There’s something so right about a V6 turbodiesel with enough torque to make a railway loco cry
Let’s start off with the basics. What we have here is the update to the venerable Merc GL. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s brash. It’s a 7-seater (though we’d rather save the last row of seats for a crate of champagne) SUV that’s over 5 metres long, weighs around two-and-a-half tonnes, and can power its way through a half a metre of standing water.
More power? Yes, please
As you’d expect, with all that metal comes the need for a massive engine. And Merc delivers: You get a 3-litre V6 diesel motor with the kind of stats that can only be termed ‘awesome’: 258hp and 620Nm. Merc’s also plonked in their 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.
What this means is that an ‘earth-shattering wave of torque’ (if you’ll pardon our use of that cliche) is but a dab of the throttle away. In all, expect to do the 0-100 sprint in 7.8s, which is darn impressive for an SUV that weighs as much as 3 family hatchbacks.
Luxury with smarts
It’s a Merc. A big, expensive one. So you also get enough luxury accoutrements to keep even the most demanding (and geeky) politician or corporate titan happy. There’s the Apple CarPlay-compatible COMAND Online infotainment system with an 8in display, the AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping (for a plush ride that won’t disturb your mid-commute caviar snack even on the worst roads), 5 Dynamic Select driving modes which seem to cover every conceivable kind of terrain you could encounter, 4MATIC four-wheel-drive, a panoramic sunroof, along with enough wood to fill an Ikea and more leather than a Texan ranch worth of cows. (To be fair to Mercedes, it’s Artico artificial leather, which means all those cows are quite safe and can enjoy the Texas sunsets for some more days to come.)
But our favourite geeky bit has to be the parking kit - the 360° camera, and more so, the Active Parking Assist, which makes it easy to park this gargantuan SUV in the tightest spots. It’ll detect a spot you can squeeze into, alert you and then maneuver the car on its own, requiring you to just do the ‘ol tap dance on the accelerator and brakes.
Finally, the price. Yes, it’s as massive as the GLS itself, but can you put a price tag on being cosseted in acres of wood and oodles of leather as you drive around on broken roads persuading people to vote for you? We didn’t think so. So fork out ₹80.40 lakh (ex-showroom, of course) and bring home the new Mercedes-Benz GLS 350D!