Special off-road features such as Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), hill-start assist and off-road ABS assist the GL-Class driver off road. The Off-Road Pro engineering package, standard on all European models, means the GL-Class can also handle the most extreme off-road terrain. This includes a two-speed transfer case with a low range ratio and 100 per cent differential locks for the transfer case and the rear axle. The modified AIRMATIC air suspension, designed specifically for more demanding conditions, increases the ground clearance to a maximum of 307 mm where required, and raises the fording depth to 600 mm.
Majestic drive systems - New V6 and V8 engines
The ultra-modern engine line-up in all GL-Class models provides superlative drive comfort and compelling performance coupled with superior fuel consumption figures compared with other vehicles in the class. Alongside the 165 kW/224 hp V6 engine in the GL 320 CDI, the range of diesel models includes the new-generation high-performance V8 diesel in the GL 420 CDI, which now has an output of 225 kW/ 306 hp and maximum torque of 700 Nm. Both diesel-powered versions undercut the EU 4 limits. In addition to the newly developed 5.5-litre, 285 kW/388 hp engine in the GL 500, launched earlier in the new S-Class, the second unit in this ultra-modern V8 family of engines is celebrating its world premiere in the GL-Class. In the GL 450 the 4.6-litre engine develops 250 kW/340 hp. Both engines also fulfil the stringent EU 4 limits (USA: LEV II standard).
All GL-Class engine variants come with the standard-fit 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT. Excellent performance and low fuel consumption result not just from the perfect combination of ultra-modern engines with 7G-TRONIC and the friction-optimised powertrain. Another important factor is the comparatively low gross vehicle weight thanks to the unitised body and the excellent aerodynamics (Cd 0.37) for such a large vehicle.
Success story from state-of-the-art production facilities
"Mercedes Quality - Made in the USA" has established itself as the company’s new trademark on the other side of the Atlantic and illustrates the success story of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Tuscaloosa/Alabama. The birthplace of the GL-Class started production in 1997 as the first Mercedes Benz plant outside Europe. Around $600 million has been invested since 2001 in expanding and constantly modernising the plant; overall the company has invested around $1 billion. Following the extension of the Tuscaloosa plant in May 2005, its theoretical annual production capacity for all model series stands at 160,000 units. The new GL-Class is now the third model series to be built here, alongside the M-Class and the R-Class.
The world premiere of the new Mercedes Benz GL-Class will take place at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January 2006. U.S. customers will be the first to savour the delights of the new trendsetter in the spring; European left hand drive customers will have to wait until September 2006 for a taste of the versatile off-roader, with UK deliveries starting towards the end of 2006. UK model and engine details will be confirmed nearer the launch.Published 10 December 2005