NEW FOR 2009:

– New-generation audio and communications systems
– Revised rear-seat entertainment system
– New wheel design for GL320 and GL450; GL320 receives run-flat tires
– GL320 CDI receives BlueTEC with AdBlue technology
– Standard PRE-SAFE, driver’s side four-way power lumbar support, redesigned mirrors and steering wheel, and driver’s side knee airbag
– Available passenger-side memory seat

For 2009, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class receives some updates. Most notable is BlueTEC technology for the GL320 CDI; it produces fewer emissions and meets stringent 2009 standards. The system uses AdBlue, an aqueous urea solution that is primarily meant to be replenished during regular dealership maintenance; because the reservoir is in the area meant for the spare tire, the GL320 now has run-flat tires. It also receives standard COMAND with MP3, Bluetooth, DVD changer and SD card slot; TeleAid and the Harman/Kardon Logic7 Surround Sound System are now options, along with a new COMAND APS with hard-drive-based navigation system and a media interface for players such as iPods.

The GL450 now has standard COMAND APS with navigation, MP3, Bluetooth, DVD changer and SD card slot, along with 20-inch wheels with run-flat tires and media interface; its Premium Package now includes Keyless Go pushbutton start and a 115-volt power outlet. The GL550 also receives the COMAND with navigation and media interface, and its Premium Package includes a 115-volt power outlet and rear audio with separate controls. On all models, the available rear-seat entertainment system has a larger eight-inch screen, the ability to operate the radio and COMAND from the rear, and wireless headphones are included.

The GL-Class consists of the GL320 CDI, with 3.0-litre V6 diesel; the GL450, with 4.6-litre V8; and the GL550, with 5.5-litre V8. All use a seven-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive.

Features on the GL320 include 20-inch alloy wheels, Thermatic dual-zone automatic climate control, downhill speed regulation, Airmatic air suspension, COMAND with six-DVD/MP3 changer and SD memory slot, Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, power-folding heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, two-stage rain-sensing wipers with heated washers, roof rails, privacy glass, trailer hitch, ten-way Artico leather heated seats with memory, heated leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with power tilt and telescopic column, high-gloss Burl Walnut wood trim, power sunroof, auto-dimming rearview and driver’s side mirrors, express up and down windows, power pop-out third-row windows, power-folding third-row seats, garage door opener, Parktronic parking system, Smart Key keyless entry, tire pressure loss warning system, and anti-theft alarm system.

The GL450 adds COMAND APS with hard-drive-based navigation system, Harman/Kardon Logic7 Surround Sound System, media interface, active bi-Xenon headlamps with washers and cornering lights, leather upholstery, interior lighting package, and TeleAid emergency calling system.

The GL550 adds 21-inch AMG alloy wheels, adaptive damping system, blue-tinted glass, and aluminum running boards.

All models can be optioned with a rear climate control package; there is also a Premium Package available for each. The GL450 and GL550 can also be optioned with an off-road package that includes differential locks, two-stage transfer case, underside protection, and on the GL450, the adaptive damping system.

It’s doubtful many of these do make their way seriously off-road; the GL-Class is more about luxury, and unlike many three-row SUVs, it’s large enough that adults can fit fairly comfortably in the third row without sacrificing second-row space. Those who want a similar package but without the third row of seats can take the GL-Class’ sibling, the two-row M-Class.

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