Test Drive: 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL 450

Manufacturer’s web site
Mercedes-Benz Canada

Review and photos by Grant Yoxon

Photo Gallery:
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Santa Fe, NM – It is a vehicle that few of us would be able to buy.

Certainly, there are many more vehicles—even SUVs—that cost as much or more than the seven-passenger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, but for the privileged few who can afford to pay $75,000 or more for a vehicle, the 2013 GL may well be a bargain.

1,660 sales in 2011 made the GL the bestselling large luxury SUV in Canada. With the 2013 model, Mercedes-Benz plans to retain (and likely will retain) its firm grip on first place.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Click image to enlarge

Although the cost of entry starts at $73,700 ($3,700 less than the 2012 GL 350), the 2013 GL boasts an impressive list of standard luxury features, incredibly low NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), superior on-road comfort and off-road capability, all while carrying up to seven passengers, up to 795 kg (1,750 lb.) of cargo or towing up to 3,500 kg (7,700 lb.). But where the GL excels is in unprecedented safety and driving technology.

Mercedes will offer three variations of the 2013 GL-Class, all of them fitted with 4Matic all-wheel drive, seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission and more powerful and fuel efficient diesel and gasoline engines.

Powered by a revised 3.0L V6 turbodiesel now rated at 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, the GL 350 BlueTec 4Matic marks the entry point at $73,700.

The midrange GL 450 gets a new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 4.7L gasoline V8 rated at 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, starting at $75,900.

The top-of-the-line—for now—GL 550 features a more potent version of the same engine, with 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and a base price of $95,900.

An even more powerful AMG version, the GL 63, will arrive in 2013.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Click image to enlarge

Estimated acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is 8.4 seconds for the GL 350, 6.3 for the GL 450 and 5.6 for the GL 550. Speedy acceleration has a cost, though, with the GL 550 using an estimated 11.3 to 11.7 L/100 km in combined highway and city driving, while the GL 350 is rated at just 7.4 to 8.0 L/100 km combined (according to the European NEDC estimate).

Standard equipment on the GL 350 and GL 450 is the same, but it is difficult to use a word like ‘standard’ with features like Airmatic air suspension with active dampers and load sensing capability, active bi-xenon headlights, heated steering wheel, automatic climate control, Calyptus wood trim, leather-covered dash, power sunroof, power folding third row seats, power liftgate, and a weight sensing system. Standard safety features include Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist, Adaptive High-beam Assist, Pre-Safe, Collision Prevention Assist, ECO Start-Stop technology, and Parktronic with Active Parking Assist and 360-degree-view camera.

Surrounded by Artico (synthetic) leather upholstery in one of seven different combinations, power everything at your finger tips, listening to what is a very decent audio system for ‘standard’ equipment in the ultra-quiet environment of the diesel-powered GL 350, one wonders, momentarily, how it could get any better. Mercedes-Benz calls the GL the S-Class of SUVs. If the S-Class sets the standard, I understand what Mercedes-Benz means by standard equipment.

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