The summers are relentless this year. The sun is
raining embers. Birds are getting roasted mid flight. But wait, clouds are
approaching at the horizon, a hope. The weather might turn nasty. However our
photographer is excited, “this will turn out to be a fun shoot”. We pick up the
new Mercedes Benz GL-class and drive to the outskirts of New Delhi, and lo, it
has started raining. The winds have gone strong and powerful and is ripping off
branches from the trees. Visibility has deteriorated. The big Mercedes just
smiles and urges us to go on.
Are you the sort of chap who wonders if you can move
your apartment on four wheels? Mercedes-Benz has an answer for you, the
apartment sized GL-class. The GL defines the word big in every tangible aspect.
Big engine, big seats, big boot, just plain big everything that is. For 2013
Mercedes-Benz has reworked on the GL in its second generation avatar. Reworked
as in bigger again, the new GL is longer, wider and a wee bit taller than its
The previous generation GL looked like an enormous
bulky truck, or rather like an actual apartment with flat walls. But this
second generation is much trimmer and fitter. The body has been sculpted and
has more angles now. It looks more like a car now than a bus. The quality is
flawless both inside and out. The GL has all the goodies from adaptive
automatic headlights to rain sensing wipers to 21” AMG alloys and the list goes
The interior of the GL-class bathes you in luxury and
comfort. The ‘launch edition’ that we drove had Designo leather upholstery, the
finest hide that Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The front seats are heated and
cooled and are fully adjustable at the touch of a few buttons. Every button is
in easy reach of the driver and the built quality exudes utmost class. The
Thermotronic 3-zone climate control is very dynamic and caters to all three
rows of passengers.
For the third row of seats, Mercedes has incorporated
something called Easy-Entry system. Essentially what it means is that the
backrests and seats of the second row can be divided separately in a ratio of
40:60 and folded down easily by using a handle to unlatch from both sides.
Another highlight is the temperature controlled cup holders which can be heated
to 55°C or cooled to 8°C as per the requirement. Mercedes has upgraded the
COMAND system which takes care of audio and navigation. You can possibly
connect anything to the big Merc and sink in high quality sound experience. The
display console is 7 inch and also features a Music Register with 10GB hard
POWER AND PERFORMANCE
Despite the hefty size and weight of the GL-class, the
engine does an excellent job of carrying the big Mercs bulk around. There is
noticeable turbo lag, but once spooled up the GL touches 100kmph from a
standstill in 7.9seconds, impressive from a vehicle close to 2.2 ton in weight.
But it is not just tarmac performance. The GL is a very capable off roader as
well. Because of the rains our off road track was wet and slushy now. The
4Matic all wheel drive system with 50:50 power distribution sorts everything
out for you.
We were faced with a slippery wet 70° incline which
looked a bit too ambitious, but we had to have a go anyway. The GL just kept
climbing straight and true, isolating us completely from the effort required
climbing such a slope. On the way back down the slope we got to use the
Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) system.
DSR allows the vehicle to maintain a driver pre-set speed between 8 to
15kmph driving down steep slopes by controlling the engine, transmission and
braking system. Because of the bad weather we got to test another innovative
offering by Mercedes is the Crosswind Assist, which stabilizes the GL against
strong gusts of winds.
The GL is a charming vehicle. Looking at it you might
wonder it is huge and bulky for our roads. But the amazing part is how easy it
is to manage it size. It will drive seven people in premium luxury and comfort,
isolating them from the chaos and heat and cold and anything else that mother
earth throws at it, on the road, or off it.
MERCEDES-BENZ GL350 SPECIFICATIONS
V6 Turbo Diesel
Plus, 7-speed automatic
Brake: Front/ Rear
Fuel Tank Capacity
Tyres: Front/ Rear
air suspension with permanent all-wheel drive
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