WHEN: First quarter 2013
HOW MUCH: Rs 65 lakh
ENGINE: 3.0-litre V6 diesel,
The new Mercedes GL-Class was unveiled at the New York Motor Show this April. Based on the same architecture as the new M-Class, which was revealed at the New Delhi Auto Expo in January, the new GL is set to go into production at Mercedes’ Chakan facility early next year.
The new GL is the second-generation model, following on from the fairly successful first-generation, which generated good response from markets around the world. Mercedes has cottoned on to the fact that demand for big, seven-seat SUVs will only grow, especially as markets like India, China an Russia continue to lap up the bigger-is-better mentality.
The new Mercedes GL-Class does not look like a generational leap forward in styling, and it isn’t. Utilising the same family look which buyers around the world have become accustomed to, Mercedes have chosen to tweak it slightly without going in for any radical re-surfacing. This is intentional, because the Mercedes buyer tends to be slightly more conservative. The new GL has grown in every dimension, and now measures a mammoth 5.1 metres from stem to stern. It is a bit longer, taller and wider than the outgoing model, although it retains the same 3075 mm wheelbase.
Mercedes has resorted to using aluminium for the body panels and has replaced the hydraulic steering system with electrical assist to reduce weight. The new GL as a result is more than 100 kilos lighter than its predecessor.
Quilted leather seats contribute to the plush and mature ambience.
Changes over the previous model are more evident in the interior. Leather and wood trims still dominate the interior, but the elements have a more modern, angular look, replacing the rounded oval and circular theme seen previously. Quilted leather upholstery on the seats and door pads complete the grown-up look. Mercedes insists that the new GL will offer the same degree of comfort and plushness as the S-Class.
Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is offered as standard on the GL, along with the excellent 7G-Tronic transmission. Two engines are on offer, which include the familiar 3.0-litre V6 diesel and a 4.6-litre petrol V8. India is likely to have the one engine option only, the diesel.
A full suite of electronic safety aids comes as standard, ensuring the new GL is pretty capable on the rough stuff. However, it is important to note that the GL will never display the same kind of prowess off the road that the G-Wagen has, for example. The decrease in weight, coupled to more efficient engines has reduced the fuel consumption by as much as 20 %, according to Mercedes.
Mammoth size evident from this picture.
The significant point of note here is that the GL will be assembled from SKD (semi-knocked-down) kits at Mercedes India’s Chakan facility. It will be the third new model Mercedes will add to the assembly line over the next 12 months, beginning with the B-Class and the ML. Indian assembly guarantees that the taxes and duties on the new GL will be significantly less than on the current car, which is fully-imported. This will give Mercedes a price advantage, which will help it to meet the competition head on. Expect ex-showroom prices to start between Rs 60 – 65 lakh, which makes the new GL excellent value in the segment. This is a very important consideration for Mercedes, as it fights to retain its number two slot in the Indian market in terms of sales.
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The new B-Class, introduced in Europe at the end of 2011, is an all-new model catering to the premium car market, and will be launched in India at the end of 2012. Further, Mercedes will assemble the new B-Class at its Chakan facility near Pune in Maharashtra, ensuring that the vehicle will be very competitively priced. Read More...
The M-Class SUV heralded a whole new era for Mercedes-Benz, proving hugely popular and bringing more cusotmers into the three-pointed star's fold. Now, the third-generation M-Class has just been launched in Europe, and is scheduled to make its way to India in early 2012. Read More...
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