First DriveIf you really need to take seven people off-road, we can’t think of a better way: the GL has Range Rover-like class and ability.
First DriveExtremely capable and highly practical, but the new Merc GL may be just too big for comfort.
This is the first time we've driven Merc’s luxury off-road flagship in the UK. Until the G 63 AMG arrives in Britain this is the top-of-the-line model, the 5.5-litre, 65-grand GL 500.
What’s it like?
As impressive as the V8 diesel we tested recently, but faster. It’s less urgent from low revs, but makes a nicer, smoother noise and is very rapid once it’s wound up. It’s as quick as you’d want to go in a 2.5-tonne off-roader, frankly.
Off-road it’s just as competent as the diesel – which means it’s very good, if too long in the wheelbase to comfortably crest some sharp humps. It’s thirsty: we’d reckon the 20mpg claim is a shade optimistic.
The spacious, seven-seat interior feels excellently constructed and the seats fold intelligently. And in this GL 500 form you get the full quota of equipment: all the usual niceties, plus soft Nappa leather seats, active headlights and an automatic opening/closing tailgate. Though that doesn’t stop the options list allowing a price on the wrong side of £70k.
Should I buy one?
Not sure. The GL is very impressive – capable on-road and off – but these cars are starting to get too big for British roads and towns. The GL has more off-road ability than an ML and all the space of an R-class. But, really, do you need it?