Outstanding gas and diesel engines; sumptuous interior with all the toys; adult-friendly third row; excellent highway manners; real off-road capability with optional equipment
Massive size isn't for everyone; some expected luxuries (such as keyless entry/start) cost extra; aging design about to be updated
The GL is unchanged for 2016, pending a revised GLS model due out for the 2017 model year. See the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class models for sale near you
While there's something tempting about the big power of the GL550 and GL 63 AMG versions, real-world demands make the GL350 BlueTEC the one we'd order. It's attractively priced and remarkably fuel efficient for such a big rig. Find a Mecedes-Benz GL-Class for sale
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class comes in four variants, from a (relatively) modest clean-diesel model to an over-the-top high-performance AMG version.
The GL350 BlueTEC ($65,000) includes amenities such as an AIRMATIC air suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, LED running lights and taillights, aluminum roof rails, a power lift gate, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette (MB-Tex) upholstery, power front seats with adjustable driver lumbar support, power-folding third-row seats, a 4.5-in color driver information display, Bluetooth and the COMAND infotainment system with a 7-in display, a USB audio port and an SD-card reader.
Opt for the GL450 ($66,600), and you'll get essentially the same features. The twin-turbo gasoline V6 under the hood is the main difference.
The GL550 ($91,300) obviously costs a whole lot more, and in return you get the 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8, plus standard adaptive suspension dampers, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, 21-in AMG alloy wheels, power-closing doors, keyless entry/start, a wood-and-leather steering wheel, top-stitched dashboard trim, upgraded wood inlays, 3-zone climate control, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, multicontour front seats with massage functions, auto-dimming mirrors (with exterior power folding), a power adjustable steering column, driver memory settings, a navigation system, voice controls and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with digital music storage.
Most of the GL550's extra standard features can be added to the GL350 BlueTEC or GL450 as options.
The GL 63 AMG ($120,900) goes all out with the 5.5-liter V8, plus an AMG body kit, a roll-resistant suspension system (dubbed the Active Curve System), performance brakes, a sport exhaust, a panoramic sunroof, illuminated running boards, a sport steering wheel, sport front seats and various exclusive AMG interior flourishes.
The GL 63's panoramic sunroof and active suspension can be added to lesser models. Optional across the GL-Class line are a heated steering wheel, power second-row easy entry and a rear-seat entertainment system with twin LCD monitors. The GL450 and GL550 are eligible for an unusual On/Off-Road package that includes a 6-mode driving program selector with an increased maximum ride height, a 2-speed transfer case with low-range gearing and front underbody protection.
|Basic||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
2016 Cadillac Escalade -- Think of the Escalade as the GL's boisterous American cousin. It's a relatively cheap date, and you'll have a lot of fun inside its plush, well-appointed cabin.
2016 Infiniti QX80 -- Based on the capable Nissan Patrol SUV produced for overseas markets, the QX80 is a legitimate off-roader with a luxurious interior, clad with distinctive (and controversial) exterior styling.
2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport -- The Range Rover Sport offers similar pricing to the GL, though it isn't as large or as lumbering to drive. It does now include third-row seating, however, and it offers more modern styling.
Used Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 Wagon -- The GL-Class is basically at the top of the SUV pyramid, so if you're looking for a used alternative, how about a certified pre-owned example of the world's wildest station wagon? The AMG E63's track-ready handling puts the GL to shame, and its practical interior offers much of the SUV's functionality.