Mercedes GL-Class is the full-size luxury SUV model first introduced in 2006 and has been very successful to date.Big, solid and luxurious, the latest GL350 is handsome, superbly engineered and made with typical Mercedes-Benz thoroughness. Its exterior design is conservative and tastefully elegant, rather than showy – something that appeals to its well-heeled buyers who value taste and pedigree. There are four GL models from Mercedes-Benz, and it is the diesel powered GL 350 BlueTEC starting at $74,900 we tested for this review.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC is equipped with a 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel engine that produces 240 horsepower and an impressive 455 lb-ft of torque. For such a large vehicle, it is a power plant that makes total sense.
The cabin of the GL350 is a luxurious offering a mix of high quality leather seats, wood metal or wood trim and high quality trim and fittings. Good visibility and comfort is much in evidence. The as-standard equipment spec on the GL350 is very high with every possible creature feature. Meanwhile, options include: Premium Pkg. ($4,500) inc.: door and hatch closing assist, heated middle row seats, multimedia control centre with DVD changer and navigation system, Panoramic sunroof, harman/kardon surround sound system, keyless entry with push-button start, portable media interface; Sport Pkg. ($2,900) inc.: AMG Styling and 21-inch wheels, aluminum running boards; Adaptive Damping System (ADS); Driving Assistance Pkg. ($800) inc.: lane keeping assist, blind spot assist.
Back to the cabin and legroom and headroom are very exceptional in part due to the GL’s tall profile. Both the front and second row seats are heated and offer plenty of hip and shoulder room.
The rear cabin is also roomy with good access to the second-row bench seat which is well cushioned. The third row seat section always a weak point in most SUV’s equipped with it is fairly good sized and accessed by tumbling the second row and flipping the seat bottom forward. The third row seat is also power-folding with the touch of a button. It also splits in a 50/50 format, allowing for a flat-floored cargo area. With all seats up the GL can store 295 Litres of cargo and with all seats down, an impressive 2,300 Litres of space is available.
On the road the GL 350 BlueTEC’s excellent V6 turbo-diesel engine is a quiet, powerful unit and provides most of its more usable torque from the 1,600 to 2,400 rpm range. Transport Canada fuel economy ratings are 10.9 L/100 km city and 7.6 highway.
Mercedes’ AIRMATIC air suspension system delivers a comfortable ride on all surfaces even when encountering rough potholed roads. Meanwhile, the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission is smooth and can be manually controlled via paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Easy handling and light steering also make the GL 350 a delight to drive around town. and thanks to the high tech 360-degree camera view. Parktronic and Active parking assist allow the GL to handle tight manoeuvres with ease. Safety is a high point with multiple safety systems such as lane-departure warning via a vibration in the steering wheel to front crash sensors and a blind-spot detection system.
Visibility is excellent thanks to the big windows and auto dimming mirrors all around which combined with blind spot assist and lane keeping assist offer a high safety margin, As an example of just how much safety technology there is, the GL350’s Attention Assist system monitors the driver’s fatigue level and sounds a visual and audible alarm if it judges the driver is too drowsy. In addition there is the aforementioned parking assist system, hill-descent control for varied terrain and tire pressure monitoring. Airbag technology includes a system for the the front passenger seat that has a weight sensing system to deploy the airbags with appropriate force depending on the size of the front seat passenger.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL may be a rather expensive, but is well worth the money, if only the best will do. It is beautifully built and engineered with excellent safety, driving manners and a high level of safety technology. One of the best possible ways to drive your family around.
2014 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC priced from $74,900