2013 Mercedes Benz GL Class
Tipping the scales of the full-sized luxury SUV segment, the 2013 Mercedes Benz GL class enters only its second generation with mixed feelings on the “Bigger is Better” mantra. Indeed, this redesigned GL grows both inside and out, though it may go unnoticed unless you bring a tape measure. Still, this translates into plenty of passenger seating and increased cargo room. And of course, near-unrivalled comfort levels. The exterior has evolved, with a blunter take on everything up front grille to headlights, while there’s more of a kick up at the rear. The chassis, still adapted from the smaller ML, is slimmed down and strengthened up. Power comes in three choices: the entry level GL350 BlueTEC V6 utilizes Benz’s latest clean diesel technology. It rates 240 horsepower, or 30 more than last year. The GL450 and 550 models grab power from bi-turbo V8 gasoline engines, rated at 362 and 429 horses, respectively. All powertrains include 4MATIC AWD, and a 7 speed DirectSelect automatic.
Our first outings included two out of the three powertrains; we found the diesel powered 350 BlueTEC to have a goodly amount of pep in its step, thanks to 455 pound feet of torque, though power peaked a little quicker than we’d like. Stepping up, the 550 provided the long haul muscle we expected. And with a factory estimated 0-60 run in 5.5 sec, it really puts the SPORT in SUV. Both had a ride as smooth as butter and steering that got better as speeds climbed. Luxury abounds in the GL’s 7-passenger interior with a second row option that includes power assist ease of third row entry. Benz’s new radar-based Collision Prevention Assist system is standard. It warns drivers when a collision is imminent and primes the brake system for shorter stops. The 2013 GL Class is expected to arrive in September starting around $64,000 for the 350 BlueTEC and 450, and $87,000 for the 550. And we can look forward to an AMG overhaul in the form of a GL63 in early 2013.
Engine: bi-turbo V8
Price: Starting around $64,000