Need to tow a horse trailer or vintage racer or a fair-sized boat? Think a Suburban is utterly déclassé? Mercedes has you covered, good sir! The refreshed 2013 GL-Class supersized SUV bowed today, offering exactly zero surprises and likely causing ripples of civilized excitement among upper middle class and lower upper class households.
We will see three versions of the dreadnought-class luxury seven-seater. The GL450 and GL550 get variations of the corporate biturbo gasoline V-8, presenting the prospective owner with the choice of merely serious power (362hp, 406 lb-ft torque) or magnificently excessive amounts of thrust (429hp, 516 lb-ft torque).
The GL350 BlueTEC features a diesel V-6 that cranks out a modest-on-paper 240hp but a full 455 lb-ft of torque. If it matters, Mercedes is claiming an 18% improvement in fuel economy. Each engine choice will motivate a chassis with a 121-inch wheelbase and a curb weight somewhere between dear-holy-God and loaded container ship.
On top of that mechanical might is literally every safety and convenience feature that can be packaged into a modern vehicle short of a full kitchen. This year's headlining safety feature is Collision Prevention Assist; CPA (that's the system, not the target customer) senses when the truck is about to run into something and essentially screams "WATCH OOOUUUUT!" at the driver, lighting up a variety of warnings and getting the brakes set for maximum stopping force.
Also, unlikely though it is that mere air molecules could sway this brute from its intended course, Crosswind Stabilization is on offer. It functions as an offshoot of the stability control system, tapping individual brakes as necessary to keep the GL on a straight path.
It'll also feature the usual gamut of Mercedes gear — from COMAND to Parktronic — including standard eucalyptus wood trim to please the folks who either really enjoy aromatherapy or have a pet koala bear.
The GLs go on sale in September.