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2014 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Preview

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Pros
German engineering, diverse range of models, and engines including an AMG version.

Cons
Mercedes-Benz has its own way of doing things that is often not the same as most other manufacturers, and getting used to these systems prejudices potential buyers against the GL-Class.

Mercedes-Benz GL
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Price
Base MSRP prices:
  • GL 350 BlueTEC (diesel) 4MATIC;$74,900
  • GL 450 4MATIC;$77,100
  • GL 550 4MATIC;$99,100
  • GL 63 AMG 4MATIC;$126,400
Fuel Economy (city/highway L/100 km)
  • GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC;11.9/8.6
  • GL 450 4MATIC;15.4/10.9
  • GL 550 4MATIC;15.7/11.2
  • GL 63 AMG;15.9/11.4
Improvements and Changes
After a full redesign in 2103, the 2104 Mercedes-Benz undergoes minor changes for 2014. Climate comfort seats have been added. Second row EASY-ENTRY system is now power operated. Heated rear seats are now standard on the GL 550 4MATIC. Climate controlled cup holders are optional on all models. Splitview is optional on all models. COMMAND now has Online functionality and MB apps.

Exterior styling
Boxy, purposeful, and staid are words that come to mind when looking at the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL’s edgy design. Chrome accents highlight the grille, lower side mouldings, door handles and window trim, which all add a touch of elegance.

Inside
Bucket seats up front fit a broad range of backsides, while the second and third row seats are nearly as comfortable as the front and the movies on the 8” headrest mounted video screens (optional) tends to be more entertaining than watching traffic go by. The optional Splitview up front is not a split screen; it is actually two different views of different bits of available information. The driver, for example, can see a full-view map while the passenger scrolls through satellite radio channels on a full screen. A Bang & Olufsen stereo with 1,200 watts and 14 speakers is available.

Cargo/towing/ payload capacity
All GLs are rated for a towing capacity of 3,402 kg (7,500 lb), except the 63 AMG which is rated at 3,175 kg (7,000 lb). Storage volume behind the 3rd row seats is 295 litres, and with all seats folded down it is 2,300 litres.

Powertrain
GL 350 BlueTEC 4Matic utilizes a 24-valve, DOHC, turbo diesel that produces 240 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque.

GL 450 4MATIC and 550 4MATIC utilize a 32-valve, DOHC, 4.6L biturbo V8 that produces 362 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque in the GL 450 that gets pumped up to 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque in the GL 550.
The 63 AMG utilizes a 5.4L, DOHC, 32-valve, biturbo V8 elevated to 550 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque.

All GL-Class models use a 7-speed automatic with permanent AWD and a manual mode for shifting.

Safety
Dual front, front side impact, full-length side curtain, and a driver’s side knee airbag are all standard. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, traction control, stability control, roll over mitigation, and brake force distribution are standard. Three-point lap belts, child-proof rear door locks, pinch protection on power windows, and the LATCH system to anchor child seats are standard. Blind spot and lane departure assists are standard. Night view assist is optional.

Comparables
Infiniti QX 80, Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, BMW X 5, Lexus LX, Lincoln Navigator.