Mercedes-Benz has started local assembly of the GL-Class in India, which is the first time the vehicle is assembled outside of the company’s US facility in Alabama. The CKD operations of the Mercedes GL-Class will benefit buyers as the company has now stopped doing CBU operations for its mammoth SUV. The German automaker will double its manufacturing facility at its Chakan plant to 20,000 units per annum next year. Till date the company has sold 100 units of the new GL-Class in India, all of which were imported via the CBU route.
Read The Mercedes GL-Class Review
The 2013 Mercedes GL-Class was launched in India in May and was offered as a launch edition with many extra features (AMG body kit, Designo upholstery, etc). It was priced at Rs. 77.5 lakhs. Mercedes-Benz has priced the locally assembled GL-Class very aggressively, which is priced at Rs. 72.58 lakhs (ex-showroom, Pune). The vehicle is loaded with the best of Mercedes tech including 360-degree bird’s eye view parking camera (total of 5 cameras around the car), cross wind assist, electric folding third row of seats, panoramic sunroof, 3-zone climate control, active park assist, 9 airbags (including knee airbag) ASR, ABS, ESP, brake drying, adaptive brakes, AIRMATIC suspension, 4MATIC, intelligent light system, etc.
Powering the Mercedes GL-Class is a single engine option. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel motor belts out 258 BHP of power at 3600 RPM and a massive 619 Nm of torque between 1600-2400 RPM. This engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox and this 2.2 tonne SUV sprints from 0-100 km/hr in just 7.9 seconds. The Mercedes GL-Class rivals the Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery 4 in the Indian market, both of which are priced in the same vicinity as the 7-seater Merc. While the Q7 is locally assembled, the Discovery 4 is a CBU model. Mercedes has made a very good move of opting for CKD assembly for the GL-Class as the depreciating Rupee would have made the CBU model more expensive in the future.
Pictures – Anannd Sampat