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2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

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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 New for 2011

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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2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 170 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Good overall vehicle, but expensive to own

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"i have owned this car for just over 5 years, and i continue to enjoy the vehicle. however, it is expensive to own and maintain, and tire wear is especially bad, despite trying different brands."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Love the car but hate the maintenance

By on Wednesday, December 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Incredible turning radius, mileage and handling"

Cons: "Breaks so ofter I feel I've driven a loaner more"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I wanted a diesel and SUV that would haul 7 people. MB GL350 fit that bill, the car drove VERY nice, like the interior and absolutely loved the mileage (22mpg average day to day and have achieved over 27 on road trips). Now the issue. I think the "Check Engine" light has been on more than it has been off. I've changed the brakes, the front air suspension, timing chain and had a problem with the transmission and multiple sensors. Now my main seal is leaking and I have an issue with the blue fluid sensor and pump. I've probably dropped 10K into this care in the last 18 months. I can't stand driving the thing and feel that it will BREAK at any minute. I love driving the car, great power and mileage but it's a VERY fragile SUV."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Would purchase again

By on Sunday, September 20, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Leased

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Plenty of room, quiet well made."

Cons: "Expensive to buy."

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

"Dependable quality vehicle. Love the diesel quiet & decent gas mileage. Run flat tires a minus, rough ride..Expensive to service."

11 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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."

19 people out of 31 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."

20 people out of 28 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."

5 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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