What is it?
The second-generation Mercedes-Benz GL - the largest and most commodious of Mercedes' four dedicated off-roaders. Revealed at the New York motor show earlier this year, the seven-seater goes on sale in the UK next April at a starting price expected to be around ₤60,000.
The new model is based on a revised unitary steel platform from the first-generation GL. It features improved safety measures, a heavily reworked chassis and a complete restyle inside and out.
At 5120mm in length, 1934mm in width and 1830mm in height, the new GL is now 21mm longer, 14mm wider and a nominal 10mm higher. Despite the increased external dimensions, it continues to ride on the same 3075mm wheelbase, although both tracks have been widened to give it a slightly larger footprint.
The bump in size provides the basis for a larger and more versatile interior offering more headroom and vastly improved access to the rear cabin. The 2-3-2 seating layout of the old model remains. Handily, the two rear-most seats can be electrically erected or folded into the floor of the luggage compartment from controls placed within the rear side doors or within the sides of the boot lining. In five-seat form, boot capacity increases by 100 litres to 680 litres.
While retaining the same basic steel platform structure as before, the new GL adopts more sophisticated suspension. Mercedes-Benz claims this provides the GL with a significant boost in on-road comfort while endowing it with added off-road ability.
The new GL will be sold with a choice of three engines, including the widely used turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel in the GL 350 BlueTec 4Matic driven here. It is expected to account for the majority of UK sales, and delivers 46bhp and 59lb ft more than the similarlyconfigured engine used in the older GL 350 CDI, with 254bhp and 457lb ft. The revised diesel also boasts vastly reduced emissions that allows it to comply with upcoming EU6 regulations.