This year, Mercedes-Benz expects its 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL model to surpass peak sales of 26,736, set in 2007 in the United States, according to the carmaker’s executives. With the figure, Mercedes should be bound to retain its best-seller crown in the large luxury sports utility vehicle/crossover segment.
Steve Cannon, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz USA, described the 2013 GL as the “S class of SUVs" referring to Mercedes' flagship S-class sedan, adding that the current model is better in every way. Cannon remarked that the second-generation GL is custom-fit to the US since around 53 percent of the volume of the current generation was sold in the country. Mercedes is building the seven-seat GL at its Vance plant in Alabama.
Todd Grieco, Mercedes-Benz USA product manager for SUVs, said GL commands around 25 percent of the large luxury sports utility vehicle/crossover segment, which has annual sales of around 100,000 units. The GL is outselling segment rivals like the Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56, Lexus GX 460 and Lincoln Navigator. Mercedes is due to roll out the 2013 GL this September in three variants.
The GL350 BlueTEC variant is powered by 240-hp V-6 turbodiesel and has a starting price of $63,305. The GL450 is powered by a 363-hp direct-injection gasoline V-8 engine and has a sticker price of $64,805. The GL550, meanwhile, is powered by a 429-hp direct-injection gasoline V-8 engine and has a tag of $87,805. All prices include shipping.
Mercedes will roll out a high-performance GL63 AMG, powered by a 550-hp 5.5-liter biturbo V-8 engine, in the first quarter of 2013. Mercedes will disclose the pricing for the AMG model closer to launch.
All four engines transmit power to the wheels through a new seven-speed automatic gearbox. Spec-wise, the 2013 GL is around an inch longer (201.6 inches) and an inch taller (72.8 inches) than the current model. The next-generation GL offers easier access to the third row of seats, disclosed Bart Herring, general manager of product management for Mercedes-Benz USA.
There is no denying that the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is definitely a part of the premium brand’s SUV family. This is thanks to a front end that bears the GL’s signature upright radiator grille as further defined by the centrally star and the flanking LED headlamps with Mercedes’ new lighting signature. For instance, the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY features the standard Intelligent Light System headlamps, which lends the SUV a high-quality and elegant look.
This is thanks to the light wave conductor for the position lights and LED technology indicators as well as for the optional Night View Assist PLUS. Adding to the premium looks of the new GL Class are its LED daytime running lamps that are now integrated in a chrome clasp in the bumper of the SUV. Boosting the confident SUV looks of the GL Class is its massive large underbody panel -- in chrome appearance – just placed underneath the radiator grille.
Meanwhile, the rear end of the new GL Class is marked by a large roof spoiler and two-piece LED rear lamps that also employs light wave conductor technology. Completing the rear end looks of the new GL Class is its large underbody panel with chrome looks and a bumper with a modern "wing design."
On the other hand, the sides of the new GL Class reveal its well-designed dimensions of 5,120 mm in length and 1,850 mm in height, as well as 3,075 mm in wheelbase. In addition, the new Mercedes GL Class features a short body overhang both on the front and rear ends. Also apparent when viewing the GL Class on the sides is its remarkable ground clearance, indicating how suitable this premium SUV is for off-road adventures.
For those who wanted more, Mercedes is offering an AMG exterior sport package that makes the GL Class more dynamic and sporty to look at.