March 18, 2006

Add An "L" For "Lamer": Mercedes GL-Class

mb_gl_class.jpg

LOLOLOLOLOL. That's why he wins the big Pulitzers. Just as Mercedes unveils the newly redesigned GL-Class, Dan Neil pulls back the curtain on the hollow ridiculousness of such a bloated vehicle:

Mercedes-Benz executives offer this wholly meritless defense: Many of its customers leave the brand because the company does not offer a full-size SUV that meets their needs, which is to say, a seven-passenger, 17-foot 4x4 with a 9,300-pound towing capacity. At this point in the presentation in Napa Valley last week, execs showed slides of the GL pulling a 30-foot boat. So there you have it: Mercedes' audience of water-skiing polygamists is underserved.

Needs? Did the man say needs? OK, then. I propose needs testing for the purchase of such a vehicle. You must have a Chris-Craft and three or more school-age children in the yard to qualify. Your vehicle must do double-duty as, um, a bookmobile.

Need has very little to do with it. This segment is about want, naked and unquenchable, I-got-mine-you-get-bent appetite. It's well established that the vast majority of these vehicles never touch gravel, never carry more than a couple of people, and never tow anything heavier than the weight of their owner's childhood traumas.

And with that momentum, he launches into a spirited attack on the backwards emissions, mileage, and tax policies [including the $25K tax deduction for heavy SUV's] that permit--nay, encourage--such embarassing, oil-addiction-perpetuating rigs.

Which is fine, except I have to confess: I used to really like the big MB SUV when it was the boxy, utilitarian, grey market Gelandewagen, Mercedes' answer to the original Land Rover. But when tarted up G-Classes started showing up in the Hamptons, driven by a pack of nitwits who didn't know a differential from a tennis bracelet, I had to admit: the car was dead to me. And the GL? Like Neil, I give you full permission to mock any GL-Class-driving monkey you see who's not pulling a houseboat.

My other car is a plane
[latimes]
Seriously. The Mercedes GL450. [mbusa.com]
25 Years of the G-Class [mercedes-benz.com]

3 Comments

Me too, DT. And I really used to like the original Land Rover. But that went with fantasies of owning horses in the Yorkshire Dales, not going between the spa and the mall and the tennis courts. I'd have said "the kid's school," but the nanny does the pick-up.

No matter what you think or say it's a fact that american cars suck and are in terms of technique way behind. I can understand your patriotic need to hide this fact by saying the opposite.

[wha wha wha?? considering the GL is built in Alambama, like the M-Class before it, which had the WORST quality record of any Mercedes EVER, I have no idea how to parse this. -ed.]

The New G is built the same car as the Cherokee. It's Daimler-Chrysler baby.

I sometimes feel guilt for driving my big ass suv, but as soon as they make a hybrid wagon that I can still fit three carseats in the back, I am gonna keep driving the SUV.

It's not really fair to blatantly insinuate all SUV drivers are environment wreckers. I do recycle and when you consider that my SUV has 20,000 miles on it and it's more than three years old, well, I pay for it by living in an expensive city -- close to my office. The econobox driven by my co-workers, have four times as many miles on the car because they make their babies in the suburbs and drive an hour to work. The way I see it, the milleage equals itself out.

[oh sure, it's not fair, but it's fun. The truth is more complicated, of course; if my wife hadn't somehow guided me away from it, I'd probably have bought a needlessly huge (for our purposes) F-150 a few years ago, and then I'd be on the other/receiving side of the organic tomato-throwing. Three carseats, though? You already running car pools at this tender age? -ed.]

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