The Mercedes-Benz GL 500 is big. VERY big. So big in fact that James has given up his Dubai flat and moved in.
At 2am I’m awoken by the sound of my bathroom ceiling collapsing. Having sprung a leak a couple of weeks ago, the build up of water has now caused the ceiling tiles to give way, simultaneously causing me to leap from my bed in the throes of a mini-heart attack and belt my shin quite heavily against the side of the wardrobe.
That’s it. That is the last straw. After weeks of power cuts, a failing Internet connection and a temperamental air conditioning system, the time has come to pack my suitcase and find a new home. The search doesn’t take long though since I will be swapping my flat on the 36th floor for this, the new-for-2013 Mercedes-Benz GL 500 4MATIC. My new beachfront condo.
A few of you are probably now wondering if I hit my head on the wardrobe as well as my shin. But on a lot of levels this does make sense.
The sheer size of the brute for one thing. At 201 inches long, 84 inches wide and standing 72 inches high, the GL is enormous. And that means space. Lots and lots of space. Up front, one fairly sizeable centre console aside, leg and headroom is more than ample, aided by the electronically adjustable Artico diamond-stitched leather seats. Second row occupants will find space similarly ample, and thanks to a third set of seats right at the back, accommodating seven adults in comfort is child’s play for the GL 500. Just as well, since plans for my house warming are well under way.
The looks of my new home are also pretty striking. There’s an aggression to the front thanks to the sculpted bonnet ripples and select air inlets in the bonnet as well as sleekly styled Intelligent Light System headlights (that’s LEDs to me and you). A pretty bulbous bonnet hints at the biturbo V8 pulsating underneath, though my attention is neatly snagged by the AMG Exterior Sports Package. With this comes some pretty swanky 21-inch five-twin spoke AMG alloys, slightly widened wheel arches and a twin-pipe exhaust system.
And chrome. Really quite a lot of chrome, and the aluminium-look running boards don’t help tone it down either. A subtle diamond white metallic paint finish (a $1758 option) can’t hide the fact that there is some serious bling on the GL, though a somewhat understated rear light cluster and a cheeky roof lip spoiler do just about manage to tip the balance back in the right direction (what would the neighbours have said?). There’s also a tow hook housed under the rear bumper should I feel flush and fancy adding an extension. Simply put, as a GCC Standard GL-Class, this second generation X166 is pretty loaded.
As far as amenities go then, the cabin of the GL is impressive. Okay, yes, the lack of a fridge, freezer, oven or overhead cupboard mean the 36th-floor flat has the edge to begin with, but ample amounts of storage space (both underfloor in the boot and sizeable cubby holes upfront) mean packing away the groceries isn’t an issue. And besides, the number of drive-through ‘restaurants’ in Dubai is hardly limited.
Having unpacked, of sorts, it’s time to settle into my new home with a bite to eat in the dining room – read back seats – and take advantage of Mercedes’ GCC Package in the GL. With that comes a Rear Seat Entertainment System and two TV screens in the front headrests (complete with remote and three-way AV connectors for a man-cave Playstation). There’s also automatic climate control, ambient lighting, leather upholstery and an automatic panoramic sunroof. It’s all suitably luxurious, as the front passenger and driver will no doubt agree whilst enjoying the seat massagers and air-cooled seats.
There is a slight hitch though with my new living room. The GCC Package accounts for just under $21,000 of the GL’s $99,800 asking price, so it looks like my monthly rent has shot up quite a bit. Mercedes’ media interface is also a little problematic. With both a rotary dial and buttons on the dash, it’s all a little cluttered, and finding your way around can prove difficult.