The Mercedes GL-Class debuted in 2007 as Mercedes-Benz's first full-size SUV. This vehicle offers features no other vehicle in the brand can, including the G-Class. The full-size SUV offers a third row of seating, as well as an unusually smooth ride for a vehicle of this size. This SUV is not the best for off-roading, so if that is what you're looking for, take a look at the military-inspired G-Class.
There are three different versions of the GL-Class that can be had: the GL550, the GL450, and the GL350 Bluetec diesel that features an AdBlue exhaust treatment system that allows it to be legal in all 50 states. The GL550 model is powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 that produces 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque. Powering the GL450 is a 4.6-liter V-8 that puts out 335 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. The Bluetec diesel has 210 horsepower and a whomping 400 lb-ft of torque from its 3.0-liter V-6 engine.
The interior of this SUV is luxurious to say the least. It is equipped with heated power front seats, as well as a retractable glass sunroof. To enhance the feel of openness, Mercedes has included a fixed glass panel over the third row. For the consumer's convenience, the third row seats can be stowed with the push of a button. There is no lack of features for this full-size SUV.
Body style: SUV
Engines: 3.0-liter diesel V-6; 4.6-liter V-8; 5.5-liter V-8
Transmissions: seven-speed automatic
Models: GL350 Bluetec diesel, GL450, GL550
There are very few, minor changes for the 2012 GL-Class. All models receive LED daytime running lights and an updated interior trim. Also for 2012, the rearview camera receives new directional lines.
The exterior of the GL-Class is unique. The GL550 is equipped with fender flares, infrared reflecting glass, and a larger Mercedes-Benz star integrated into the front grille. The SUV is 200.6-inches wide, as well as 76.4-inches wide and 72.4-inches tall.
The interior of the SUV is a very luxurious one. Up front are heated and power seats, while there is also a standard third row that is retractable with the touch of a button. With both the second and third row seats stowed away, there is more than 83 cubic-feet of cargo room. Blind spot assist is available, along with a command system that features a seven-inch color display screen that controls Bluetooth as well as optional Sirius Satellite radio.
Performance & Handling
There are three available engines, but there is really only one if you’re looking for power: the 5.5-liter V-8 that comes with the GL550. This engine produces 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, accelerating the 5500-pound SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. For such a big vehicle, the GL-Class provides great handling along with a smooth ride.
The SUV is equipped with a total of nine airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags in front and rear. Also included are belt tensioners and belt force limiters. The truly remarkable safety feature is Pre-Safe. When this system senses an imminent collision it tightens the front seat belts, and the front passenger seat moves to a position that provides better protection. Also, side windows close, and if it senses a rollover, the sunroof closes.
EPA Fuel Economy
GL350 Bluetec: 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway
GL450: 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway
GL550: 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway
- Third row seats
Good handling for its size
You Won't Like
- Not very off-road capable
Truck–like fuel economy
A versatile SUV with a third row
If You Like This Vehicle
- Land Rover LR4
- Lexus LX 570
- BMW X5
- Infiniti QX56