Already offering the broadest and most diverse product portfolio in the automotive industry, Mercedes-Benz launched its first full-size sport-utility vehicle. The highly successful auto company has entered yet another market segment with the all-new GL-Class, a seven-seat luxury sport-utility that is produced in the company’s Alabama plant along with the M-Class and R-Class.
It’s no coincidence that the new GL model designation echoes the legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Class sport utility. While the GL-Class SUV is built on an entirely new unit-body platform, the venerable G-Class is entering its 27th year of production and will continue to be marketed beside the new GL.
Mercedes-Benz Safety in a Full-Size Sport Utility
The graceful body of the new GL provides outstanding passive safety with a high-strength occupant cell protected by technologically advanced front and rear crumple zones that include new provisions to help reduce potential injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. The GL comes with two-stage front air bags for the driver and front passenger, side air bags in the front and curtain air bags that span all three seat rows.
As an added standard safety feature, standard active front head restraints move forward and upward in the event of a rear collision that exceeds its deployment threshold, helping to support the head and reduce the likelihood of whiplash injuries.
The new GL-Class comes with a 4.6-litre, 335-horsepower V8 engine, 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC full-time all-wheel drive. To complement the widely acclaimed 4MATIC system, standard features such as DSR downhill speed regulation, hill-start assist, and a special off-road ABS algorithm can help drivers during off-road excursions.
The new GL is the first seven-passenger full-size SUV with a unit-body chassis. Providing unprecedented comfort and handling, the GL also comes with four-wheel independent suspension, 18-inch 265 / 60 all-season tires, and speed-sensitive power steering as well as height-adjustable AIRMATIC springing.
An optional Off-Road Package includes a two-speed transfer case and locks for the centre and rear differentials. The package also includes modified air suspension that can increase ground clearance to 305 mm (12 inches). Also part of the Off-Road Package, ADS adaptive damping provides driver-selectable shock absorber settings ranging from a hard sporty suspension to a smooth comfort ride.
Inside, the GL is fitted with real wood trim, 8-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. As a five-seater, the GL can carry 1,240 litres (43.8 cubic feet) of cargo, and with the second row seats stowed as well, there’s 2,300 litres (81.2 cubic feet) of cargo room.
The Mercedes-Benz Alabama Plant
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama began production in 1997 with the first-generation M-Class, and about $600 million has been invested since 2001 to expand the facility. Joining the M-Class and R-Class, the GL-Class is the third model line to be built in Tuscaloosa.
About Mercedes-Benz Canada
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