Auto Expo : Mercedes GL & S 500 L drive in

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The day before the Auto Expo 2010 commences is packed with launches galore. Starting with Mercedes-Benz. The German car maker has launched the GL 350 CDI and the S 500L.

The GL-Class is Mercedes-Benz's full-size SUV competing with the Audi Q7. Featuring 4Matic all-time four-wheel drive, the GL is an imposing SUV that is also extremely capable and well-built. (BSM took a GL 320 CDI across 2,700 tough kilometres in Australia in December 2008. This is the link to the story: http://bsmotoring.com/storypage.php?autono=951

The GL 350 CDI that has been launched in India features Mercedes-Benz's BlueEfficiency technology. The manufacturer claims that the 224 bhp V6, with over 51 kgm of torque, will offer 10.75 kpl. BlueEfficiency means a host of measures designed to reduce fuel consumption. For instance, the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission switches to neutral when you're waiting at a traffic signal. Then there are other bits like lower rolling resistance tyres, a more aerodynamic radiator grille and spoilers near the front wheels, etc. The GL 350 CDI comes priced at Rs 64.9 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi.

The long-wheelbase S 500 L is powered by a 5.5-litre V8 petrol unit that develops 388 horsepower. This flagship sedan from Mercedes-Benz received a facelift in mid-2009, after selling over 270,000 units since its launch late-2005. The W221-series, Mercedes-Benz claims, is the world's most successful luxury saloon. The revamped S-Class boasts a host of technologies - in safety, comfort and dynamics - that makes it quite up-to-date.The SL 500 L comes priced at Rs 95 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi.

Also displayed, was the SLS AMG, right-hand-drive versions of which are available. Mercedes also showcased their hybrids, however, RHD versions of the same are not available yet.

At the launch, Dr Wilfried Aulbur stated that Mercedes-Benz is keen on bringing diesel hybrids into the country. He also declared that the German manufacturer is targeting double-digit growth in India in 2010. As of now, India is on par with Thailand and Singapore, while China boasts a market 20 to 25 times the size.