Until now, Mercedes-Benz's lineup included a couple of SUVs and the new R-class crossover, but none of its vehicles accommodated seven passengers-a shortcoming that clearly interfered with the automaker's plan to compete in practically every market niche. (We should see the tri-pointed star on a unicycle soon.)
Enter the three-row GL450. Not surprisingly, it drives almost identically to the M-class on which it is primarily based. The steering is light and smooth; no thumps or crashes mar the ride; and the quiet, comfortable, well-appointed cabin seals out road noise. Air springs are optional on the M-class, but here they're standard equipment, and they help keep body roll to a minimum. Under hard acceleration or braking, however, the GL pitches forward and back like a headbanging teenager. It doesn't help that the brakes take a good jab before they engage.
Very little of the 4.6-liter V-8's rumblings make their way inside this unibody SUV. An estimated 0-to-60-mph time of 7.4 seconds demonstrates the 5249-pound truck's get-up-and-go, but, nevertheless, the GL feels slow-and it certainly won't get any livelier when you ask it to pull 7500 pounds, its maximum tow rating. However, a more powerful variant, the GL550, will be released in about a year if the GL450 sells well. Wisely, Mercedes plans no AMG version.... Read full article