The appearance of the new GL-Class leaves observers in no doubt whatsoever as to the strong character of the luxurious Sport Utility Vehicle: the premium off-roader from Mercedes-Benz displays size, robustness and muscular power in abundance as well as being sporty and dynamic in character. Despite a typically off-road body with short overhangs, its own, vibrant personality shines through.
This effect is thanks in no small part to an extremely linear design that is without superfluous flourishes yet displays remarkable finesse. Large surfaces and clearly defined, powerful lines create distinctive contours and visually emphasise the robustness and sheer athleticism at the heart of the GL-Class. The roof rails, wheels and exterior mirrors are generously proportioned and enhance the powerful appearance. At the same time, a closer inspection reveals finely drawn, sinewy lines that add to the extraordinary appeal of the new Mercedes off-roader, giving it a highly prestigious feel. This is a luxury vehicle with backbone and noblesse.
Front end with a no-nonsense character
The front-end design also emphasises the solid nature of the new GL-Glass. A steeply angled, robust radiator grille with a centrally positioned star dominates the front view. Two particularly powerful transverse louvres in silver with broad chrome highlights lend the vehicle a muscular look. The backdrop here is provided by a black honeycomb structure which is echoed in the air intake opening below the bumper.
The high bonnet, a classic off-road feature, has two powerdomes running along its length. Sharply defined ridges delineate the bonnet on the left and right and form an unusually distinctive link between the bonnet and headlamps, evoking the image of an athletic, chiselled musculature.
The wide clear-lens headlamps together with the clearly structured halogen projection-beam technology form a high-quality light unit. The fog lamps (with the cornering light function if this option is ordered) are housed in the bumper in a separate, extremely solid frame whose robust design is emphasised by two horizontal fins. The standard-version light units are ringed in black. If the cornering light function is specified, they have chrome surrounds.
The upper part of the bumper is painted in body colour, while the section below this is trimmed in dark grey. This horizontal colour contrast makes the off-roader appear lighter and sleeker. A chrome-look underride guard, available as an optional extra, reinforces this impression.
Silhouette: elegance and durability
From the side, it is clear that the GL-Class offers ample space. There is an overriding impression of length. The long wheelbase and a high roof line which extends as far as the rear wall create a dynamic silhouette. Large window areas emphasise these lines, further adding to the air of elegance whilst also ensuring excellent visibility and a bright interior atmosphere. By way of contrast, the upright D-pillar is in keeping with the off-road character and solidity of the vehicle and serves to underline its dependability in any situation.
Dynamic side lines, which make the vehicle appear longer whilst also emphasising its strong, solid character, are testament to a meticulously thought-out design. A crease line emerges from the headlamp surround and runs smoothly along the front wing, across the A-pillar and the side roof frame before reaching the tailgate. Most prominent of all is the waistline which emanates ahead of the front wheel arch, rises rearwards and reaches its conclusion at a point above the tail lights. Beneath this is a further crease line stretching from the front wing, across the doors and as far as the D-pillar.
Generously-sized rub strips add structure to the side surfaces and, together with the solid roof rails in black or chrome, create a sporty, prestigious appearance.
The powerfully accentuated wings with broad chamfered edges and the large light-alloy wheels with robustly dimensioned spokes lend the vehicle a firm-looking stance.
Distinctive rear end
The high rear end is divided by horizontal crease lines which emphasise the width of the vehicle and reduce the impression of height. This effect is reinforced by the raised position of the sturdy rear bumper, the high-quality chrome handle in the tailgate and the chromed rectangular tailpipes occupying a wide position on each side of the rear end.
The impressive tail lights feature a new take on the classic Mercedes-Benz "ribbed lenses" theme. Ribbed areas and smooth surfaces alternate whilst two wide highlights, which are themselves subdivided by chrome highlights, appear to split the tail lights.
The reflectors have been removed from the main light unit and are now arranged separately in the bumper below the loading sill. The third brake light has been located in the roof spoiler.
Optional extras include a stainless-steel scratch guard on the bumper loading sill as well as a chrome-look stainless-steel underride guard similar to the one fitted at the front end.
High-grade interior materials
The interior is dominated by high-quality materials displaying handcrafted precision and attention to detail, creating a luxurious, tasteful ambience which embraces the special character of an off-roader in many respects. The smooth dashboard and door surfaces underline robustness and self-assurance, whilst the colour contrast between the darker upper section and the lighter lower section as well as the continuous wood trim elements lend the interior a sense of breadth and spaciousness.
Drivers of the new GL-Class sit behind a four-spoke multifunction steering wheel featuring aluminium-style lower spokes. Behind this is the upper section of the dashboard, also trimmed in leather, rising in a powerful arch that spans the instrument clusters. The instruments are housed in two slanting tubes, making them easy to read and giving them a sporty appearance. Fine chrome rings surrounding the tubes add a further touch of elegance.
The console in the centre of the dashboard features a clearly defined, smooth design and houses easy-to-reach, logically positioned control and display functions. Here the emphasis is firmly on perfect ergonomics and tangible precision. Adjoining this area is the sturdy centre console with stowage compartments and integral cup holder functions as well as two robust, longitudinally arranged grab handles which echo the lines of the trim strips in the doors and provide useful support points when driving off-road.
The door centre panels and the armrests are padded and feature an elegant trim as well as distinctive topstitching. Once again, wood trim elements catch the eye. There is a choice between bird's-eye poplar, burr walnut with chrome trim strips or pale birch with chrome trim strips.
Colours and paints
The new GL-Class comes with a choice of three interior appointments colours: black, alpaca grey or buckskin (a fine shade of beige). These can be combined with two non-metallic and nine metallic paint finishes.