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2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Overview
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2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review

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The Mercedes GL-Class is a seven-passenger full-size SUV with refined styling, performance, luxury and safety in a package that is fairly reasonable in size compared to other vehicles in its class. With engines ranging from the 3.0-liter 50-state-legal clean diesel of the GL350 BlueTEC to the 5.5-liter V8 of the GL550 and a host of accessory packages, the GL-Class has broad appeal and makes tough competition for full-size SUV's such as the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Lexus LX 570, Land Rover Range Rover and Infiniti QX56.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are torn between a need for passenger and cargo room and a want for refined driving dynamics and appearance, the Mercedes GL-Class could be the solution for your dilemma. Those looking for fuel economy in the full-size SUV class would do well to give the GL350 BlueTEC a serious look.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don't need three rows of seats in your vehicle it would be hard to argue where any GL-Class model would be a better fit for you than, say, the popular mid-sized M-Class. Some may find the GL-Class styling a bit restrained in a field with dynamic, aggressive exteriors.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2011 the GL-Class will have Mercedes' new "mbrace" technology as standard. Mbrace features 24/7 assistance options along with real-time traffic monitoring and other conveniences, including remote door locking/unlocking. Mbrace also can be accessed via mobile phone application, taking personalization and convenience to a new level. Second and third-row seats in 2011 GL-Class models also have new head restraints designed to minimize whiplash occurrences. All three models also will offer an optional Blind Spot Assist. The 2011 GL550 gets a restyled bumper.

Driving the GL-Class

Driving Impressions The GL450 acquitted itself well in testing through variable road conditions including some serious bends and an aggressive off-road experience, especially with the Adaptive Damping System making its contribution. The...

GL450's nimble handling belies its size (curb weight is almost 5,300 pounds and overall length is around 200 inches); behind the wheel you may feel as if you're driving a smaller, lighter SUV. The seven-speed automatic's gear ratios are spaced close enough to each other to make the most of the GL450's 4.6-liter V8. While the GL450 may not have the off-road pedigree of other SUVs, such as the Range Rover, we liked the balance of practicality and capability it offered. Owners who want to push the GL450 without treating it as a pure hill-climber will find nothing lacking here.

Adaptive Damping System
The Adaptive Damping System in the GL-Class constantly monitors and reacts to road surface changes and can alter shock absorber settings an astounding 20 times per second. Adaptive Damping makes the ride smoother or firmer as needed, giving the driver comfort on a smooth highway or the confidence of control as conditions worsen.

BlueTEC V6 Diesel Engine
The BlueTEC clean diesel engine clears every emissions requirement in the U.S. while allowing the driver to cruise nearly 600 miles on a single full fuel tank. With fuel prices in flux, the BlueTEC is a very attractive prospect, especially in a family-friendly SUV.

2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Details
Interior

The GL's eight-way power front seats offer four-way adjustable lumbar support, giving drivers near-endless ways to stay comfortable behind the premium leather multifunction steering wheel (or the Burl Walnut-accented steering wheel, available as an option). The third-row seats are easy to access and can fold down at the touch of a button along with the second row, creating just over 83 cubic feet of cargo room. Mercedes has gone out of its way to make every seating position in the GL-Class comfortable and enjoyable and that work pays off: It's one thing to fit seven adults in a single vehicle but to see that no one is stuck in the "bad" seat shows some true ingenuity.

Exterior

The GL-Class got some styling revisions for the 2010 model year and, save for the 2011 GL550's bumper, Mercedes has left those changes alone. Across the range, Mercedes has managed to deftly walk the fine line between expectations of the drivers of vehicles in this class and fans wary of the marque's foray into the distinctly modern full-size SUV category. At once elegant, assertive, powerful and subtle, the GL-Class is pleasant to observe and stands out without crossing a line into being gauche or over-the-top. At first glance the grille and sloping windshield could belong to any modern Mercedes sedan or coupe, but the lower front fascia and flared wheel wells plant the GL-Class firmly in SUV territory. Good sight lines along with the new optional Blind Spot Assist built into the exterior mirrors, bi-xenon headlamps and optional parking assist make the design of the 2011 GL-Class functional as well as stylish and help keep it that way.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

GL-Class models come with an impressive list of standard features, giving them a tremendous amount of value and really setting them apart from other SUVs in the class. Full-time four-wheel drive, brake assist, hill-start assist for high-angle takeoffs, the Electronic Stability Program and a full complement of airbags, including side-curtain protection extending through all three rows of seats, provide excellent safety for drivers and passenger alike. The in-dash six-disc CD/DVD fills the cabin with sound and allows drivers to watch DVD movies when the vehicle is in Park. Front and rear sunroofs are a nice touch, bringing an untypical ambiance to rear-seat passengers. The GL550 adds Mercedes' Comand voice control system to the stereo, navigation and Bluetooth features along with the harman/kardon LOGIC7 sound system and mp3/iPod connectivity.

Optional Equipment

Even with all that the GL-Class includes as standard equipment, there is a litany of options to fit every driver's needs or wants. The Rear-Seat Entertainment System adds two eight-inch LCD screens to the backs of the front-seat head restraints, allowing passengers to watch DVDs, play video games or do both at the same time. Many options, including the Comand system, the harman/kardon LOGIC7 stereo, hard-drive navigation, Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod/mp3 interface, power rear liftgate and backup camera, can be had via packages or separately. Parktronic parking assist, Blind Spot Assist, a Class-IV trailer hitch and full leather seats are also available.

Under the Hood

The 2011 GL-Class has three engine choices: The GL350's BlueTEC 3.0-liter diesel V6 stands out among diesels for its low-end torque, allowing quick acceleration while returning 21 miles per gallon highway. The wonderful 4.6-liter V8 in the GL450 is all about performance, swiftly delivering the force of its 335 horsepower and 333 pound-feet of torque across the full rpm spectrum. The GL550 packs a powerhouse 5.5-liter V8, churning out 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. All 2011 GL-Class models send their power to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters at the wheel if you like to take matters into your own hands.

3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3400 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21

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: 12/17

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Buying this car?

2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 157 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
    9.0/10

The Real Deal

By on Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Quality, comfort, size"

Cons: "none"

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

"Does everything they say - excellent quality, fun to drive and excellent gas mileage for a heavy SUV - good value."

14 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Its ok a best!

By on Monday, March 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"Not worth the $$$! Numerous things have broken inside the vehicle. The acceleration from a complete stop has left me panicked more than once. It is very delayed! You must ezzzz onto the accelerator, I have been told. Well sometimes that just isn't the situation...The expense of servicing this vehicle is outrageous. Especially when you drop off your vehicle and they say "oh this is a minor service" Then you pick it up to pay "only" $500 or $600. Major services run $1500 or more. Tires are also a crazy expense for this car."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

High Maintenance, Horrible customer Service

By on Thursday, January 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Nice interior, great cruise control, nice ride."

Cons: "breaks a lot, bad cust. svc, unworkable nav system"

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

"Had this car for under a year when the problems started - nothing that big, just little things like headlights going out (3 times) or check engine and other warning lights coming on. We'd take it to the dealer, and they'd take care of the problem, but it got to be a hassle to take it in so often. Then, almost exactly at 4 years / 35k miles, just when the warranty ran out, we got several oil leaks, as well as other, very expensive problems. Tried to talk to MB customer service but they would not return our (repeated) calls for weeks - outrageous for a car of this supposed caliber and a company that supposedly prides itself on excellence. All in all a horrible experience with Mercedes, and one I haven't had with Porsche, Lexus, BMW, and various other cars. I've since talked to friends and they've had similar bad experiences with their Mercedes. I will not buy one again."

15 people out of 16 found this review helpful

LOVE my GL - wish it was a tiny bit bigger

By on Saturday, December 28, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, well appointed, great looking"

Cons: "Expensive maintenance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love this car! I bought it in February 2010 with about 40000 miles on it and I added an extended warranty to 100,000 miles. I didn't buy it brand new because at the time my three kids were all under the age of four so I didn't want them to ruin a brand new one! I now have just under 70,000 miles and haven't really had a major issue yet. Aside from regular maintenance I've only had it in for a couple minor issues (ALL covered under warranty). The only one I specifically remember was the motor on the back door started malfunctioning so they replaced that and one of the air shocks (I think that's what it was called) had a leak so they replaced that as well. My only complaint in this model year is that the nav system isn't as great as the newer ones and it isn't really all that great if you're searching for POI's. I literally sometimes get a location that is hundreds of miles away even thought I know for a fact there's a location within 10 miles. In case you're thinking I may need to update my nav disk, that's not it. I bought a new one about a year ago. The only complaint I really have is that maintenance is expensive. Regular maintenance visits are several hundred dollars - pretty close to $1000. The other thing is that these cars are heavy and they go through tires MUCH quicker than I'm used to. They told me that when I bought it, but it still hurts. I just put new ones on for the second time and it runs about $1500. That's right - for the second time in 30,000 miles. All of this said, I really do like this car a lot. It's comfortable and even the third row is tolerable for me (I'm 5'7). I wouldn't want to be back there for a cross country trip, but when my mother in law is in town I always somehow wind up in the back somewhere (that's a whole saga in itself….) Anyway, that's about it. I'm just starting to look for a replacement - more because my husband thinks I need a new car. I'm perfectly happy in my car and since my boys are getting bigger I'm considering a larger SUV (maybe an Infiniti QX56 or Q80), but since I'm losing the 5 point harness car seat in late 2014, I may just stay in the same size car and therefore I'm seriously considering a 2013 or 2014 GL."

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

LOVE my GL - wish it was a tiny bit bigger

By on Saturday, December 28, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, well appointed, great looking"

Cons: "Expensive maintenance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love this car! I bought it in February 2010 with about 40000 miles on it and I added an extended warranty to 100,000 miles. I didn't buy it brand new because at the time my three kids were all under the age of four so I didn't want them to ruin a brand new one! I now have just under 70,000 miles and haven't really had a major issue yet. Aside from regular maintenance I've only had it in for a couple minor issues (ALL covered under warranty). The only one I specifically remember was the motor on the back door started malfunctioning so they replaced that and one of the air shocks (I think that's what it was called) had a leak so they replaced that as well. My only complaint in this model year is that the nav system isn't as great as the newer ones and it isn't really all that great if you're searching for POI's. I literally sometimes get a location that is hundreds of miles away even thought I know for a fact there's a location within 10 miles. In case you're thinking I may need to update my nav disk, that's not it. I bought a new one about a year ago. The only complaint I really have is that maintenance is expensive. Regular maintenance visits are several hundred dollars - pretty close to $1000. The other thing is that these cars are heavy and they go through tires MUCH quicker than I'm used to. They told me that when I bought it, but it still hurts. I just put new ones on for the second time and it runs about $1500. That's right - for the second time in 30,000 miles. All of this said, I really do like this car a lot. It's comfortable and even the third row is tolerable for me (I'm 5'7). I wouldn't want to be back there for a cross country trip, but when my mother in law is in town I always somehow wind up in the back somewhere (that's a whole saga in itself….) Anyway, that's about it. I'm just starting to look for a replacement - more because my husband thinks I need a new car. I'm perfectly happy in my car and since my boys are getting bigger I'm considering a larger SUV (maybe an Infiniti QX56 or Q80), but since I'm losing the 5 point harness car seat in late 2014, I may just stay in the same size car and therefore I'm seriously considering a 2013 or 2014 GL."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

LOVE my GL - wish it was a tiny bit bigger

By on Saturday, December 28, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, well appointed, great looking"

Cons: "Expensive maintenance"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love this car! I bought it in February 2010 with about 40000 miles on it and I added an extended warranty to 100,000 miles. I didn't buy it brand new because at the time my three kids were all under the age of four so I didn't want them to ruin a brand new one! I now have just under 70,000 miles and haven't really had a major issue yet. Aside from regular maintenance I've only had it in for a couple minor issues (ALL covered under warranty). The only one I specifically remember was the motor on the back door started malfunctioning so they replaced that and one of the air shocks (I think that's what it was called) had a leak so they replaced that as well. My only complaint in this model year is that the nav system isn't as great as the newer ones and it isn't really all that great if you're searching for POI's. I literally sometimes get a location that is hundreds of miles away even thought I know for a fact there's a location within 10 miles. In case you're thinking I may need to update my nav disk, that's not it. I bought a new one about a year ago. The only complaint I really have is that maintenance is expensive. Regular maintenance visits are several hundred dollars - pretty close to $1000. The other thing is that these cars are heavy and they go through tires MUCH quicker than I'm used to. They told me that when I bought it, but it still hurts. I just put new ones on for the second time and it runs about $1500. That's right - for the second time in 30,000 miles. All of this said, I really do like this car a lot. It's comfortable and even the third row is tolerable for me (I'm 5'7). I wouldn't want to be back there for a cross country trip, but when my mother in law is in town I always somehow wind up in the back somewhere (that's a whole saga in itself….) Anyway, that's about it. I'm just starting to look for a replacement - more because my husband thinks I need a new car. I'm perfectly happy in my car and since my boys are getting bigger I'm considering a larger SUV (maybe an Infiniti QX56 or Q80), but since I'm losing the 5 point harness car seat in late 2014, I may just stay in the same size car and therefore I'm seriously considering a 2013 or 2014 GL."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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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?