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2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

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2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.3

The 2013 GL-Class is Mercedes-Benz's version of a big SUV. This 3-row, 7-passenger vehicle aims to be the S-Class of sport-utility vehicles, and it largely mimics that flagship sedan's traits with a library-quiet cabin, pothole-absorbing suspension, and power on demand. 2013 marks the second generation of the GL, bringing a redesigned exterior and interior, and a host of high-tech safety features. Don't let the 2013 GL-Class's posh ride and supple interior fool you: It can be a workhorse when required. The vehicle's stout diesel or gasoline engines can tow up to 7,500 pounds, and with ample ground clearance and all-wheel drive, the GL is capable of moderate off-roading. The GL63 AMG high-performance variant takes ground-pounding performance to a new level.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need to haul people and/or cargo and desire one of the plushest, technologically advanced vehicles in which to do it, the 2013 Mercedes GL-Class could be just your ticket. Slightly smaller than a Cadillac Escalade and more rugged-looking than an Audi Q7, the GL is the vehicular equivalent of the strong and silent type.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The GL's accouterments and abilities don't come cheap. The least expensive GL-Class starts at more than $63,000, and costs can rise to over $100,000 for a loaded version. Less-expensive – yet still posh – alternatives are the Audi Q7, Infiniti JX and Buick Enclave.

What's New for 2013

2013 marks the second generation of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. This luxury SUV that's built in Alabama now has a slightly larger exterior and redesigned interior, more powerful and fuel-efficient engines, and standard safety systems such as collision prevention assist, which employs radar to warn the driver of a potential crash.

Driving the GL-Class
Driving Impressions

Quiet and "capable" are the two best words to describe the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Though the vehicle is quite large, it does not feel that way...

... on the road. The GL's turning radius is relatively compact, which makes parking easier. The GL-Class is an exceptionally quiet, comfortable and composed vehicle. These characteristics are laudable in a sedan, never mind a 3-row SUV. Road tendencies favor the cushy vs. the dynamic, though a "sport" mode can be put to good use on twisty roads to firm up steering feel. The BlueTEC V6 diesel engine in GL350 models feels like a traditional V8 on the highway, but suffers from turbo lag when floored from a standstill. The turbocharged gasoline V8 engines in the GL450 and GL550 make this SUV quick but are much less fuel-efficient than the diesel. The GL's standard all-wheel drive (AWD) easily tackles dirt roads and offers good grip in inclement weather.

SERENE RIDE
The 2013 GL's cabin deserves high marks for its isolation. Combined with an air suspension that gives this big SUV a smooth ride, the GL provides a quiet retreat from the rest of the world.

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.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Details
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class photo Interior

The 2013 GL-Class has a 3-row, 7-passenger cabin. Legroom in all three rows is good, but cargo space is limited with the third row up. The second- and third-row seats fold to create up to 93.8 cubic feet of cargo space. Interior fit and finish is impeccable, with loads of soft-touch surfaces accented by wood and metal. One moonroof is standard and two others are available over the second- and third-row seats to create an open, airy feeling. Driver and front passenger seats are comfortable even on long drives. Front outward vision is good, but hampered toward the rear, making the blind-spot monitoring system a smart choice. Upholstery in GL350 and GL450 models is the leather-like MB-Tex; the real thing costs extra.

Exterior
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class photo

The GL-Class has traditional SUV looks: boxy, rugged and rather imposing. Yet it distinguishes itself from other angular luxury-utility vehicles such as Land Rovers and its own brother, the military-derived Mercedes G-Class, with a forward-leaning stance that gives the GL an athletic appearance. The GL's front is characterized by the Mercedes' star in the center of a massive, twin-beam grille. A prominent skidplate peeks from under the bumper. Body-length side creases lend freshness to the 2013 GL's new design. The GL's posterior appears to grow significantly, and can overwhelm certain wheel styles. The GL550 has exposed twin tailpipes, while the GL63 AMG is distinguished by quad outlets.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As should be expected with its $60,000-plus starting price, even a base 2013 Mercedes GL-Class is well-equipped. Pick up a GL350, and you'll drive off with an SUV that has heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, sunroof, power tailgate and power-folding third-row seats, rearview camera and an audio system with 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.

Optional Equipment

Mercedes offers a wealth of extras for the GL-Class in the form of packages or as a la carte options. Some, like the package that includes a premium Harman/Kardon sound system and soft-close doors, cost nearly $6,000. Others, such as a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel, look like relative bargains at just a few hundred dollars. Additional features to make the GL safer, more enjoyable, or ultimately your own include a night-vision assist system, blind-spot monitoring, navigation system, and tri-zone climate control. For the few who will want to venture off the beaten track in this luxury SUV, there is the On/Off Road package that has a 2-speed transfer case, 6-mode drive selector, and added underbody protection.

Under the Hood

The 2013 GL-Class debuts with a choice of three powertrains corresponding to model name. A high-performance AMG version is to arrive later in 2013. The GL350 uses a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine that returns the best fuel economy of the bunch: up to 26 mpg highway. 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 uses 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.

3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm
455 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-2,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg

4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8
362 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg

4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8
429 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg

5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8
550 horsepower @ 5,250-5,750 rpm
560 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

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2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 21 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Really really nice suv

By on Thursday, April 7, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,800

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: "unbelievable ride quality with the air suspension,"

Cons: "none"

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

"Iridium Silver, light grey MB tex interior, with black wood trim, dark gray carpet, sunroof, running boards, changeable mood lighting, power second and third row seats, heated first & second row seats, hot cold front cupholders, 360 degree view cameras, park assist, drive assist, 20" premium wheel package original Pirelli tires, all original, no dents, scratch etc. believe warranty package is transferrable. Maintained at local MB Dealer."

4 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Great SUV! Will buy another

By on Thursday, February 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "quiet, lots of room, reliable"

Cons: "fuel millage"

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

"After owning a Caddillac, porsche, Lexus this is the best SUV I have owned. I wanted something a bit larger that the Porsche Cayenne to haul the dogs, golf clubs ect..No issues and great on long drives. Just turned 25000 miles and changed the tires. when it turns 50k I will most likely get another one!"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Lifetime Yukon Owner now a GL Owner for Life!

By on Thursday, January 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very quick, solid, dream to drive"

Cons: "NAV could use updating for shorter command string"

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

"At 6'5", there are a limited number of vehicles in which I feel comfortable. I have owned mostly GM products over the years due to their superior headroom and prior to buying the GL450, had been in two GMC Yukons for about 13 years. They were good vehicles and held their value well. But, when I decided to step up a notch, what an amazing difference! The electric assist steering and overall ride and handling of the GL450 are significantly superior to the GM SUVs. The GL450 has a more car-like ride, seems to sit a little lower to the ground, has superior headroom, unbelievable power from the bi-turbo V8, and better fuel economy that the 2010 GMC that I previously had. The fit and finish is perfect and the functionality of the 3rd row power seats is the best I have seen in the market. Front seats are extremely supportive, yet comfortable and the visibility is very good in all directions. I recently travelled and rented a 2016 Chevy Tahoe (new generation). I would grade it about 3 notches below the MB. I had forgotten how much more the GMC SUVs feel like a "truck" and the difference in engine performance. Important note - Most dealers carry GL450s loaded with options, so you see many exclipsing the $90-100K range. if you are patient, you can special order a GL450 and trim some of the very expensive "fluff" that you may not want or need and get the price down in the low to mid-$70s (and still get Premium package, large wheels, NAV and H-K sound system. I wanted three months and my $76K version looks, runs, and rides no different than the $100K version. And if you price a new GM, Lexus, or Land Rover product, mid-$70s is actually very price competitive."

20 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Okay, but Expensive for okay...

By on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Great power and handling for a family car."

Cons: "Expensive and trouble if unfixable problem."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I see the other write-ups are all over the map! Ambivalence - I love it! I hate it! We have decided to get rid of it because like the one review, it has constant vibrations that the dealership gave up trying to find long ago. (They said it was the tires. MB factory tires!) Also there is a known problem with the air filter that makes the car smell like mildewed laundry when it first starts up, again apparently unfixable. There is a rattle that comes from the center console that may not bother some people, but for the money, I should not have to put up with. I agree with the other write-up about the power and handling ===> Amazing! We felt like we were driving on a cloud for the first 3 months, then the vibrations started and it makes riding in the far back almost unbearable. Want to believe the best and try another one, scared to try another one."

31 people out of 41 found this review helpful

Just another solid offering from MB.

By on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"We tow a 7500lb Airstream with this vehicle effortlessly. Wonderful and capable car. Would buy again."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Best car I have owned

By on Thursday, August 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Drives wonderfully and luxurious"

Cons: "expensive, wish roof rack came with crossbars"

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

"Own the gl350 turbo diesel which I am very happy with that choice. the gas mileage is great, the pickup more than adequate. The GL series options are a bit like ordering at nice restaurant where all the sides are "al a carte." The main difference between the 350, 450, and 550 is the engines with only a few additional options included vs being addons. Mine is optioned up and is very nice. The ride is very smooth compared to other large SUVs including the escalade/yukon denali which is nice, but still rides like a truck. I highly recommend the GL series and in particularl the turbo diesel."

12 people out of 24 found this review helpful

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