by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class SUV scooped in Stuttgart

The big "truck" in Mercedes-Benz's yard is up for a complete revamp next year. Although to some it may seem like more of a evolution than a visible revolution, the second generation of the GL-Class will make use of fresh underpinnings, gained straight from the new M-Class and fitted to match the car's lengthier stance.

Looking at the latest spy shots as well as at the rest that appeared up to now, one can tell designers have paid attention to refining and improved the original looks of the first generation. Instead of venturing themselves into moving sands with daring visual experiments, they played safe and managed to enhance the GL's understated elegance and power. The front end will likely follow the trail of the W 166 M-Class that just entered the market some time ago. The main characteristic of the front fascia is the huge grille with two louvres and the large intakes which should a better cooling and thus sharper performance. In high-end version, headlights will get LED technology, arranged in a stylish manner to create an impressive inner design in the lamp. The popular, bold and rough profile inspired by the G-Class is here to stay, but for the sake of efficiency, substantial work has been carried out to finish some surfaces as to improve aerodynamics through a better air flow. Moving backwards, everybody could have a tremendous surprise when the camouflage strips fall off: the tail lights all look very intriguing for a Mercedes-Benz. We keep our thoughts until there's more to see, as FEP approaches. So far, no one has got a clear picture of how the interior might be like, but given the ML fraternity, the new GL could receive its dashboard straight-away, with just a few, minor modifications. All in all, that's good, even though a tad more personality wouldn't ruin the car. At least, premium quality, charming style and supreme luxury are ensured.

Engineers had in mind the high level of competence the future GL-Class has to inspire that they took all the latest technical goodies from Merc's store to strictly meet the desired targets. The SUV will be able to foretell the occurence of an accident and will rapidly react to protect its passengers thanks to the ingenious PRE-SAFE system. If the driver is tired, the car will be smart enough to stress upon this fact with the help of ATTENTION ASSIST. Other active assistance systems, such as the Blind Spot Assist, Speed Limit Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Night View Assist Plus, will further mitigate road incidents and enrich passenger protection. Connection to the world, as well as management all of the vehicle's components and functions, will become operational via the addition of the new COMAND Online internet-based infotainment system.

Speaking of the GL's potential, the 4MATIC powertrain ensures a dynamic, yet balanced ride, as well as the all so popular Mercedes-Benz travelling comfort. To support those who want to test the new SUV in nature, the ON & OFFROAD Package that debuted on the ML this year will also be available as an option for the upcoming GL-Class. But this car would not be complete without some capable powerplants under the hood. With the BlueEFFICIENCY treatment applied across the lineup, you could say Green Peace freaks will fancy the GL. Not when they hear the output numbers: the GL 350 CDI with 265 hp, the GL 350 with 306 hp (and probably a GL 400 with 354 hp) and the range-topping GL 500 with 435 hp out of biturbo V8. And if that was not enough, towards the end of 2012, Mercedes-AMG plans to release the all new GL 63 AMG (which is already being tested on streets) powered by the massive 5.5-litre V8 engine that tweaked to deliver from 544 hp up to 571 hp, depending on the package the client opts for.

Premiere of the new GL-Class could take place during summer next year, with an official reveal planned for Paris Motor Show. With all the advances and updates the car will bring, we expect the base price could jump towards € 80,000 compared to the current € 75,000 (in Germany).

Photos: SecretNewCars

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