Test Drive

    14.11.2012 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC - Good Things can not be Cheap

    The latest model Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC - seven-passenger luxury SUV with an efficient diesel engine - what could be better. Few people give away an opportunity to drive this car. The expert from Autoblog Michael Harley, loaded up his family of four and headed north up famed California State Route 1 to Hearst Castle.

    Under the hood is a 3.0-liter four-valve GL350 BlueTEC direct-injected turbocharged diesel engine producing 240 hp. There is a bit of turbo lag off the line, especially when rushed, but the standard seven-speed automatic transmission does an admirable job, hustling the 2.5-ton to 60 mph in eight seconds.

    As for the fuel economy it is impressive for its size. Due to BlueTEC the engine meets EPA requirements; fuel consumption is 19 mpg city, and 26 mpg highway. During the whole trip of 655 km average fuel consumption was equal to 25.3 mpg. Fuel tank capacity is 100 liters.

    It should be noted that visibility in some situations could be better, exterior mirrors for example should be larger. Among useful systems are electronic nannies and a 360-degree camera ease maneuvering, which allows stress-free U-turns on most city streets. Excellent bi-xenon headlamps, Highbeam Assist system which recognizes the lights of oncoming vehicles, automatically switches to low beam instead of far. As well as Active Curve Illumination system takes all fear out of night driving.

    Every driver and passengers will appreciate heated, cooled and massaging seats. For the second row passengers there are their own HVAC controls. The third row has always been a GL-Class strength. Adaptive cruise control Distronic Plus ($2,800) is a must-have option.

    To sum it all up, the list of Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC gripes is small, but worthy of a mention. First of all, big iPhone interface plug for devices with protective cases. Secondly, the electronic parking brake is not intuitive (push down to set, lift to release). Third, the volume control button, located in the center console is too small for those with big fingers. Finally, the step is too high for vertically challenged passengers.

    Even though GL350 BlueTEC is the least expensive of the GL-Class models, its base price is $62,400 (plus $905 destination). Including all options the cost increases to $87,500. But, it is the world`s best seven-passenger SUV which can not be cheap, good things never do.

    In addition to GL350 BlueTEC among GL 2013 models there are: GL450, GL550 and GL63 AMG.

    GL450 with standard 4Matic all-wheel drive is powered by 4.6-liter V8 engine with Twin Turbo and direct injection producing 362 hp.

    2013 Mercedes-Benz GL550 has received a 4.5-liter V8, generating 429 hp.

    As for the modified version of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG, it is equipped with 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 providing 550 hp.

    For tuning cars fans world-famous tuning houses prepared their own versions of the Mercedes-Benz GL previous versions.

    Bulgarian tuner Vilner completely changed the interior the rear bench seat were replaced by two bucket seats, there is an iPad to the enlarged center console. Headliner is made of brown Alcantara and soundproof materials. Option package includes audio system with two subwoofers, three amplifiers, Audison audio processor and TSP equalizer.

    Brabus released GL 450 CDI version with PowerXtra D8 package. Engine power is increased by 44 hp and torque by 100.3 Nm. Thus, the power of the updated GL is 350 hp and torque - 800 Nm and maximum speed is 150 mph. Exterior and interior, can be simply called different.

    Carlsson have released Mercedes-Benz GL Grand Edition, slapping its name and logo. Both the V6 and V8 engines were upgraded, V6 power increased to 310 hp and V8 to 435 hp. As for the exterior, there is a new chrome grille, front spoiler with additional LED lights, skirt, exhaust tips and 22-inch wheels.

    MKB tuners from Germany offer their version for $294,000. But it`s worth it, the SUV is powered by V12, producing 670 hp, torque is 1200 Nm. Its 0-60 mph time is 4.4 seconds.

    Kicherer GL is equipped with 4.2-liter diesel engine CDI, generating 375 hp and 900 Nm of torque. Kircherer PowerConverter makes acceleration faster. In addition, there is Airmatic suspension and sport exhaust system with twin pipes.

    Mercedes-Benz GL MotorTrend

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