TORONTO, ON – The award-winning seven-passenger GL-Class – the first full-size SUV from Mercedes-Benz – boasts a powerful new model for 2008. The fully equipped, 382-horsepower GL550 model is joining the highly successful GL450 and the diesel-powered GL320 CDI.
A Totally New Mercedes-Benz Class
A totally new class of Mercedes-Benz last year, the GL won the 2007 AJAC Canadian Car of the Year Award for Best New SUV over $60,000. The GL-Class features four-wheel independent suspension and height-adjustable AIRMATIC suspension for unprecedented comfort and handling.
With nearly all previous options now made standard equipment, the new GL550 comes fully loaded with the latest innovations in occupant safety and creature comforts. On the outside, the GL550 distinguishes itself with a unique styling treatment that includes 21-inch AMG wheels fitted with all-season tires, fender flares, chrome trim, blue-tinted glass and a larger execution of the Mercedes-Benz star integrated into the front grille.
Rich, Sporty Interiors with Flexible Cargo Space
The interior of the GL is fitted with real wood trim, eight-way power front seats and a stationary rear sunroof over the third-row seats. The two third-row seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a button, either separately or together, to provide a totally flat cargo floor for 1,240 litres (43.8 cubic feet) of cargo, and with the second row seats stowed as well, there’s more than 2,300 litres (83 cubic feet) of cargo room.
Mercedes-Benz Safety is Standard
The GL-Class lines come standard with Electronic Stability Program (ESP), ABS anti-lock brakes, two-stage adaptive air bags for the driver and front passenger, door-mounted side air bags in front, curtain side air bags and adaptive belt tensioners and belt force limiters. A rollover sensor can activate the belt tensioner and curtain air bags if the vehicle senses an imminent rollover.
All-Aluminium 5.5-Litre V8 Power
The new GL550 is powered by a 5.5-litre all-aluminium V8 that produces 382 hp and 391 foot-pounds of torque, with maximum torque available from 2,800 to 4,800 rpm, providing impressive engine response over a broader RPM range. The 4.6-litre engine in the GL450 and the 5.5-litre in the new GL550 are part of the same engine family that comes with four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts in each cylinder bank and variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust valves. The new engine also has “tumble flaps” in the intake for better fuel economy and an electronically controlled two-stage intake manifold that broadens the power curve.
Variable Valve Timing and Tumble Flaps Improve Fuel Efficiency
Valve timing is automatically adjusted by electro-hydraulic vane-type adjusters on the end of each camshaft. At partial throttle, the adjusters keep the exhaust valves open as the intake valves are opening, using this valve overlap for internal exhaust gas recirculation, reducing exhaust emissions and improving fuel economy. Approaching full throttle, the camshaft adjustment optimizes valve timing for maximum power.
Tumble flaps in the intake passages near the combustion chamber pivot open under partial load, improving combustion by creating additional turbulence around the intake valve and in the combustion chamber. During higher engine loads such as full throttle, the tumble flaps are completely recessed in the wall of the intake manifold. While better combustion helps improve engine torque, the primary purpose of the tumble flaps is to further increase fuel economy, and tests show that the tumble flaps indeed boost gas mileage by nearly two percent.
While variable valve timing gets a lot of credit for the engine’s unusually broad torque curve, a two-stage magnesium intake manifold plays a key role as well. Below engine speeds of 3,500 rpm a set of flaps in the manifold close off short intake passages, forcing intake air to take a much longer route into the engine. This creates pressure waves that help the intake process and improve torque. At higher engine speeds the flaps open and intake air flows the shortest distance to the combustion chambers, helping to make more horsepower.
GL320 CDI Boasts Fuel Economy of a Four and Torque of a V8
The diesel-powered GL320 CDI delivers impressive performance, low exhaust emissions and great fuel economy. With 215 hp and a whopping 398 lb-ft. of torque, the GL320 CDI features an innovative V6 diesel engine with the torque of a V8 and the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. Equipped with the latest CDI technology, this third generation electronically injected diesel engine is changing consumers’ dated perceptions about diesel engines.
The GL320 CDI has a significantly longer cruising range, more than 960 kilometers (600 miles) traveling at highway speeds. Equally important, the GL320 CDI will do all that without sacrificing performance. In addition, its V8-like pulling power makes the GL320 CDI ideal for towing when it’s equipped with a 3400 kilograms (7500-lb.) trailer hitch.
CDI diesel technology will help expand the company’s already broad product portfolio in the Canadian market. In addition, Mercedes-Benz’ pioneering role in modern diesel engines is likely to play a key role in the company’s future products that could also include hybrids, advanced piston engines and fuel cells.
The Mercedes-Benz Alabama Plant
Along with the M-Class and R-Class, the GL-Class sport utility vehicle is produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which began production in 1997 with the first-generation M-Class. Since 2001, more than $600 million has been invested to expand the facility for production of the three SUV lines.
About Mercedes-Benz Canada
Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of the three brands within the Mercedes Car Group in Canada; Mercedes-Benz, smart, and Maybach. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada employs approximately 990 people in 19 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of 18 Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 39 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 17,567 vehicles in 2006, the best year ever reported for Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.
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