The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is the German automaker's overture to American sport-utility vehicle shoppers seeking a big, tow-friendly luxury rig. The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class full-size SUV offers four-door accommodations, three rows of seating, and the ability to transport up to seven passengers. It also features a list of safety equipment that includes thirteen individual airbags (forward, front-side, second-row side, driver's knee, and side curtain airbags), collision prevention assist, electronic stability control, crosswind stabilization, and traction control.
All versions of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class come standard with a seven-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. The GL-Class offers a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 as its entry-level motor, and this unit delivers 240 horsepower and a resounding 455 lb-ft of torque along with fuel mileage of 17-mpg city and 21-mpg highway. The next step up is a 362 horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 that also churns out 406 lb-ft of torque, followed by a range-topping twin-turbo edition of the same engine that provides 429 horses and 516 lb-ft of twist. The latter two motors fall short of the diesel when it comes to fuel mileage.
The base Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec (MSRP $61,570) provides heated leather seats, dual automatic climate control, a sunroof, Bluetooth integration, and trailer stability assist. The GL450 (MSRP $63,900) upgrades to MB-Tex upholstery, adds steering wheel controls for various vehicle functions, includes a power-folding third row of seating, and installs the COMAND vehicle interface, while the GL550 (MSRP $86,900) adds bi-xenon headlights, three zones of climate control, a higher grade of leather, a ventilation feature for the front seats, a hard drive for storing digital music files, and a navigation system.
Mercedes-Benz makes several options packages available with the GL-Class. The Premium 1 and Premium 2 packages add much of the GL550's standard luxury gear to the first two trim levels, while the Lighting Package installs adaptive bi-xenon headlights. A Lane-Tracking Package, Driver Assistance Package (adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping feature, blind spot monitoring), On/Off-Road Package, and Parking Assist Package are also offered with the SUV.
Similar luxury SUVs are the Lexus LX570, the Infiniti QX56 and the Cadillac Escalade.