2008 Mercedes-Benz GL Class Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 29, 2008

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a superior sport-ute with lots of room and power.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors researched a wide range of road tests of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class to write this definitive review. TheCarConnection.com’s resident experts also drove the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class to help you decide which reviews to trust where opinions differ, and to add more impressions and details and provide you with the best information.

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.

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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.

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