In today’s Mercedes showrooms, you can choose from just two engines: the 382bhp, 391lb ft eight-cylinder G 500 and the 261bhp, 457lb ft V6 turbo diesel unit.
The latter – badged GL 350 BlueEfficiency – offers a handy 0-62mph sprint time of just 7.9sec and a top speed of 140mph. The V8 is a bit swifter at 6.5sec, but it seems a bit pointless when the 350 CDI delivers significantly more torque from just 1600rpm, while the V8 engine has a lower peak pulling power which only hits the maximum from 2800rpm.
Both versions use the 7G-Tronic Plus autobox, which should give snappier shifts than the previous version, which was prone to serious hesitation from standing starts. There is the option of switching gears via the paddle shifters, but it is probably best left in Drive.
Both engines give more than adequate real-world performance, although the GL’s capacity for people and luggage, on top of the 2.5-tonne empty weight, means that performance will be noticeably subdued when it is fully loaded.
The cabin is quiet at motorway speed. The drag coefficient of 0.37 is not class leading, but there’s plenty of soundproofing to maintain executive-car levels of quietness.