Built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the GL-Class is as close to an Americanized Mercedes-Benz as possible. It is the biggest SUV manufactured by the German automaker, with three rows and lots of cargo space in the rear. The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class was introduced in 2006 as a full-size luxury crossover SUV. In the company’s list of models, the GL-Class is slotted above the slightly smaller M-Class SUV, and both models share a lot of similarities with each other.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class introduces a new generation with bigger dimensions and all new set of features. Here is a look at the new second-generation GL-Class and whether it offers the same comfort and luxury as its predecessor.
New For 2013
Longer, wider, and taller, the GL-class is all-new for 2013. Mercedes is offering more power, more features, and more luxury, but the GL’s role is essentially unchanged, serving as the largest, most capable hauler in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. With the demise of the R-class this year, the GL is the brand’s only three-row people mover.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is available in four models- GL350, GL450, GL550, and a performance-enhanced GL63 AMG. All three models are bigger in length, width, and height than their first generation counterparts.
Despite the bigger dimensions, the new GL-Class is actually more than 200 pounds lighter than the previous version, thanks to some smart engineering. Moreover, it retains the same large and hefty profile and upright tail that got people hooked to it before.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the new GL-Class also has lower noise levels that are comparable to its S-Class sedan. It has an air suspension system as a standard, along with optional active stabilizer bars.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels as standard and 20-inch and 21-inch alloys as optional features along with aluminum running boards.
An off-road package is available for the SUV that adds protective skid plates, a two-stage transfer case, an adjusted air suspension system for 12 inches of ground clearance, and a locking center differential. According to Mercedes-Benz, this optional package can make the GL-Class capable of going through two feet of water.
Interior & Cargo
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a great family car, especially when going for long drives or road trips. The third row seats are spacious enough for adults to sit comfortably, which is a rarity among other similarly sized SUVs. Entry and exit is relatively easy to and from the third row, but it gets easier with the optional power easy-entry second row.
What is even more impressive about the GL-Class is that it offers good cargo capacity despite having three spacious rows of seats for adult passengers. Like any other good Mercedes-Benz model, the GL-Class also comes with a number of features to keep everyone comfortable, including a panoramic sunroof, dual-screen entertainment system, and heated seats. The front seats get the maximum comfort features, with optional ventilation and massage chairs. Even the standard seats offer the perfect mix of comfort and support.
The build quality and materials used are of the usual high standard that Mercedes-Benz sets for itself. The base model may have standard vinyl upholstery, but even that feels a lot like real leather and proves to be easier to maintain. The actual leather upholstery is much better-looking, of course, and is available in several different shades.
Overall, the features available in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class are very similar to those in the company’s flagship S-Class sedan. This includes the very well-made COMAND interface that consists of a large central touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted controls, multifunction knob, and dashboard buttons. It offers so much functionality that it can be difficult to figure out at first, but it works very well over time.
The maximum cargo capacity of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is 93.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. This is one of the best cargo capacity figures in crossover SUVs.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, active front head restraints, driver knee airbag, and full-length side curtain airbags. It also has an Attention Assist system with a driver alertness monitor.
The vehicle is available with the mbrace2 emergency communication system which provides on-demand roadside assistance, automatic crash notification, and an alert when another driver overshoots the user-selected speed or boundary. Optional safety features include a lane departure and blind spot warning system.
A twin-turbocharged, 4.7-liter, V-8 engine that delivers 362 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque powers the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450. It goes from zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds, which is quite fast for a crossover SUV.
The GL550 gets an even more powerful version of the engine that delivers 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. It touches the 60 mph mark in 5.4 seconds. With the right equipment, all GL-Class models can tow up to 7,500 pounds.
The GL63 AMG that gets a twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter, V-8 engine that delivers 550 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque, however, offers the best performance. It reaches 60 mph from standstill in just 4.8 seconds.
These figures paint a clear picture of just how fast the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is. Even with the least powerful engine, this SUV powers ahead with confidence, and stays firm to the ground without losing any stability. With the adjustable air suspension, the GL-Class feels even more commanding.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
- Audi Q7
- BMW X5
- Infiniti QX56
- Lexus LX570