Advertisement

Why ads?
Go

2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review

By

One look at the luxury import segment and you see – very quickly – the preponderance of growth in the SUV category. While the M-Class has certainly enjoyed its share of success, its reception was hampered by the lack of a third-row seat at launch and, once a third row was finally introduced, the marginal comfort and accessibility of that seating did not impress buyers. Because many consumers required a larger vehicle, Mercedes-Benz created the GL-Class, a seven-passenger SUV with surprisingly modest exterior dimensions and host of engine choices including a 50-state legal diesel. With the GL, consumers retain the same sporty character and luxurious trappings of the M-Class, but in a slightly more expensive package offering far better utility.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want the benefits of Mercedes-Benz engineering, German build quality, American-style accommodations and the optional availability of a fuel-efficient turbo-diesel engine, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL delivers in spades.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If third-row seating is not a requirement, you can get much of the same performance and luxury from the smaller M-Class. Those seeking a bit more exterior flash may be happier in a Cadillac Escalade or, if money is not object, a Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

What's New for 2009

The GL320 CDI is replaced by the GL320 BlueTEC, which is available in all 50 states. Mercedes-Benz's PRE-SAFE occupant protection system and a new radio head unit are made standard on all trims, while the GL550 receives Keyless Go as standard equipment.

Driving the GL-Class

Driving Impressions Subjected to highly variable road conditions, including some fairly aggressive on-road twists and turns and an equally aggressive off-road experience, the GL450 handled itself with grace, especially when equipped with...

the standard air suspension and optional adaptive damping. Despite almost 5,300 pounds of curb weight and an overall length right around 200 inches, the GL450 drives like a much smaller, significantly lighter SUV. Response from the 4.6-liter DOHC V8 is great, made more so by the excellent seven-speed automatic transmission. The GL450 can handle anything an owner with payments remaining would care to give it. It may not be quite as off-road capable as a comparably priced Range Rover, but we like its balance between on-road practicality and off-road capability.

Adaptive Damping System
The GL's air suspension can constantly react to road surface variations, with an ability to change shock absorber settings 20 times per second. If the road is smooth, the system delivers relatively softer shock absorber action and a smooth ride; if the road gets bad, the shock absorbers become more firm for increased control. The result is an SUV with a comfortable ride when you want it and appropriately more responsive handling when you need it.

BlueTEC V6 Diesel Engine
Emissions guidelines kept the old GL320 CDI from being sold in all 50 states, but the new BlueTEC clean diesel not only clears the stringent NOx bar, it can cruise nearly 600 miles on a single tank of fuel.

2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Details
2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class photo Interior

The GL's bucket seats are well-shaped and supportive. The driver is fronted by a four-spoke steering wheel and what Mercedes-Benz describes as a "sport-oriented" instrument panel. The horizontal grab handles on the console are notable, alluding – both aesthetically and functionally – to the GL's off-road capability. We remain undecided regarding the shift lever being mounted to the steering column; it does provide for a clean, uninterrupted console, but is less-than-intuitive in its operation. To its credit, the design team has provided reasonably easy access to the third row and generous headroom throughout the interior.

Exterior

With the 2009 GL-Class, Mercedes-Benz hits all the right exterior notes. In profile, the GL is very well-proportioned, disguising its overall length (200.3 inches) with short overhangs, an aggressive windshield angle, generous greenhouse, flared wheel arches (similar to the S-Class) and careful detailing. The traditional Mercedes-Benz face is framed by high-tech halogen headlamps; optional bi-xenon lamps include a swiveling feature for additional visibility in turns. Privacy glass covers both the "B" and "C" pillars, giving the appearance of one uninterrupted glass panel along the entire side of the vehicle. It is, from any angle, a highly unified design.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

With assembly in Alabama, the GL-Class – like both the M-Class and R-Class – is value-driven. That's reflected in a long list of standard equipment, where several items are notable. Passive safety is addressed with two-stage front airbags for front-seat occupants, side airbags for both first- and second-row seats and side-curtain airbags spanning all three rows. Audiophiles will enjoy a standard in-dash six-disc CD changer, auxiliary input for MP3 players and Bluetooth connectivity. Those living in the sunbelt should appreciate the rear (stationary) sunroof with shade, while inhabitants of the snowbelt will benefit from standard full-time four-wheel drive. The GL550 adds 21-inch wheels, a rearview camera, running boards, full leather interior, Keyless Go, Parktronic park assist, heated rear seats and the harman/kardon LOGIC7 sound system.

Optional Equipment

Despite all that is standard, the GL's extensive list of options won't disappoint feature-oriented consumers. Driving in congested areas is a good argument for Distronic, Mercedes-Benz's adaptive cruise control. For occupants not in the front seats, the rear-seat entertainment system should provide plenty of entertainment. Offerings also include SIRIUS Real Time Traffic, DVD navigation, heated second-row seating, a rear-view back-up camera and a Class-IV trailer hitch to complement the GL's 7,500-pound tow rating.

Under the Hood

There are three engine options for the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. The GL320 BlueTEC employs a powerful yet fuel-efficient 3.0-liter direct-injection turbo-diesel V6. With plenty of low-end torque for quick acceleration, the GL320 delivers an impressive 23 miles per gallon in highway driving. The GL450 is powered by a marvelous 4.6-liter V8. If, as advertised, the GL450 represents "more Mercedes to love," then this new V8 is more performance to adore. With four valves per cylinder, the engine delivers a seamless 335 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque and, more impressively, delivers that power and torque over a broad engine speed range. The powerhouse 5.5-liter V8 in the GL550 cranks out 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. Connecting the smooth power to all four wheels is a seven-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission.

3.0-liter V6 Turbo Diesel
210 horsepower @ 3800 rpm
398 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23

4.6-liter V8
335 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
339 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18

5.5-liter V8
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 167 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.0/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Fantastic vehicle

By on Saturday, July 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and love the power 335hp. very smooth"

Cons: "The nav is not that user friendly"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"It is a very powerful smooth riding quiet machine. Handles like a dream in the snow, best all wheel drive system of any car that I have owned. Would highly recommend it."

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Drives like a dream, nothing better for hwy trips

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "gteat drive"

Cons: "maintenance is expensive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Car handles and drives almost by itself. we take on extended trips and 500-700 mile days do not leave you worn out. I am 65 and my wife is 21 on wait she is 59. we love this car."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Best I ever owned

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "strong good ride"

Cons: "consumes too much gasoline"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"comfortable SUV gas =17 in town 20 on hwy nothing ever broken perfect paint some rubber parts around switches got soft when aged."

2 people out of 7 found this review helpful

This is a great suv...

By on Monday, April 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great power, easy to drive, will cruise at 100mph.... The diesel has extra power, great fuel, lots of power out of the hole. The wife drives it everyday... all day... no problems. Best SUV we ever had"

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Classy & Sporty Soccer Mom Car!!!

By on Thursday, March 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, reliable, really good on long trips."

Cons: "navigation for this model is not voice command"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Needs a new home!

"I love this truck! It looks like a monster of a machine but drives as smooth as a sedan!! During the day it was my grocery shopping car, my drive the kids & their friends to the mall car, my soccer, ballet, baseball game car and my family day car. I've even driven it ON the beach down the shore of NC. Amazing! When weekends came... I would wash all the gunk from inside and outside the truck from all of my daily chores and kids hobbies. After a wash it turns into a (pumpkin) sleek, classy, and shiny. Awesome girls night out truck! Kids are all grown up and I am heart broken to downsize. -__- The most reliable car ever!"

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Needs a new home!

Most unreliable vehicle I ever had

By on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: unreliable

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This is a wonderful vehicle to travel with. Very comfortable on long distances and, with it's large fuel tank and very good fuel economy stops can be made when you chose rather than when you have to. However, traveling becomes less fun when the car needs multiple visits to the dealer per maintenance cycle for broken sensors, ad-blue tank and pump failures, etc. And that is in addition to failing oil cooler seals and a steering rack that needed to be replaced. Very disappointing, especially since it is a Mercedes-Benz........"

15 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?