- Well-tailored sheetmetal
- Plenty of interior room, even in back
- Sophisticated interior
- Strong off-road capability
- Gas engines have poor fuel economy
The 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a superior sport-ute with lots of room and power.
New in 2007, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class sport-utility vehicle is a terrific, and terrifically expensive, sport-ute with three rows of seating, a pleasingly crisp shape, a luxurious interior, and real off-road capability.
Three engines are available in the big Mercedes-Benz GL. The starter V-8 is a 4.7-liter, with 335 horsepower and 13/18 mpg fuel economy. Next up is the 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 in the GL550. It delivers a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 7.4 seconds and fuel economy of 13/17 mpg. Last up is the diesel-powered GL320 CDI, which has 210 hp and ekes out 18/24 mpg fuel economy. A seven-speed automatic is standard across the board.
Handling is very well balanced in this full-size sport-utility vehicle. The air suspension is damped with ride comfort in mind, but the Mercedes-Benz GL still steers with precision and has strong brakes. A little less rocking motion side to side would improve on the good on- and off-road manners. In terms of off-road gear, the GL has standard four-wheel drive, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, and a load-leveling suspension system. It can be ordered with an Off-Road package that includes Class IV hitch, adaptive-damping suspension system, underbody skid plates, and locking differentials. Its maximum tow rating is 7,500 pounds.
The tailored cabin has front-row seats with loads of foot and shoulder room. Adults will be comfortable in the second row--and even in the third row, which also folds itself out of sight at the touch of a button. Other features power rear tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, multizone climate control, a DVD navigation system, a DVD rear-seat entertainment system, 19-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, and an upgraded surround-sound audio system.
First- and second row-side-impact and full-row curtain airbags are standard, as are stability control, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and active headrests designed to limit potential injuries from whiplash.