Since its introduction to civilians in 1979, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (first developed as a military vehicle) has come a long way. The Gelandewagen has spawned so many off-roaders and capable SUVs that a new nomenclature is being adopted to name its descendants.
In our part of the globe, however, the German luxury-car marque is more popularly known for its sedans. Philippine distributor Auto Nation Group wants to boost its off-roading image by recently unveiling three SUVs. "We want to show you a different side of the brand, a sportier and more rugged side that's still every bit luxurious," said ANG vice president Robert Shaw.
Premium SUV buyers now have more choices as the new progeny--the GLC crossover, the new GLE midsize SUV and the GLE Coupe--join ANG's off-roading family. These three are being added to the GLA compact crossover and the G-Class, bringing the number of Mercedes-Benz SUVs and crossovers to five.
Now, how different are they from one another? And why were they named as such? According to Shaw, the nomenclature change was done for simplification purposes. "Instead of having five different SUVs with different model names, Mercedes-Benz has streamlined them with the letters GL, followed by the letter that aligns them with our core models (A, B, C, E and S)," the executive explained.
The M thus becomes the GLE, while the GLK is now known as the GLC. And the full-size GL is now called the GLS. "The G-Class, being on a league of its own, will stay the same," Shaw noted.
Which one of the three new Mercedes SUVs fits your lifestyle and driving playground?
Don't be deceived by the GLC250 4Matic's glasshouse, which looks like it is lifted from a coupe. A four-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 211hp and 350Nm is under its hood. Fitted with this mill is a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission. The GLC is generally longer than its GLK predecessor; its wheelbase is also 118mm longer, so it now offers 57mm more legroom. The crossover is packed with safety features. A drowsiness detection system (called "Attention Assist" by the German brand) monitors the driver's steering behavior to avoid sleeping behind the wheel. An audible sound and a visual notification remind the driver to focus on the road. Other features are nine airbags and an adaptive brake control system, which keeps the brake discs dry in wet-road conditions.
The bestseller in the Mercedes SUV family, the GLE is available in three diesel-engine variants: GLE250d, GLE250d 4Matic and GLE350d 4Matic. The 250d variants are capable of 204hp, while the V6-equipped 350d 4Matic has 258hp and 620Nm. The Euro-6 engine under their hood is said to offer better fuel economy and less carbon-dioxide emissions. The GLE has a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox as standard.
With the introduction of the GLE Coupe, the BMW X6 now has competition. This crossover coupe, which made its debut in Jurassic World, will be available in gas and diesel variants. Having 258hp to 367hp, the all-wheel-drive GLE Coupe is also equipped with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.
Here are the prices of the new Mercedes-Benz SUVs and crossovers:
* GLC - P4,090,000
* GLE250d - P4,990,000
* GLE350d - P6,390,000
* GLE Coupe - P6,880,000
* G63 - P12,800,000
Photos by Tracy Carpena