If you want the biggest SUV built by Mercedes-Benz the 2014 GL-Class is it. Think of this 3-row, 7-seater as the S-Class of sport-utility vehicles, and you won't be far off. It's built with impeccable precision and structural integrity, is amazingly quiet, its suspension deals with any paved or non-paved surface you will likely encounter, and any one of its four available engines cranks out impressive power. The GL can tow a trailer up to 7,500 pounds and, with its generous ground clearance and sophisticated all-wheel drive, is even capable of moderate off-road trips. Add in the Mercedes-Benz reputation for exemplary fit and finish, plus safety features and occupant protection that are second to none, and the GL-Class stands in the very first rank of full-size sport-utility vehicles.
You'll Like This Car If...
You know who you are. You need to carry people, or their stuff, or both, and tow a trailer (or maybe you don't actually need to do any of that), but you do want the top of the pecking order in a full-size SUV. Welcome to the Mercedes-Benz 2014 GL-Class.
You May Not Like This Car If...
This is not a budget-friendly choice. You can own any number of perfectly suitable full-size SUVs for about half (or less) of the price of the GL. For the price of the GL550 or GL63 AMG, you could have a pretty nice family fleet.
As the GL-Class was completely redesigned just last year, the 2014 model has only the most minor of changes: some small packaging alterations and a few color and trim choices.
Driving the GL-Class
The 2014 GL-Class is certainly at the top of the full-size SUV category in its driving behavior with supremely capable ride and exceptional handling. While the GL is a big...
... vehicle, it certainly doesn't feel ponderous, and it is at all times composed, quiet and confidence-inspiring. To find these characteristics in a full-size SUV is remarkable, indeed. The ride has been engineered to be comfortable rather than sporty but, for curvy roads, a "sport" mode firms up the steering feel. All the engines are strong, and the BlueTEC diesel V6 delivers noteworthy fuel economy. The turbocharged gasoline engines make more power, but they also use more fuel. The standard all-wheel drive (AWD) will get a grip in places where there are no roads but will be most appreciated for its ability to deal with the slippery surfaces that result from bad weather.
BlueTEC DIESEL V6 ENGINE With 240 horsepower and a mountainous 455 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0-liter BlueTEC V6 not only delivers plenty of power, it also is EPA-rated at 26 mpg on the highway. Add that it's smooth and quiet, and the diesel becomes the engine of choice for many GL owners.
SURROUND VIEW SYSTEM With this optional feature, four cameras work together to create a virtual bird's-eye view of the GL-Class to make parking easier. This marks the first Mercedes vehicle to receive the high-tech system.
2014 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Details
The 2014 GL-Class seats seven passengers in three rows with good legroom for all occupants. Cargo space behind the third row is somewhat limited, but folding the second and third rows down opens up the cargo capacity to a generous 93.8 cubic feet. Fit and finish of the interior is impeccable, with soft-touch surfaces and lots of well-done wood and metal trim. Standard equipment includes MB-Tex, which is very much like leather, with real leather an option. The seats themselves are terrific for long hauls, and outward vision is good except to the rear, so the blind-spot monitoring system is a wise choice.
The rugged, somewhat boxy look of the 2014 GL-Class will not be mistaken for anything other than a Mercedes-Benz SUV. Its purposeful stance has a definite presence, characterized up front by the 3-pointed star in the center of a large grille with twin chrome bars, with a prominent skidplate under the front bumper. Along the sides are artful creases and detailing, and the entire effect is one of luxury, style and confidence. There is no doubt this is a Mercedes-Benz.
Even the base 2014 Mercedes GL-Class is well-equipped. The GL350 has heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, sunroof, power tailgate, power-folding third-row seats, rearview camera and an audio system with a 6-disc CD/DVD changer. Bluetooth audio streaming is standard but, if you want to physically connect your iPod, that's extra in the base model GL350 and GL450 and standard in the top-line GL550. The mbrace2 system lets you check on your vehicle, lock/unlock it and more from a smartphone or computer. Safety features include crosswind stabilization and systems that monitor for driver drowsiness or an impending collision.
Extras for the GL-Class are in the form of packages or as stand-alone options. The package that includes a premium harman/kardon sound system and soft-close doors is nearly $6,000. Others packages, such as a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel, are relative bargains at just a few hundred dollars. Additional features include a night-vision assist system, blind-spot monitoring, navigation system and 3-zone climate control. For the few who will want to venture off the beaten track in this luxury SUV, the On/Off Road package has a 2-speed transfer case, 6-mode drive selector and added underbody protection.
Under the Hood
The GL350 uses a 3.0-liter V6 BlueTEC turbodiesel engine with 455 lb-ft of torque and an EPA highway fuel-economy rating of 26 mpg. The GL450 has a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V8, and the GL550 has another version of that engine that makes even more power and that can propel the vehicle from 0-60 mph in an estimated 5.5 seconds. The GL63 AMG has a hand-built 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes an enviable 550 horsepower. GL-Class models have all-wheel drive standard, and all engine choices are connected to a smooth 7-speed automatic transmission.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL350 is just under $64,000. A GL450 starts a little over $65,000 and a GL550 is nearly $90,000. The GL63 AMG will be in the neighborhood of $120K or more, depending on how you equip it, and a GL550 can easily reach over $100,000 when loaded with options. The GL's starting price is near that of a Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover Sport. It is more than the base price of a BMW X5, Audi Q7, Infiniti JX, Buick Encore and Lincoln Navigator, and less than the starting price of the Lexus LX 570. Before buying, before to check the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to see what others in your area are actually paying for the GL. In terms of residuals, the 2014 Mercedes GL-Class is expected to have very good resale value, with diesel models doing particularly well.
"Bought the GL to tow. We tow a 28ft Airstream with this truck and get about 17mpg towing. Torque of 455 beats most light trucks and the lower center of gravity makes towing safe and maneuverable. Of course, getting there is much more comfortable in the GL350 compared to a truck.
When driving around town the handling and ride of the GL is wonderful. Great milage and I can't find a SUV that has more than 1CF of cargo capacity. Just a great vehicle so far."
Cons: "price, No remote start (how is this possible?)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I'm a car guy, but recently (might be middle age) have sought after a vehicle that can still fit 7 comfortably, has above average acceleration/power, AND drives as smooth as silk. I've had the QX80 and New Denali (same frame/suspension as Escalade). They are roomier and have power but their rides are harsh and they cannot comfortably handle normal driving around town. Their suspensions and steering don't manage poor road conditions well. My Gl550 is a lot smaller and is more of a drivers car. If you need that extra 3rd row this is one of your better choices. I lost my shorts trading cars in over the last two years but this SUV is a top notch vehicle that I'm very happy with."
"I had a 2012 GL550 and recently bought a GL63 AMG. Very different from the GL550, in handling, ride and upgrades. GL550 I consider the Luxury version and GL63 the hotrod. It is loaded and still getting use to the Lane Keeping and Pre-Safe features that keep you almost too honest. Unfortunately some glitches have occurred in warning for hood being open (when on highway), keyless door not always responding and seat memory does not always return to settings at start up. Also some instrument cluster navigation annoyances. But it is quite the SUV hotrod. Still not sure if I like it better than GL550 but a heck of lot more money."