Mercedes-Benz GL Class

Research the Mercedes-Benz GL Class SUV

The Good

Brimming with luxury features the Mercedes-Benz name is famous for, the 2012 GL Class SUV offers superior handling, performance and comfort, all in a stylish and ingeniously designed package.

The Bad

Other than the somewhat cramped third-row seating, the chief drawback of the Mercedes-Benz GL Class luxury SUV is its price tag, which continues to inch up further and further.

The Bottom Line

If you can absorb the relatively high cost of a Mercedes-Benz luxury SUV, you won’t be disappointed. The GL Class has one of the highest rates of customer satisfaction in the industry.


The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL Class SUV is available in three different trims: the 4MATIC 3.0L BlueTec (GL350), the 4MATIC 4.6L (GL450) and the 4MATIC 5.5L (GL550). If you’re looking for a vehicle at the lower end of the pricing range, stick with the 4MATIC 3.0L BlueTec Mercedes-Benz GL Class diesel SUV; it’s also the best on gas. The 4.6L and 5.5L models have more powerful engines, but diminished fuel economy and higher price tags.

MSRP: $61,570 to $85,300

Average paid: $60,665 (4MATIC 3.0L BlueTec)


Acceleration and power

The performance capabilities of the GL Class SUVs vary considerable among the three different available models. The GL350 has a 3.0L V6 engine that produces 210 horsepower and 400 ft/lb of torque, while the GL450’s 4.6L V8 engine peaks at 335 horsepower and 339 lb/ft of torque. Finally, the top-of-the-line GL550 has a powerful 5.5L V8 engine that bangs out 382 horsepower and 391 ft/lb of torque. The GL550’s muscular V8 engine is capable of propelling the vehicle from a full stop to 60 miles per hour in just under 6 seconds, and all three models display excellent pickup and perform extremely well in highway driving conditions.

Handling and braking

Virtually every Mercedes-Benz GL Class review has raved about the vehicle’s outstanding handling. Though it is a full-sized luxury SUV in the same class as the notoriously bulky Lincoln

Navigator and Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes’ GL Class line of SUVs handle like much smaller vehicles. Excellent cornering ability, class-leading stability and smoothness, and a feather-soft suspension all provide the kind of luxurious ride you would expect from this famed German automaker.

The 4-wheel disc braking system combines all-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic assist technology for enhanced safety, and is standard on all three GL Class models.



All three models offer standard seating for seven passengers in a 2-3-2 configuration. The two third-row seats are located in the vehicle’s cargo bay, and while they are fully functional, they are a little cramped and are best for child passengers. Every GL Class has seat belt pre-tensioners for every seat in the vehicle, and leather is the standard seating material in the GL550 and optional on the GL350 and GL450. The second- and third-row seats are collapsible if you need to make extra room to transport cargo in the rear of the vehicle.


Standard features on all three models include the Mercedes-Benz PreSafe system, theft tracking and alarm system and keyless entry. The GL350 and GL450 come with an 8-speaker stereo with CD and MP3 capability, and the GL550 has an 11-speaker CD/MP3 sound system that comes with Sirius satellite radio. If you have young children, you may want to opt for the rear-seat DVD entertainment system, which is a packaged option on all three models. Other features which are standard on the GL550 but optional on the other two models include an electronic parking assistant, navigation system and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Cargo space

The vehicle’s cargo space can be maximized by collapsing the second-row and third-row seats. Doing this creates a maximum cargo storage capacity of 83.3 cubic feet. Concealed cargo storage and cargo tie-down nets are standard on all three GL Class models.


Mercedes-Benz offers class-leading safety features on its vehicles. The GL Class offers airbags for all passengers, as well as an adaptive variable suspension, all-wheel drive, stability control, traction control, automatic leveling, tire pressure monitoring and electronic brake assistance. Child safety door locks, side guard door beams and a built-in alarm are also standard on all models.


Introduced in 2007, the GL Class replaced Mercedes-Benz’s outdated G Class SUV, and the 2012 model has not undergone any drastic changes in design or features. The only difference lies in what is offered in terms of standard and optional features on the various trim packages. Many Mercedes-Benz GL Class reviews note that these SUVs compare favorably to other vehicles in its class, thanks to a cavernous interior but a driving experience more akin to a smaller, sportier vehicle.

  • Transmission: 7-speed automatic with overdrive
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Engine Type: Varies; see below (Performance section)
  • Engine Size: Varies; see below (Performance section)
  • Horsepower: Varies; see below (Performance section)
  • Torque: Varies; see below (Performance section)
  • MPG, City: 12-17 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 18-21 MPG
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