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For 2012, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class carries over largely unchanged. The interior has received minor tweaks and adjustments, including directional lines for the rearview camera. All GL-Class models now feature LED daytime running lights as standard equipment.
The GL350 BlueTEC and GL450 receive a freshened front and rear end, trapezoidal exhaust tips and redesigned front and rear skid plates. Inside, the GL offers new seats, burl walnut trim and a revised instrument cluster. The GL550 receives only minor changes as well as ambient interior lighting and LED daytime running lights.
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.
In a category whose sales are dominated by three-row offerings, Mercedes joins the club in a bigfor a German nameplateway. Dimensionally, the Mercedes GL450 trumps its sibling, the M-Class, as well as offerings from BMW, Land Rover and Lexus. It also supplies Mercedes' Alabama plant with a three-pronged product (M-Class, R-Class and GL) strategy, enhancing both plant volume and plant flexibility.
One look at the luxury import segment and you seevery quicklythe preponderance of growth in the SUV category. With the launch of its M-Class over eight years ago, Mercedes anticipated what has since become an industry-wide trend. And 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 position. More recently, Mercedes has aggressively rounded out its offerings with the R-Class, a unique take on six-passenger travel and, in the spring of 2006, its new GL450, Mercedes' first 'pure' three-row SUV.