The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a full-size luxury SUV built at Mercedes' Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant alongside the midsize M-Class SUV and R-Class luxury wagon. This is Mercedes' biggest SUV, with three rows of seating and plenty of cargo space. If you're in the market for such a vehicle -- and value on-the-road comfort and manners more than ultimate off-road prowess or tow capacity -- you'll definitely want to check out the GL-Class.
Current Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is offered in three variants: GL350 Bluetec, GL450 and top-of-the-line GL550. The latter features the more powerful V8 engine, a more pronounced front grille and most of the less expensive models' optional features. The GL350 Bluetec has a clean-burning diesel while the GL450 has a gas-powered V8, but these models are virtually identical in terms of equipment.
All GL-Class models have generous seating for up to seven passengers, a roomy cargo hold, capable all-weather performance and the ability to tow various lifestyle accessories, though not quite as effortlessly as some rivals. Standard niceties include powered and heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power-folding third-row seat. A hard-drive-based navigation system is available.
Under the GL450's hood is a 4.7-liter V8 making 335 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The GL550 features a 5.5-liter V8 that produces 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. The 50-state-aproved GL350 Bluetec is powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 good for 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of low-rpm torque. That type of off-the-line power is well suited to a large SUV, and the diesel also yields superior fuel economy. All GL-Class models come equipped with a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. They also all come with an air-adjustable suspension and all-wheel drive.
In reviews, we've lauded the GL-Class' roomy seating, luxurious cabin and powerful engines. All of the expected luxuries are either standard or available, and the GL also offers the advantage of being slightly less enormous than some rivals. However, it is quite expensive compared to similar models from Audi, Infiniti and Land Rover. Overall, we highly recommend the GL-Class if the price is not too off-putting.
Used Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Models
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class was introduced for 2007 with two trim levels: GL320 CDI and GL450. The GL320 CDI's diesel power plant was similar in output to the current Bluetec diesel, but it was not cleared for sale in California-emissions states. The GL550 and its more powerful gasoline V8 arrived in 2008. For 2009, the GL320 Bluetec model replaced the GL320 CDI, boasting cleaner emissions that allowed it to be 50-state legal. Also for 2009, the navigation system received hard-drive-based functionality, and the COMAND interface was updated. For 2010, the diesel model became the GL350 Bluetec and received a smidge more torque.