Jaco Van Der Merwe
Struggling to keep up with the ever-growing Mercedes-Benz SUV line-up? Don’t feel bad. Big family syndrome has the tendency to make you forget the odd cousin’s name.
To make up for lost time, instead of introducing each updated or additional SUV model on an individual basis as the German manufacturer would in non-Covid years, they opted to go for the whole shebang and round up the entire family in one go last week. The gathering was highlighted by the arrival of the first-ever GLB and an all-new GLA, while various new models were added throughout the entire range.
Before we give you a breakdown of each’s position on the family tree, a little background is in order. Mercedes’ entire SUV range uses the prefix G in reference to the iconic Gëlandewagon, which is German for “terrain vehicle”. The G-Wagon has been in production for no less than 41 years and used in the field by dozens of militaries around the world, so Mercedes could hardly find a more suitable vehicle to head up its SUV range.
While G is the only letter used in G-Class derivatives, the rest of the range all have three letters in their model denominators. They all start with a G, followed by the letter L as a linkage to the third letter, which indicates the class of Mercedes-Benz that particular SUV is equivalent too. GLE, for example, would be equivalent to the E-Class in terms of size and specification.
The family will further extend with the addition of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS and EQ electric offerings in due course.
Since making its debut in 2014, Mercedes has sold more than one million on its baby SUVs across the world, underlining its importance for the brand.
The updated GLA rides 100 mm higher than its predecessor, is more spacious inside in terms of rear legroom and boot space, features the MBUX infotainment system and a host of safety features. The two first models on offer are the GLA 200 and 200d. The 200 is powered by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that sends 120 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox while the 200d’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine makes 110kW/320Nm and is married the the new eight-speed dual-clutch ‘box.
Joining the GLA as a compact SUV, the GLB’s major drawing card is the fact that it can be ordered as a seven-seater. Taking a few styling cues from the boxy exterior of the G-Class, Mercedes claims that the GLB has an off-road orientated design, but its low ground clearance limits its capabilities off the tarmac as we discovered during a launch drive over some obstacles last week.
The GLB is initially offered in 250 and 220d derivatives, with the oil-burner featuring 4Matic all-wheel-drive. The 250 is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which sends 165kW/350Nm to the front wheels via the eight-speed dual-clutch ‘box, with the 220d featuring a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine producing 140kW/400Nm.
The GLB 250 offers a combined fuel consumption 7.1 l/100 km, with combined CO2 emissions of 168 g/km. The two-litre diesel engine in the GLB 220d 4Matic has a claimed consumption of 5.1 l/100 km, and combined CO2 emissions of 144 g/km.
Similar to its C-Class sedan sibling, the GLC is a South African favourite. It is offered in both a traditionally styled SUV and Coupe derivatives with a host of AMG models to boot, of which the GLC 63 S features the beastly 4.0-litre V8 powerplant. All models feature 4Matic all-wheel-drive and are very competent off-road if you don’t mind those shiny alloys getting dirty.
Mercedes’ mid-sized SUV started out as the M-Class in the 1990s. Like the GLC, it is also offered as a traditionally styled SUV or as the more dynamic Coupe with slanting roof at the rear.
In Coupe guise, only one model is offered initially: the GLE 400d. It is powered by a 2.9-litre six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 243kW/700Nm and is married to a 9G Tronic transmission.
Merc’s pay-off line for this monstrosity is the S-Class of SUVs. It is big, spacious, luxurious, fast, safe and extremely capable of tackling the rough stuff.
The GLS 580’s mild-hybrid 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine delivers 360kW/700Nm, with another 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW of additional output temporarily on tap via EQ Boost, while the 400d’s 2.9-litre straight-six diesel engine produces 243kW/700Nm. Both derivates feature 9G Tronic transmission which channels power to all four wheels.
Having made only been offered in AMG G63 guise since the latest reincarnation local arrival, the G-Wagon has welcomed an oil-burning sibling in Stronger Than Time special edition guise. The G400d is powered by a 2.9-litre straight-six diesel engine which sends 243 kW of power and 700 Nm to all four wheels via the 9G Tronic transmission.
200 – R674 000
200d – R710 000
250 – R831 000
220d 4Matic – R841 000
220d 4Matic – R923 080
220d 4Matic AMG Line – R983 100
220d 4Matic Coupe – R1 073 080
220d 4Matic Coupe AMG Line – R1 126 980
300d 4Matic – R967 230
300d 4Matic AMG Line- R1 027 330
300d 4Matic Coupe – R1 114 560
300d 4Matic Coupe AMG Line- R1 168 460
300 4Matic – R992 200
300 4Matic AMG Line – R1 052 300
300 4Matic Coupe – R1 139 200
300 4Matic Coupe AMG Line- R1 193 100
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 – R1 255 640
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe – R1 453 400
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S – R1 938 480
Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Coupe – R2 140 480
300d 4Matic – R1 427 080
300d 4Matic AMG Line – R1 502 880
450 4Matic – R1 570 640
450 4Matic AMG Line – R1 646 440
400d 4Matic – R1 593 840
400d 4Matic AMG Line – R1 669 640
400d 4Matic Coupe AMG Line – R1 827 800
Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 – R1 851 280
Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe – R1 939 040
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S – R2 907 440
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe – R2 970 920
400d 4Matic – R1 854 840
400d 4Matic AMG Line – R1 928 140
580 4Matic – R2 045 160
580 4Matic AMG Line – R2 118 460
Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S – R3 178 120
400d Stronger Than Time – R2 892 840
Mercedes-AMG G63 – R3 366 840
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