Revamped Mercedes GL loaded with safety gear
NEW YORK -- The second generation of Mercedes-Benz's full-sized GL SUV gets a sportier exterior, a host of new safety and handling features, and slightly larger dimensions.
The seven-seat, all-wheel-drive 2013 GL has new standard systems that help prevent collisions and stabilize the vehicle, a new self-leveling air suspension and electromechanical steering.
It goes on sale in September. Pricing has not been announced.
The redesigned GL is about an inch longer than its predecessor, with an overall length of 201.6 inches and a half-inch wider at 84.3 inches, allowing for more shoulder, elbow and headroom in all three rows of seats.
Mercedes has added an option called "power easy-entry" for easier access to the second row of seats.
The GL, built in Vance, Ala., has new or reworked engines with more horsepower and torque. The base GL350 BlueTEC diesel has a re-engineered 3.0-liter V-6 that generates 240 hp, 30 more than the current model, and 455 pounds-feet of torque, an increase of 55 pounds-feet.
Two bi-turbo V-8 models will be sold with a 4.6-liter engine.
The GL450's engine generates 362 hp and 406 pounds-feet of torque, an increase of 27 hp and 67 pounds-feet.
The range topper GL550's engine generates 429 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque, up 47 hp and 125 pounds-feet from the 2012 model with a 5.5-liter V-8.
All three engines are combined with a new seven-speed automatic transmission.
The new radar-based Collision Prevention Assist works at speeds between 20 and 155 mph and determines when the distance between the GL and the vehicle in front of it decreases.
The system also recognizes stationary objects. If the system determines a front crash is likely, the driver gets visual and acoustic warnings and the brake assist system is prepared and activated when the driver presses the brake pedal.
Another innovation and highlight in the 2013 GL is the standard crosswind stabilization system that sends "targeted" brake impulses when there are high winds.
Mercedes-Benz introduced the GL in 2006, and sales peaked at 26,396 vehicles in 2007.
The 2012 GL starts at $62,445 for the diesel version and increases to $86,175 for the GL550. Prices include shipping.
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