The arrival of the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GL-class brute is drawing closer, and today our spies got their best look yet at the next three-row ute at, of all places, the Nürburgring.
While the development mule pictured here is still wearing a good bit of camouflage, there is much we can tell about the GL. First and foremost is that, like its platform mate, the soon-to-be-unveiled 2012 ML-class, it will probably look much like the vehicle it replaces. A similar rising beltline, blunt nose, and upright profile all are evident here, although the detailing will certainly change. The windows should get larger, with the backlight becoming more sloped, and, from these pictures, it looks like the rear fender line will sweep all the way back to the bumper.
Also expected to return is the fuel-efficient 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6, which makes 210 hp and 400 lb-ft in today’s truck. Although a 300-hp V-6 is possible for other markets, gas-powered GLs in the U.S. will probably use V-8s only. The 550 will get Benz’s fabulous new twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8, with output between 400 and 450 hp, but the fate of the naturally aspirated 4.7-liter V-8 in today’s GL450 is unknown. A hybrid also is likely down the road, especially since Mercedes already offers a two-mode gas-electric ML.
Some reports have pegged this particular mule, with its big wheels and lowered stance, as a GL63 AMG. If this were a true AMG product, though, we believe the vehicle would be wearing larger brakes and more-obvious exhaust pipes, even in the prototype phase. This looks to us like a GL550 with an AMG sport package, and not a full-blown AMG. But oh, how we’d love to be wrong.
Expect the redesigned GL-class to appear in concept form at an auto show this fall and in dealerships early next year as a 2013 model.
Thanks to: Car and Driver