Mercedes Benz India organized the Drive Experience – Fascination Mercedes – Leh, Ladakh 2011 for media personnel from across the country. The purpose of the Fascination Mercedes Drive Experience was to explore their off-roaders GL350, GL500, and G55 in the difficult terrains of Ladakh. At first glance, the Mercedes Benz GL350 CDI will probably give you a wrong impression of being a luxury vehicle, which it is, but that’s where it becomes a lot a lot more than that.
The new GL Class was more than impressive while off-roading in Ladakh. Powered by a 2987 cc V6 diesel engine, the new GL350 generates 224 bhp @ 3800 rpm and 510 Nm torque @ 1600-2800 rpm. 7G-TRONIC 7 speed automatic gearbox takes care of the power transmission. Curves and slopes while on road and off road were handled exceptionally while hardly losing traction.
An All Wheel Drive (AWD) with an electronic traction system called 4MATIC remains on and prevents tires from losing traction, be it any surface. 4MATIC features ESP – Electronic Stability Program and 4ETS – Electronic Tradition System with ASR and ABS, enabling controlled braking. DSR – Downhill Speed Regulation takes care of the car when going downhill – feed in max speed in the system, and it will automatically take you down with controlled speed. All you need to take care of is the steering wheel.
The new Mercedes Benz GL350 CDI is also easy on the environment due to low carbon emissions (264gms/km), thanks to BlueEfficiency, better aerodynamics, auto gear shifts, and low rolling resistance in tires. On the dashboard, you will find controls to the infotainment system, traction, ground clearance system called as AirMatic by Mercedes which at the highest clears the ground by 307 mm.
Mercedes Benz GL350 CDI is very spacious on the inside, with a comfortable 3rd row seating for adults, and not limited for your pets, or children. The off roader comes fitted with a run-flat mini spare wheel as a standard feature, and is located under the 3rd row seats. When the 2nd and 3rd row seats are down and folded, boot area for the SUV increases to 2200 liters.
Tires are rugged and will take you almost anywhere. Of all the 7 Mercedes Benz cars which we were exploring during this expedition, only once did a tire experience a cut. All the tires of the GL350 CDI are same, with a tire code of 275/55 fitted on 19” five spoke alloys.
GL350 CDI also features a new grille, fog lights, chrome protection for the underbody in rear and front, daytime running lights with a strip of LED’s, new front and rear bumpers, and disc brakes on the front and rear. With a top speed of 210 kmph, and 0-100 kmph in just 9.5 seconds, we limited ours to 170 kmph in order to not be the undisciplined diesel SUV in a larger than life convoy of stars.
Despite not managing a top speed feat, it’s fair to say acceleration was smooth, and will continue to be so if you move faster. The 4MATIC auto transmission seamlessly shifts gears allowing smooth acceleration. The car is easy to handle at low speeds, but once you cross 140 kmph, those behind the wheel must not lose focus as it gets a bit difficult to control on uneven roads, considering the kerb weight of 2505 kgs. Mercedes Benz GL350 CDI gives a mileage of 10 kmpl and is available in two variants, GL Executive, and GL Luxury with a price tag of Rs. 65.94 lakhs and Rs. 71.03 lakhs (ex-showroom Pune).
The event was lead by Mr. Manas Dewan, General Manager Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications, Mercedes Benz India. Mr. Debashis Mitra, Sales & Marketing, Director, Mercedes Benz India too was present at the event.
To read the review on GL500 4MATIC in Leh, click here.
To read the review on G55 AMG in Leh, click here.