2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
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The Mercedes-Benz seven-passenger GL-Class gets a hefty redesign for 2013 with all-new styling inside and out. It's not just a new face; interior room and standard features have increased, plus two new turbocharged V-8 engines and a re-engineered diesel V-6 are now under the hood.
With three rows of seats standard, the GL-Class competes with flagship SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, the Infiniti QX56 and the Lexus LX 570.
All versions of the GL-Class (GL350, GL450 and GL550) are longer, wider and taller than the outgoing luxury SUV, but the GL-Class retains the same hefty profile and upright tail. Mercedes says noise levels in the GL-Class now match those of the $91,800 S-Class sedan, with a standard air suspension and available active stabilizer bars that fight body lean.
Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard. Twenties and 21s are optional, as are aluminum running boards. An optional off-road package includes skid plates, a two-stage transfer case, a locking center differential and air-suspension adjustments to render up to 12 inches of ground clearance. With the package, the GL-Class can ford nearly 2 feet of water, according to Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-Benz says occupants in all three rows have more shoulder, elbow and headroom. The new cabin shares more similarities with Mercedes-Benz sedans than the previous GL-Class. Up front, a 4.5-inch screen sits between the main gauges, while the main multimedia screen sits atop the dashboard. The Mercedes-Benz knob-based COMAND® system places a knob and shortcut keys on the center console rather than the dashboard.
Like before, the dash comes stitched in faux leather upholstery called MB-Tex. Real leather is available. The seven-passenger cabin includes a standard power-folding third row and optional power-tumbling second-row seats to access the third row. Fold all the seats and maximum cargo volume increases to 93.8 cubic feet, up 10.5 cubic feet from previous model years.
Under the Hood
The GL350, GL450 and GL550 engines have boosted output numbers for 2013 and what Mercedes-Benz calls a "substantial improvement" in fuel economy. The GL350's diesel V-6 has been tweaked for an additional 30 horsepower and 55 pounds-feet of torque over the 2012 engine.
The GL450 and GL550 now have twin-turbocharged V-8s under their hoods, with the GL450 making 362 hp — up 27 hp — and GL550 making 429 hp, up 47 hp. Indeed, at 6.2 seconds, the GL450 hits 60 mph a hair faster than the old, naturally aspirated GL550. Its turbocharged successor, meanwhile, takes just 5.5 seconds to hit the mark, Mercedes-Benz says.
A total of nine airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. So is a collision mitigation system, which tracks decreasing distances between the SUV and other cars as well as fixed objects. When a collision is detected, the system alerts drivers with audible and visual warnings and prepares brake assist to give maximum stopping effort. Also standard is an ATTENTION ASSIST® to alert sleepy drivers and Crosswind Stabilization to keep the GL-Class composed in high winds.
Optional equipment includes a blind spot warning system, a lane departure warning system and a surround-view camera. The Mercedes-Benz optional PRE-SAFE® system augments collision mitigation with automatic braking.
2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
The luxury of power. The comfort of safety. And the capacity to accommodate your life, in style. The GL-Class is more than full-size. It's more fulfilling.
The true measure of the GL-Class is found not in its grand dimensions but in the composition of its core elements. Its chiseled, muscular body derives strength from the microstructure of its high-strength steel. And from its graceful proportions to its polished stainless steel skid plates, it conveys a purity of purpose with a presence that's not just distinctive but distinguished.
From standard LED Daytime Running Lamps and taillamps to available active Bi-Xenon headlamps, the GL-Class offers advanced technology to help you see and be seen. The LED lighting helps other drivers sense your presence, or your braking actions, more immediately. And the brighter, whiter beams of the Bi-Xenon headlamps swivel as you steer, to better illuminate curving roadways.
As versatile as it is vast, the GL-Class accommodates up to seven adults or 83.3 cu ft of cargo. The 60/40-split 2nd-row seats fold flat in seconds. The 3rd row offers easy access to its generous head and foot room, or power-folds flat in a 50/50 split at the touch of a button.
The GL-Class goes to great lengths to assure that all seven of its passengers enjoy the ride. In addition to power windows in every row, a pair of sunroofs brings everyone on board a view of the sun or the stars. And both the power tilt/sliding for sunroof and the fixed panel over the third row employ heat-rejecting tinted glass, to let the blue skies in but keep the harsher elements out.
With seating for seven adults and up to 83.3 cu ft of cargo room, the GL-Class cabin is undeniably spacious. It also doesn't deny any of its passengers the richness of personal attention, with heated power front seats, multi-zone climate control and eight beverage holders. And from its hand-fitted upholstery to its expansive legroom, it's as gracious as it is generous.
The thoughtful controls of the GL-Class are as easy to enjoy as they are to use. Without taking a hand from its Premium leather rim, the multifunction steering wheel lets you adjust the audio system, use the Bluetooth® system, and even select and change gears via the elegant electronic selector and sporty paddle shifters.
A virtually endless array of listening options include an in-dash 6-DVD/CD changer and memory card reader, HD Radio™ stations, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, iPod® integration, and a 4GB Music Register for storing your digital music. An optional harman/kardon® Logic 7®® system outputs 610 watts of Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound.
With dual 7-inch LCD screens and a multitude of input options, the optional Rear Seat Entertainment system lets 2nd-row passengers watch DVD movies, attach a portable gaming console and more. And they can do it together or individually, with two pairs of headsets and wireless remotes. You can even play the sound through the vehicle's audio system, so the 3rd row can watch as well.
Dual-zone climate control filters dust, pollen and odors from the cabin air, while allowing the driver to enjoy a separate temperature zone from the rest of the cabin. An optional 3-zone system adds dedicated rear-cabin air conditioning and a rear control panel. Heated front seats are standard, while optional heated rear seats and Active Ventilated front seats further expland your choices.
Standard Burl Walnut wood trim is polished by hand to a warm glow. The available Full Leather Seating Package adds the rich feel of hand-fiitted leather not just to the seats but also to the head restraints, whose adjustable side wings add to the feeling of first-class travel. The package also includes soothing ambient lighting of the dashboard, front footwells and and doors.
Two gasoline V-8s and a remarkable clean-diesel BlueTEC® V-6 eagerly produce the mighty torque necessary for quick acceleration and a towing capacity of up to 7,500 lbs, all with certified Ultra Low Emissions. Each is teamed with a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, so you can take charge of all that power any time you want.
Standard 4MATIC® all-wheel drive integrates our 4-wheel Electronic Traction System. 4ETS® continually redistributes the engine´s torque to the wheels with the best grip, even if that´s only one wheel. And with a permanent 45:55 front/rear torque split, 4MATIC® offers sporty handling on dry roads, too.
With standard 19, 20 or 21-inch wheels and a 4-wheel independent air suspension, the GL-Class moves with unexpected agility, even under pressure. Self-leveling AIRMATIC® control adapts to changing loads and challenging roads. It lowers the ride height at higher speeds, for added stability and efficiency. Or for deep snow or ruts, the driver can raise the suspension at the touch of a button, too.