When we last left off with our Four Seasons Mercedes-Benz GL450, the big beast was hurting. The radio had quit working, the motors for the power-folding third-row seats had stripped gears, and the windshield was cracked. Putting the GL back together again was a top priority, as we were in peak vacation season.
First, the power third-row seats were put right, with new motors having arrived at the dealership. A warranty repair, this work was done at no cost.
Next, the radio. This turned out to be a big job, as the audio system runs off a moss ring, rather than being hardwired. A moss-ring system relies on all parts working together, so if one part goes down, it can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix. The system's control module is under the driver's seat; its fuse panel is under the passenger seat. Both came out. It turned out there was an internal fault in the amplifier that caused a fuse to blow. A new amplifier fixed the problem, and we have tunes again! Another no-cost warranty repair, although the car was out of commission for several days.
Finally, the windshield. This one we had to pay for: $942.53. That includes $8.75 for a "Mercedes-Benz" sticker. After all, it's important to that factory look, right down to the last detail. We wouldn't want some far-in-the-future owner to lose points at Pebble Beach.
With Humpty Dumpty back together again, we were again enjoying the decadent luxury of a high-power, high-dollar SUV. "A big SUV is always welcome on open roads," wrote associate editor Greg Migliore. "It feels commanding. You can see over people and use the V-8 engine to blast by them." The GL450's turbocharged, 4.7-liter V-8 churns out 406 pound-feet of torque at only 1500 rpm, so blasting by slower traffic comes pretty easily.
Overall, Migliore found the GL to be "a handsome SUV that drives with attitude." But its recent troubles left him just a little leery: "Hopefully, it can stay in one piece…."
Yes, indeed, since the big Mercedes has a lot more vacation miles ahead of it, including an extended stay in New York.