Mercedes-Benz has unleashed a raft of SUV models onto the South African market with new variations of the GLS, GLB and GLE Coupé.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is even larger than its predecessor, with a 60 mm longer wheelbase that provides increased interior spaciousness and a high degree of off-road capability.
South African customers will be able to choose from the new Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d 4M and Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4M, which marks the world première of a new electrified V8 petrol engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter-generator.
“The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like no other vehicle. In addition, it is the market leader in its segment – just like the S-Class Sedan,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
Mercedes-Benz has been building premium SUVs since 1997, when the MClass (now GLE) was introduced. Since then, SUVs have become a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand.
“The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa. “It combines powerful highlights of off-road design and capability with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury sedan. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality, and digital high-tech. It’s the best of all worlds.”
The GLS 580 4MATIC’s new electrified V8 petrol engine has a displacement of 4,0-litres and produces an output of 360 kW and 700 Nm of torque, with another 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW of additional output temporarily on tap via EQ Boost. Combined fuel consumption is around 10,1 l/100 km.
The GLS 400 d 4MATIC produces 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque, with combined fuel consumption of 7,9 l/100 km.
In both variants, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort.
A new standard feature is the Carwash function, which moves the suspension to the highest position, folds in the exterior mirrors, closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof and switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode. It deactivates automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 20 km/h.
The new GLS achieves cd figures as low as 0,32 – a clear improvement compared with its predecessor (cd 0,35) and an impressively low figure in the large luxury SUV segment.
One of the benefits of 60 mm more wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the boot space (up to 2 400 litres), while the seats in the second row fold flat. The seats in the third row are fully fledged seats that are suitable for people up to 1,94 m tall.
The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation allows the new GLS to recognise and respond to tailbacks or slow-moving traffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. When a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 100 km/h as a precaution. Once the tailback clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the preset speed.
Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is available as an option for drivers not familiar with towing trailers, or more experienced drivers towing longer trailers.
The new GLS Models:
|GLS 400 d 4MATIC||GLS 580 4MATIC|
|Number of cylinders/arrangement||6/in-line||V8|
|Rated output (kW)||243||360|
|Extra output from EQ Boost (kW) on take-off||–||16|
|Rated torque (Nm)||700||700|
|Add. torque from ECO Boost (Nm) on take-off||–||250|
|Fuel consumption combined (l/100 km)||7.9 – 7.6||10.0 – 9.8|
|Combined CO2 emissions(g/km)||208 – 201||229 – 224|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)||6.3||4.7|
|Top speed (km/h)||238||250|
|Starting Retail Price||R1 842 000||R2 025 000|
The new GLB joins the Mercedes-Benz compact car family of the A-Class Hatch, A-Class Sedan, B-Class, CLA and the GLA.
“There is a growing interest for SUVs, while compact cars are also seeing an increase in sales. So a compact SUV such as the GLB blends all the success factors of our two segments,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa. “The GLB also boasts some special features which we have not previously offered our customers in this segment, like seven seats.”
Powerful proportions with short overhangs and off-road-oriented design, standard LED headlights, as well as 4MATIC all-wheel drive in the GLB 220d make the GLB a versatile SUV and a spacious family car.
“Its iconic exterior and trendy interior lends the Mercedes-Benz GLB an unmistakable SUV character. The GLB will allow Mercedes-Benz to speak to a new audience,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
With powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines, the latest driving assistance systems and the intuitively operated infotainment system MBUX, the new family member has all the strengths of the current compact-class generation from Mercedes-Benz. These include the completely modernised four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with increased power and torque and reduced emissions.
South Africans will be able to choose from the GLB 250 and the GLB 220 d 4MATIC at launch. The GLB 250 offers a combined fuel consumption 7,4 l/100 km, with combined CO2 emissions of 168 g/km. The 2,0-litre diesel engine in the GLB 220d 4MATIC offers a combined fuel consumption of 5,4 1 l/100 km, and combined CO2 emissions of 144 g/km.
With a wheelbase of 2 829 millimetres, the GLB is 10 cm longer than the new B Class. The car is 4 634 millimetres long, 1 834 millimetres wide and 1 658 millimetres high. As a result, headroom in the first seat row is 1 069 millimetres. At 967 millimetres the effective legroom in the rear of the five-seater is at an especially comfortable level. The two optional additional individual seats can seat people up to 1,68 m tall in comfort.
The boot compartment capacity of 570 to 1 805 litres boasts the qualities of an estate car. The second row can be moved fore and aft, enabling the boot to be enlarged by up to 190 litres. Comfort details in the third row include two drinks holders between the seats as well as two stowage compartments with rubberised insert on the left and right in the load compartment trim, each housing a USB port. The seats can be lowered so that they are flush with the load compartment floor to extend the load compartment.
Driving assistance systems are drawn from the S-Class, with improved camera and radar systems that allow the GLB to see up to 500 metres ahead and drive in semi-automated mode in certain situations.
The GLB 220d 4M is equipped with the permanent all-wheel system 4MATIC, with fully variable torque distribution. The Off-Road Engineering Package is standard on the GLB 220d 4M and includes an additional drive mode that adapts the power delivery of the engine for off-road driving in easy terrain. This is not available in the GLB 250.
The models at a glance:
|GLB 250||GLB 220 d 4MATIC|
|Transmission||8G-DCT (automatic)||8G-DCT (automatic)|
|Combined fuel consumption||l/100 km||7.4-7.1||5.4-5.1|
|Combined CO2 emissions||g/km||168||144|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||S||6.9||7.6|
|Retail Price||R831 000||R841 000|
South African customers will initially only have one model available at launch: the GLE 400 d 4MATIC Sports Coupé, which offers a 3,0 litre six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque. This results in a brisk 0-100 time of 5,7 seconds at a combined fuel consumption of 7,4 l/100 km.
“The GLE 400d Coupé combines the impressive power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé,” says Govender. “The sensuous, reduced design idiom, in combination with the extreme proportions creates a unique design statement.”
The new GLE Coupé is 4 939 mm long and 2 010 mm wide (39 mm longer and 7 mm wider than its predecessor).
The interior of the new GLE Coupé shares numerous features with the other models in the new premium-SUV family and clearly emphasises the sporty aspect. A familiar sight is the modern cockpit with two large 12,3-inch /31,2 cm screens.
The new GLE Coupé offers more room than its predecessor, giving up to five occupants a comfortable amount of space. Although the wheelbase is 60 mm shorter than on the GLE SUV, it is 20 mm longer than in the previous coupé, and this extra space shows in the seating and legroom of the passengers. The capacity of the interior stowage spaces has grown to a total of 40 litres, and even the panoramic sliding sunroof is bigger than before.
The boot has 655 litres in its standard configuration, but the backrest of the rear seats with 40:20:40 folding split increases the boot to up to 1 790 litres – 70 litres more than in the predecessor.
The new GLE Coupé comes with a steel suspension with a sportier and firmer setup than its predecessor. It benefits from firmer mounting points and improved axle geometry, and offers even more precise wheel location and better shielding from vibrations caused by unevenness in the road surface. AIRMATIC is available as an option and has a sportier set-up than in the GLE SUV.
As standard, the new GLE Coupé boasts Active Brake Assist, which can help prevent rear-end collisions and collisions with crossing pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
The technical data of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé
|GLE 400 d 4MATIC Coupé|
|Model/Number of cylinders/Arrangement||Diesel/6 in-line|
|Rated output, combustion engine||kW/hp at rpm||243/330 at 3600-4200|
|Rated torque, combustion engine||Nm at rpm||700 at 1200-3200|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||s||5.7|
|Consumption, combined||l/100 km||7.4-6.9|
|CO2 emissions, combined (AMG Line as standard)||g/km||210-202|
|Retail price||R1 814 000|