (Previously 210 hp, 400 lb-ft)
- 2013 GL450: 362hp, 406 lb-ft (Previously 335 hp, 339 lb-ft)
- 2013 GL550: 429hp, 516 lb-ft (Previously 382 hp, 391 lb-ft)
New Standard Feature Highlights:
- COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST
- ATTENTION ASSIST
- Crosswind Stabilization
- Central COMAND controller
- Electromechanical steering
- Direct-injection twin-turbo gasoline V8 engines
- Color instrument cluster display
New Optional Feature Highlights:
- Multi-color Ambient Lighting
- PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist
- Active Curve System
- On- and Off-Road Package
- Surround View Camera
- Driver Assistance Package
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist
- Power EASY-ENTRY second row
- Panorama roof