New Car Reviews

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 – An American S-Class

Long-Term 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Update: Spring 2013 Array Miles to date: 0

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the global-summit delivery vehicle for diplomats and business leaders from around the world. Here in the land of the SUV, however, we need something bigger and taller to fit our collective driving psyche. The GL-class is our S-class, able to comfortably and luxuriously transport up to seven adults across vast Montana ranches or along Wall Street.

This is the first model year for the second-generation GL, which explains why we added the luxury SUV to our Four Seasons fleet. Unlike the homegrown Cadillac Escalade, the GL rides on a unibody platform, derived from the smaller M-class and stretched to accommodate three rows of seats. We chose the middle of three models, the GL450, at a $1500 premium over the “base” GL350 Bluetec turbo-diesel. The GL550 is a step up, adding equipment and boosting the GL450’s 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8 by 67 hp for another $23K. The bat-guano-crazy GL63 AMG, with a 550-hp, 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8, was added to the lineup most recently and comes with a sticker price of $117,830. Cue Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”

Key standard equipment for our steel gray (a $720 paint option) GL450 includes height-adjustable air suspension, nineteen-inch aluminum wheels, a power sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a CD/DVD player, a power liftgate, heated front seats, roof rails, and the Mbrace2 wireless connection, which includes a trial subscription.

We added a $1620 black leather interior (MB-Tex, Benz’s euphemism for “vinyl,” is standard), along with a panoramic sunroof ($1090), a heated steering wheel ($225), a trailer hitch ($550), blind-spot monitoring with lane-keeping assist ($850), a parking assistance package ($1290), and a lighting package with active xenon headlamps ($1290). The $5850 Premium 2 package adds (take a deep breath) auto-dimming sideview mirrors, navigation, voice control, Harman Kardon surround-sound audio, SiriusXM satellite radio with a six-month subscription, multicolor interior ambient lighting, illuminated front doorsills, soft-close doors, and keyless entry and ignition. By bravely foregoing massaging seats and an appearance package, we kept the bottom line to $78,290.

Is it worth $100 fill-ups at the gas station to have all this in the S-class of SUVs? We’ve got four seasons to find out.


  • Base price (with dest.) $64,805
  • Price as tested $78,290
  • Body Style 4-door crossover
  • Accommodation 7-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody


  • 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
  • Transmission 7-speed automatic
  • Drive Four-wheel
  • Fuel Economy 14/19/16 (city/hwy/combined)


  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • 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 4×4 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
  • Wheelbase 121.1 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 5401 lb
  • 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
  • Panoramic sunroof $1090
  • Heated steering wheel $225
  • Trailer hitch $550
  • 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