The Mercedes GL 500 will go on sale in April 2013, with prices estimated at around £75,000
The 4.7-litre V8 develops 429bhp and 516lb/ft
The engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox
Off-road ability will be limited by the large wheels
The cabin is slick, comfortable and luxurious
Dash-mounted screen displays all manner of off-road information
Big V8 offers huge performance, but thirst and high emissions will hinder sales success in the UK
First DriveThe second-generation seven-seat Mercedes SUV is lighter and more efficient, but is it any more desirable?
First DriveThe Mercedes GL 500 offers more power than its diesel sibling, but it's a less sensible proposition
What's it like?
It looks fresher and sleeker than its predecessor but is longer, wider and taller. Indeed, at more than five metres long, the GL’s size could limit its suitability to our nadgery roads.
On the other hand, there’s plenty of space for a large family. The GL 500 is based on a revised version of the first-generation car’s platform, but it has greater headroom and legroom for its seven occupants, plus a bigger boot.
Mercedes has largely achieved its aim of raising cabin refinement to be on a par with its luxurious S-class saloon. It’s an excellent long-distance cruiser, thanks to the lofty driving position, comfortable cabin, forgiving ride (in Comfort mode) and docile V8, which only really makes its presence felt when you boot the throttle hard.
And, boy, does it shift. The turbocharged, 429bhp 4.6-litre engine, mated to a seven-speed auto, propels the GL 500 with a pace that belies its heft. But how many chances would you get to use the GL 500’s reserves of grunt on UK roads? The GL 350 possesses more than enough power for most occasions.
Should I buy one?
The clincher is the economy. Mercedes claims a combined figure of 25mpg for the GL500 – an improvement on the 20.8mpg of the old car, but outgunned by the GL 350, which offers 38.2mpg.
Mercedes-Benz GL 500
Price £75,000(set); 0-62mph 5.4sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 25.0mpg; CO2 262g/km; Kerb weight 2445kg; Engine V8, 4663cc, turbocharged; Power 429bhp at 5000-5750rpm; Torque 516lb ft at 1800-3500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic