After sparking controversy over the smoothness (or not) of its ride, then performing hero duty by towing copy editor Rusty Blackwell's new 1979 Triumph Dolomite from Scuderia Kitman, our Four Seasons Mercedes-Benz GL450 is settling into a second-quarter funk. This is the point where arguments about the good and bad points of a car or truck start to wind down, and we talk instead about what it's like to change radio stations, pair our phone, and drop off our kids during the daily commute. This time of year, we also typically wax poetic on how this big, luxury sport-utility vehicle transported everything we own and all of our dogs to that remote summer vacation cabin in the Upper Peninsula.
If only summertime livin' was that easy.
It began innocently enough, when Blackwell discovered that the third-row seat in our luxury SUV has lower LATCH anchors for his kids' seats.
"That's a rare boon to parents of young kids," he says, "especially outside of the minivan realm. Usually, there are only top tethers in the wayback for the last row, and parents skin their knuckles fishing the regular seatbelts through the tiny slots in the baby seats."
The problem is that the power-folding third-row seat has been operating much slower than it should. "When you attempt raising or lowering the seats, it sounds something like a roller coaster ascending the first big hill," our copy editor adds.
Blackwell dropped the GL at our local Mercedes dealer to fix the problem, and while he was there asked the service department to look at the front center console's powerpoint, which also wasn't working.
The dealer changed the oil as part of the regular maintenance, which included a full vehicle inspection. The total out-of-pocket cost was $238.55. The service department also replaced the fuse and adjusted the pins for the front powerpoint at no cost. As for the power-operated third-row seat, the dealer's service department diagnosed the problem as a motor with stripped gears and ordered parts.
However, almost as soon as we got the GL back, there was a new problem. The radio stopped working.
Jake Holmes was next to drive the GL, accompanied only by the hum of the 362-horsepower, 4.7L twin-turbocharged V-8. He also complained that the car had a cracked windshield and its interior was filled with towels, batteries, and sand-covered floor mats.
"And yet, when I picked up a friend last night, his first words, before even hello, were 'Wow, this is a nice car.' "
The new third-row motor is on order, as is a new windshield. When the parts come in, the service department will tackle the radio.
|Base price (with dest.)||$64,805|
|Price as tested||$78,290|
|Body Style||4-door crossover|
|Engine||32-valve DOHC twin-turbocharged V-8|
|Displacement||4.7 liters (285 cu in)|
|Power||362 hp @ 5000 rpm|
|Torque||406 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||14/19/16 (city/hwy/combined)|
|Turns lock-to-lock||2.9 turns|
|Turning circle||40.7 ft|
|Suspension, Front||Control arms, coil springs|
|Suspension, Rear||Multilink, coil springs|
|Brakes F/R||Vented disc/disc|
|Wheels||19-inch aluminum alloy|
|Tires||Continental 4x4 Contact|
|Tire Size||275/45R-19 111H|
|Headroom F/M/R||41.2/40.0/38.9 in|
|Legroom F/M/R||40.3/38.5/35.0 in|
|Shoulder Room F/M/R||58.5/58.3/50.5 in|
|Track F/R||64.8/65.5 in|
|L x W x H||201.6 x 84.3 x 72.8 in|
|Passenger Capacity||143.6 cu ft|
|Cargo Capacity||16.0/49.4/93.8 cu ft|
|Weight dist. F/R||TBD|
|Fuel Capacity||26.4 gal|
|Est. Range||425 miles|
|Fuel Grade||91 octane (premium unleaded)|
|Standard Equipment||Height-adjustable air suspension 19-inch aluminum wheels Power sunroof Rain-sensing windshield wipers Rearview camera Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity CD/DVD player Power liftgate Heated front seats Automatic dual-zone climate control MB-Tex-trimmed interior Flat-folding second- and third-row seats 115V power outlet Roof rails Rear window wiper and washer Automatic headlights Collision prevention assist LED taillights and DRLs Mbrace2 w/trial subscription|
|Steel Grey paint||$720|
|Black leather interior||$1620|
|Heated steering wheel||$225|
|Blind spot monitoring system and lane-keeping assist||$850|
|Parking assist package||$1290||Front and rear parking assist Active parking assist Multi-view camera system|
|Lighting package||$1290||Active xenon headlights Adaptive high-beam assist Headlight washers|
|Premium 2 package||$5850||Auto-dimming, power-folding exterior mirrors Comand w/navigation MB Apps Voice control SiriusXM satellite radio w/6-month trial subscription Front seat memory Multi-color interior ambient lighting Front illuminated door sills Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system Keyless entry and ignition Soft-close doors Lockable rear storage compartment|