Mercedes Benz designed their GL Class for North America and the Middle East, where they like their vehicles big. On Britain’s more modest roads, the massive beast really stands out.
Everything about the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is big - from the 3-pointed star backwards. It’s a handsome machine though - tough, angular and powerful. It’s the kind of car that would look just as at home parked outside a posh restaurant as it would axle-deep in desert sand.
It’s definitely ready for the kind of action your family can throw at it with chunky metal side steps and a bumper protector, together with a set of roof rails for your bikes, roof box or surfboards.
On Britain’s more modest roads, the massive beast really stands out.
What’s it like to drive?
Driving a Mercedes-Benz GL Class is an almost disarmingly relaxing experience. Once you’re used to its size, the high driving position means the visibility all round is good so it’s not hard to position accurately on the road. The suspension feels like you’re riding on air because that’s exactly what you are doing. Beast on the outside, beauty inside.
The Mercedes-Benz GL Class has clever air springs which not only provide a supremely comfortable drive, but also maintain a credible amount of control in the corners.
It’s no lightweight but the engines are powerful and even the diesel will see you from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. If a spot of mud-plugging is more your cup of tea then the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is also extremely good in the rough stuff.
Driving a Mercedes-Benz GL Class is an almost disarmingly relaxing experience.
The Mercedes-Benz GL Class is even larger than a Range Rover, and it really shows inside. The cabin of the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is so big you can probably hear an echo. The interior design, materials and quality are almost on a par with the top-of-the-line S-Class, so there’s a limousine-like feel to the interior. The front seats are supple and supportive. Three adults could comfortably sit in the middle row and you could fit another couple in the rear-most chairs.
The enormous 3-part sunroof allows lots of light into the already airy cabin and, although the infotainment system is no longer state-of-the-art, the audio is more powerful than it needs to be. That’s because the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is so refined you could almost hear a pin drop inside. Fitted with clever acoustic glass it’s a wonderfully hushed way to travel – unless the kids start squabbling, of course. Even Mercedes has no answer to that.
Fully automatic climate control should keep everyone cool and calm. Failing that the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is available with a rear-seat entertainment system with screens in the front seat headrests, wireless headphones and a DVD player. Other handy technology includes standard-issue parking sensors which definitely makes low speed manoeuvring of this big Benz much easier.
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that there’s a huge amount of storage space onboard the Mercedes-Benz GL Class, from its large glovebox to a handbag-swallowing centre bin and big door pockets.
More impressive still is the size and design of the boot. Even with all seats in place, it has enough room to take 3 large suitcases and some squashy bags. If you’re only carrying 5 people then simply press a couple of buttons that fold the third-row seats flat into the floor, revealing an even more massive load area.
Fold the second row of seats away and you could probably fit a pony in there, although a better idea would be to tow it behind in a horsebox, as the Mercedes-Benz GL Class also has a huge towing capacity.
Running costs and reliability
When it came out the Mercedes-Benz GL Class was a seriously expensive car. You got a lot of metal for your money, mind. Now second-hand the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is much more attainable. It still remains a little pricey to run.
The diesel does a decent job of keeping fuel costs down - 35mpg is probably the best fuel economy you’ll manage. The tank takes 100 litres as well so each fill-up will be a big bill.
What cinch loves
The Mercedes-Benz GL Class is a massive achievement. Literally. This huge car has as almost much interior space as a minibus,but with the luxury trimmings and ride quality of a limousine. For a big family that wishes to be whisked about in ultimate comfort the Mercedes-Benz GL Class is hard to beat.