The Mercedes GL-Class was first thought of in 2003. Intended to be the company’s vehicle for those note quite satisfied with the R-Class or the M-Class, the GL-Class is also the company’s response to replacing the G-Wagen The GL-Class’ size also corresponds to car owners in need of an SUV that’s bigger than the ML model. Thus the GL-Class was conceived to address these needs, competing along side the Lincoln Navigators and Cadillac Escalades. The GL-Class was finally launched in 2006, but this did not stop production of the G-Wagen as an old favorite. Instead the GL was released as an additional model to its range.
The GL-Class vehicle sports no-nonsense styling that suits its large size. The overall design follows through with the familiar look of the R-Class luxury MPV and M-Class. The GL sports jeep-type lines that match the vehicle’s target market. The slick headlamp design and the Merc grille soften the GL’s bulky and large look. Other softening elements include the tinted privacy glass.
Three rows of passengers are accommodated in the GL and the roofline makes enough headroom such a number. All seats are wide enough for comfort, even all the way in the third row. The boot capacity is also more than adequate at 200-litres; the space is just as generous when the rear seats are unfolded. The sloping roof and C-Pillar is also able to cover up mistaking the GL for a van.
The interior is well made in quality and in craft, but doesn’t stand out since it only follows Mercedes’ mid-2000s design. The centre console features a large sat-nav screen and a column-mounted gear selector. The entire console, however, leaves enough space for cupholders.
The interior is just as attractive, exuding brightness and a spacious airiness via the large glass area and the conventional proportions of the vehicle. The leather front chairs are all electrically adjustable. You can sit comfortably by the side window that extends below the shoulder until above the head height. Seven adults can fit comfortably into the interior, without any feeling any discomfort. There’s more than enough leg and headroom for everyone. Seats can be folded by simply pressing a button if you need more cargo space. If you’re lugging in extra baggage, the middle row can be flipped to accommodate a maximum of 2300 litres and a length more than 2100mm in length. Other added baggage accommodations include a few shopping bag hooks plus a load bay cover on the rear or middle row seats.
The GL-Class only comes with two engines: the V6 turbo diesel at 261bhp and 457lb ft or the G500 at 382bhp and 391lb ft. The V6 is tagged with GL350 BlueEfficiency and arrives at 60mph in 7.9 seconds. But you’ll end up preferring the V8 thanks to its faster sprint at 6.5 seconds; however such a number is useless compared to the 350 CDI’s delivery of torque from 1600rpm to 2800 rpm. Both these engines come with the 7G-Tronic Plus autobox that works best when in Drive mode. Considering the GL’s capacity for a large crowd and luggage, expect the engine performance to be slightly subdued for fully loaded journeys.
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