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Mercedes-Benz describes its all new GL-Class as “first class in all conditions.”
Fittingly, it has a boxy shape with a few soft edges and plenty of off-roading gadgets to complement its even bigger arsenal of on-road driving aids.
It's a big beast this, measuring 5120mm in length, 2141mm in height and is 1850mm tall - enough to allow seating for seven in comfort.
Short front and rear overhangs and a high ground clearance not only lend a more powerful stance (especially effective if you ditch the standard 18-inch alloys for 21” tekkies) but its proportions also point to its off-road suitability. For those seeking a sportier look, an extensive AMG Exterior Sports package is now available for the first time.
The bigger interior promises more shoulder, elbow and head room for the occupants of all three seating rows and to make life even easier, the third row can be operated electrically. Depending on the seating configuration, the boot has between 680 and 2300 litres worth of luggage space.
GLAD TO ASSIST
You name the need and it has an electronic gizmo to do the trick - everything from Crosswind Assist to the Steer Control steering assistance system, Collision Prevention Assist, a 360-degree camera and an automatic function for entering and exiting parking spaces.
In keeping with today's trends, it's also up to 20 percent more efficient thanks to idle-stop and various energy-management systems and the fact that this GL is 100kg lighter than its predecessor.
The most efficient model - the 192kW/620Nm GL 350 turbodiesel - returns just 7.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle. For those with shares in an oil company, there's the GL 500 petrol model that pushes 304kW. Its claimed combined consumption figure is 11.3 l/100km.
It's when it comes to on-road comfort that Mercedes-Benz really starts making big claims for this vehicle, with its noise, vibration and harshness characteristics said to be on par with an S-Class. A supple ride is also on the cards thanks to its Airmatic air suspension system while roll-stabilisation electronics and 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive keep it stable through the curves.
Finally, its bundu-bashing arsenal includes start-off assist, downhill speed regulation and there's an off-road package available that comprises an underguard, two-stage transfer case with low range, inter-axle diff lock and enhanced Airmatic functionality that raises the ground clearance to 285mm and the fording depth to 600mm.