Taking centre stage was the media launch of the flagship new Mercedes-Benz GL. The award winning large size SUV occupies the top position amongst luxury off-road vehicles and is built around the modern Arab family with its seven seats, best in class engines, powerful performance, space, refinement and cutting edge technologies.
With excellent driving dynamics and high levels of ride comfort - both on the road and on difficult terrain - the GL pampers its occupants with the first-class comfort of a luxury saloon. Up to seven passengers enjoy an excellent amount of space and an optional ON&OFFROAD package for the new GL has six driving programs for optimising driving dynamics and handling safety, as the optimum drive system control is provided for an extremely wide range of on-road and off-road operating conditions. With the ability to travel almost 900 kms on just a single tank of fuel, numerous measures significantly increase the energy efficiency in the 435 hp GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY petrol model, with fuel consumption cut by about 18 percent.
Unveiling the new GL, Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant said: "The 2012 Year of the SUV strategy has been an overwhelming success, with three exciting launches achieving great success amongst customers. With the launch of the new 7-seater GL capping our unrivalled luxury off-road range, we now offer a stable of powerful, attractive, capable and intelligent SUVs that appeal to the tastes and sensibilities of a new generation of regional customers: Customers who question convention and seek only the very best for their families. All this has delivered a best ever year for Mercedes-Benz SUVs, with projected 2012 sales expected to record a 35% increase on 2011."
Running for a month with each expedition lasting three days and covering over 720 kms, participants departed Almouj Golf Club in Muscat and crossed the Wahiba Sands to camp the first night in luxury Bedouin desert camps. Day two saw the convoy leave the dunes - known to be some of the highest in the Middle East - to cross the jebel and wadis and reach the world class Sifawy Boutique Hotel on the coast in evening, where guests enjoyed the warm, friendly hospitality characteristic of the Omani people. The final leg of the journey took in stunning views overlooking the capital, before concluding at the Almouj Golf Club.
All participants got a chance to experience each model as both driver and passenger to gain a first-hand understanding of what 'The Best or Nothing' really means when it comes to Mercedes-Benz SUVs.
Mercedes-Benz has an off-road heritage of over 100 years, and now boasts an unrivalled SUV family offering the widest range in the market, delivering peerless performance, fascinating technology, space and refinement across any terrain.
The flagship seven seater GL: Built around the modern Arab family
Comfort, safety, elegance, efficiency - the new GL from Mercedes-Benz demonstrates leadership qualities in all the decisive SUV disciplines, boasting value that makes it an easy choice for those wishing to invest in the very best for their families. Innovations such as the Crosswind Assist, the STEER CONTROL steering assistance system, the load recognition and the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (CPA) increase the active safety.
Other new features to become available are assistance systems such as Active Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist, together with a parking package incorporating an automatic function for entering and exiting parking spaces. In 2013 a 360° camera will also be available.
Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant has it spot on when he describes the new generation as follows: "The new 7-seater GL occupies the top position amongst the luxury SUVs. With its comprehensive assistance systems it has a pioneering role where safety and comfort are concerned, and is on a par with an S-Class - even when off the beaten track."
Even at first glance the 2012 GL is recognisable as a characteristic representative of the Mercedes-Benz Sports Utility Vehicle family. This new interpretation of the first generation impresses with its powerful dynamism and sporty elegance. In the front area the hallmark GL upright radiator grille with its central star and the clear, high-quality design of the headlamps with an LED flare dominate. The daytime running lamps featuring LED technology are integrated in a chrome insert in the bumper, and beneath the radiator grille the generously sized chrome-look underguard completes the self-confident appearance of the front.
With its balanced proportions (a length of 5120 mm, width of 2141 mm and height of 1850 mm) and the large wheelbase (measuring 3075 mm), the side view underlines the vehicle's on-road emphasis. At the same time the short body overhangs at the front and rear, together with the large ground clearance, point to its off-road suitability. The hallmark-SUV high beltline with its high-quality trim, the feature line which rises dynamically and the chrome edging on the window surfaces highlight the vehicle's effortlessly superior look.
As part of its standard specification the GL is shod with attractive 20 inch light-alloy wheels, and as an option wheels up to 21 inches are available. The tail end with two-piece LED tail lights featuring fibre optics, a large roof spoiler and the bumper with integrated exhaust system, delivering a sporty and aggressive appearance for the luxurious full-size SUV.
For GL customers who place particular importance on a sporty, dynamic appearance, an extensive AMG Exterior Sports package is now available for the first time. In addition to the hallmark-AMG front and rear apron, it also offers special wheel-arch flarings, which span over the 21-inch AMG 5 twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. Illuminated aluminium-look running boards also form part of the scope of supply, as do perforated brake discs and brake calliper covers with Mercedes-Benz lettering.
Emerging from the Mercedes-Benz Affalterbach performance division as the globe's most powerful SUV, the GL 63 AMG blasts from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, hitting a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). And in true Mercedes-AMG fashion, world leading performance is realised whilst combining compelling technologies with pure ride comfort, and striking, unmistakeable design with an extensive range of standard equipment. The GL 63 AMG will arrive in the region in Q1 2013.
The G-Class: An enduring off-road icon
High tech for the AMG off-road classic: the new G 63 AMG impressed with state-of-the-art drive technology and expressive design. All this is largely attributable to the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine delivering 544 hp and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission system. Even more exclusive is the new G 65 AMG: its 6.0-litre biturbo engine delivers 612 hp and reaches a maximum torque of 1000 newton metres - a record in the off-road segment.
Every new AMG high-performance vehicle offers an outstanding mix of "more power from less fuel" - and the G 63 AMG is no exception. The "strong man" in the AMG model range has been further enhanced with the state-of-the-art powertrain of the new ML 63 AMG. The design has been comprehensively reworked, so that, for the first time in the 33-year history of the G-Class, AMG customers can enjoy a raft of future-oriented systems: spray-controlled petrol direct injection, the ECO start/stop function and generator management. The AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds, with a new top speed of 210 km/h (electronically limited).
The M-Class: Performance meets sophistication
Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant ignited its 2012 'Year of the SUV' strategy with the launch of a completely redesigned and powerful new M-Class, setting a new benchmark in the premium segment. With dynamic AMG sports styling as standard, three potent engine options, unparalleled ride comfort, and cavernous, high-quality luxury interiors - the bold new M-Class confidently conveys intent to meet performance with sophistication, and has seen M-Class 2012 sales surge 24% year to date (January-September) compared to the same period in 2011.
A new generation of BlueEFFICIENCY petrol engines will be available across the region. The ML 350 comes with a V6 engine which delivers 306 hp and reaches the 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds. The new ML 500 is equipped with a V8 bi-turbo engine boasting 408 hp that powers to the 100 km/h mark in just 5.7 seconds. Permanent all-wheel drive delivers excellent driving dynamics on both sand and tarmac, whilst innovative handling controls and a new chassis ensure excellent safety whilst leaving competitors seeing smiles in the M-Class' rear view mirror.
For those craving the sonorous notes of Affalterbach's sinister creations, a high performance 250km/h (electronically limited) ML 63 AMG variant is also available. Packing the fierce AMG 5.5 litre V8 bi-turbo engine made famous by the award winning CLS 63 AMG, driven by 525 horses and 700 nm of torque the ML 63 AMG thunders from 0-100km/h in a sports car beating 4.8 seconds. An optionally available AMG Performance package delivers a further 32 hp and 60nm, allowing the luxury sports SUV to harness 557hp and 760nm to rocket to a century in a blistering 4.7 seconds.
The compact new GLK: Comfortable in any situation
The new Mercedes-Benz GLK displayed its full credentials on- and off-road. Its claim to leadership of the compact SUV segment underscored by trailblazing assistance systems, engine matching efficiency with agility, a new design and an extended range of equipment.
The newly designed exterior lends the GLK added dynamism. The body combines classic elements of all-terrain vehicles with the design idiom of the current Mercedes-Benz models. The 306 hp GLK 350 4MATIC petrol-engine model featured the trailblazing engineering of the leading generation of V-engines deployed BlueEFFICIENCY technology to make its mark in terms of performance and fuel consumption. In addition to the ECO start/stop function that comes as standard, the GLK showcased its seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, low-friction axle drives, electric steering and tyres with low rolling resistance. A comprehensive range of equipment and appointments for the GLK includes details which are generally the reserve of higher classes of vehicle.