Tag Archives: GL-Class

Mercedes’ G-Class Gets a Slight Revamp for the 2013 Model Year

12 Apr

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

One week after Mercedes-Benz unveiled their newly resigned GL-class at the 2012 New York International Auto Show the German manufacturer is back at it, this time with the mother of all luxury SUVs the G-class.

Upon seeing the photos of the new G-class those familiar with Mercedes’ original all-terrain vehicle might be struck with the lack of changes to the exterior styling, and you would be correct in saying nearly nothing has changed to this road-going box on wheels. While most vehicles get significant upgrades and improvements when undergoing serious redesigns it’s obvious the G-class is not one of those vehicles, especially considering the fact that it has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1979. LED running lights and side mirrors give the 2013 G-class a slightly updated appearance, but it’s so minor many with untrained eyes would probably not even notice the difference. The high-performance G63 AMG receives the added bonus of 20-inch wheels complete with painted red brake calipers and an AMG-specific radiator grille, but that’s it in terms of exterior variation.

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

While the oh-so-familiar exterior might leave some unimpressed, one only need to glance into the passenger cabin to see the real changes that make the 2013 G-class markedly different from its predecessor, most of which have taken place in the immediate vicinity of the driver.

The instrument cluster and center console have been totally revamped and redesigned when compared to the previous generation G-class. The instrument cluster is made up of two round gauges, behind which lies a TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD display screen that acts as a controller for the COMAND infotainment system. At the top-center of the center console is a large screen that offers occupants luxurious amenities like DVD changer, navigation system with special off-road functions, voice-operated controls and wireless Bluetooth connection. Rounding out the technological features are DISTRONIC PLUS, blind spot assist and PARKTRONIC with a reversing camera.

New instrument cluster in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Although the aforementioned instrument cluster and center console have varied from the 2012 model, two distinct design features have remained intact. These include the characteristic G-class grab handle located on the passenger side directly above the glove compartment and the three buttons operating the three corresponding locking differentials that the driver can engage when navigating through difficult terrain.

Newly redesigned interior in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Along with the interior, under the hood is yet another place where you can find differentiation. The standard G550 has retained a 5.5-liter V-8 engine, now producing an additional six horsepower for a peak output of 388. Peak torque has remained unchanged at 391 lb-ft. Power is transferred to the road via a seven-speed automatic, different from the previous five-speed automatic.

Despite the small improvements in the standard V-8, the high-performance G63 AMG has a completely new power plant propelling it down the road. Out is a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 and in its place is a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged unit. The new engine produces a maximum of 544 HP and 560 lb-ft of torque along with an “Eco” stop/start function that seems to be making its way into nearly every new Mercedes that makes its way onto the market. The tiny increase in displacement and the addition of turbos results in a 44 HP and 34 lb-ft improvement over the old engine. Badging has also changed from G55 AMG to G63 AMG for new high-performing G-class.

The three buttons for the three locking differentials in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

The G-class is definitely a vehicle that is capable of tackling on-road or off-road duties. Unlike the GLK, M and GL classes, the G-class is the Mercedes you want to be in when going off-road. When you combine technology such as the three locking differentials and the torque-crazy V-8 engines in both the G550 and G63 AMG you get a focused and purpose-orientated vehicle that is really capable of fulfilling its hefty claims and backing up its history of being Mercedes’ primer SUV.

With all of this luxury and capability on-board don’t expect for either of these luxury SUVs to come cheap. No official figures for the 2013 G-class have been released, but judging by the 2012 model customers can expect to spend in excess of $107,975 for the G550 and $124,450 for the G63 AMG when they going on sale this August.

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

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Large and In Charge

6 Apr

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

SUVs are an uniquely American creation, like apple pie and baseball. Nowadays there are crossovers, SAVs and a whole laundry list of vehicles that have come about thanks to the original SUV concept. Long past is the time when a Jeep was the only go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle solely designed to handle the rigors of large rocks, rivers and mud. With the passing decades SUVs have progressively become larger, heavier and more powerful, all the while moving away from the off-road trails for a more leisurely life of grocery-getting and trips to-and-from school to pick up the kids.

Even though the price of a gallon of regular unleaded is nearly $4 dollars per gallon they continue to be popular with families and those who want to drive a large vehicle with room for seven passengers, the dog and everything else one might wish to carry. When you add in all of the leather-appointed interiors, DVD players and safety prevention technologies today’s SUVs are more akin to oversized luxury cruisers than simple all-terrain vehicles.

4.6-liter direct-injected twin-turbo V-8 in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 and GL550

Enter the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-class. The pinnacle of the manufacturer’s line of SUVs, the GL-class is designed for those who wanted to be large and in charge when driving down the road. Everything about the new GL is huge, from its engine to its sheer breadth.

The 2013 GL-class is available in three model designations, the GL-350 BlueTec clean diesel, GL450 and GL550. The GL-350 comes equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine producing a maximum of 240 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Next up on the list is the GL450 with its 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 gasoline-powered engine producing a peak output of 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The last and final variant of the 2013 GL-class is the GL550. Although the engine is the same the power has been boosted be an additional 67 hp to 429 and torque is also higher at 516 lb-ft.

Interior of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

The redesigned 2013 GL-class has rounder and less aggressive styling than its predecessor. The headlights and taillights have been extended to stretch across the corner of the vehicle. Even the exhaust tips have changed from a edgy trapezoidal shape to a rounded rectangular one. From the side the rear section resembles the Infiniti QX56, although not to such an extent as the strangely designed Infiniti. Along with the rear stlying the new GL-class shares many similar dimensional characteristics as its competition. The wheelbase of both vehicle is identical at 121 inches. The GL measures in at 201.6″ long, 84.3″ wide and 72.8″ high, compared to the QX56 at 208.3″, 79.9″ and 75.8″ respectively.

Helping the driver safely operate and maneuver such a large SUV are a nearly endless list of standard and optional safety features. The top-tier GL550 comes equipped with such things as Parktronic with Active Parking Assist, Bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination and Corner Illuminating Lamps as standard. If that wasn’t enough you can opt for four addtional assistance system that monitor everything from the vehicles blind spots to the highbeams.

As with the previous GL-class the interior is draped in copious amount of leather, fine wood veneers and brushed aluminum trim. Not to mention the available TV screens in the rear headrests to keep the kids entertained during those long drives to the beach or to the in-laws for Sunday dinner.

When it comes down to it the Mercedes GL-class is a statement vehicle suited for those who want the ability to go off-road, but will rarely if ever do it. And that’s not unexpected especially when considering the GL’s hefty price tag. No official pricing has been announced, but judging by the 2012 model its safe to say the GL350 BlueTec and GL450 have a base MSRP in the low-to-mid $60,000 range while the more powerful GL550 will command closer to $90,000. That’s a lot of money. For that price of a fully loaded GL550 you could buy any SUV in the BMW, Audi or Porsche lineup, with the exception of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The GL-class is a well designed and engineered vehicle but is ultimately not worth the expense when compared to its competition.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com