|Date acquired:||October 2014|
|Kilometres this month:||1214|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||8.9|
We’ve just finished our shoot of the new Renault Clio R.S. 200 Turbo, and although it’s still only 11am, the crankandpiston team has been up and about since 4am, a prerequisite to those all important dawn shots our photographers crave. Honestly, I can’t say I’m looking forward to the two-hour drive back to Dubai aboard our Mercedes-Benz GL 500. In fact, I’m afraid I’ll fall asleep at the wheel.
There’s plenty of reasons for my concern. Firstly, with their shots safely in the bag, C&P photographers Hari and Arun have both received their respective clouts from Mr Sandman, and ultimately don’t resume consciousness for another 90 minutes. That means I’m on driving detail, an activity that with a full eight hours behind me isn’t an issue: superbly comfortable leather seats (massage available), smooth ride and barely any road noise to rupture the peace. With only an hour of sleep in the bag and with the monotony of the highway to deal with, they’re all working against me. I can feel my eyelids starting to droop.
There’s only half a cup of cold (and frankly terrible) petrol station coffee to keep me alert, the warm air battering my face through the open window no help at all. Fortunately, at heart I am eight years old, and with a blip of my right foot and a flick of my left hand, the 429bhp Mercedes 4.7-litre V8 delivers a sizable punch of gutsy acceleration which gets at least a few of my synapses firing on partial cylinders. Even this stops working after a few impromptu bursts though, which means I have to get a little more creative.
Abandoning the highway network altogether, the SatNav has spotted a potentially cool stretch of winding tarmac. In a Ferrari or McLaren it would barely be worth breaking a sweat, but in the much heavier Merc, it’s a good opportunity to give the handling one final test before our long term GL is put out to pasture. Even now, four months after we first took temporary custodianship, it baffles the mind how a 2445kg luxury SUV can handle both sharp turns and long sweepers this effectively, lean significantly less than it theoretically should be and balance much better than any vehicle of this size has a right to have. The tight turns slosh my brain around effectively, but still my eyelids getting heavy.
I’d love to have ended this update with a euphoric “we made it, we made it”, but eventually better sense prevails and we pull over with 50km left to go for another cup of coffee. We’re confident we’ll give the GL a farewell it deserves very soon. With a little help from the Cadillac Escalade.
|Engine||V8 / 4663cc|
|Power||429bhp @ 5250rpm|
|Torque||516lb ft @ 1800-3500rpm|
|Transmission||7G-TRONIC PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission / 4MATIC permanent four-wheel drive|
|Front suspension||Double-wishbone / anti-dive control / torsion bar stabiliser|
|Rear suspension||Multi-link / anti-squat and anti-dive control / tubular torsion bar stabiliser|
|Brakes||Hydraulic dual-circuit braking system with vacuum booster / stepped master brake cylinder / internally ventilated (front) / solid disc (rear) / ABS / BAS|
|Wheels||8.5 J x 19 front and rear|
|Tyres||275/55 R19 W front and rear|