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2014 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Overview
Looking and feeling good after a significant redesign last year, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class luxury midsize SUV stands ready to tote up to 7 people and all their accoutrements wherever a sizable bankroll is appreciated. Respectably reserved in appearance, decidedly powerful in performance and predictably posh in appointments, this high-end hauler boasts surprisingly adept handling capabilities complementing the smooth Euro-ride that has distinguished this elegant ute since its 2007 debut. Meanwhile, no significant changes are expected for the 2014 edition of M-B's princely pack mule.
The entry-level, turbodiesel GL350 BlueTEC begins the trim lineup with a fuel-efficient bang, while the lower midlevel GL450, the upper-midlevel GL550 and the track-bred GL63 AMG each boast gasoline-burning twin-turbocharged power. All GL-Class iterations, meanwhile, sport Mercedes’ standard 4MATIC full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) system that tames both fast corners and funky weather, while of course remaining ready to instantly transfer torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when things get especially nasty. And it does all this while retaining its 93.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the second- and third-row seatbacks folded.
Power-wise, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine again gives the GL350 BlueTEC its go. Mated with the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission, this blown six-banger puts out 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. As an extra bonus, look for an estimated 19 mpg city/26 highway from this fuel-efficient diesel.
The GL450 and GL550 each sport a 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged and variable-valve-timed (VVT) V8 powerplant that again combines with the 7-speed shiftable automatic for 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Mileage figures, however, drop precipitously to 14/19.
Finally, the track-tested GL63 AMG, a product of M-B’s AMG racing division, sports a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8, again with VVT, and again mated with the standard 7-speed shiftable automatic. Look for 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque from this amped-up V8, but mileage drops even further to 13/17. M-B, by the way, touts its high-end heavy haulers to tow up to 7,000 pounds of trailer when properly equipped.
Standard appearance posh that’s pushed around by these various powertrains, meanwhile, includes 19-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, reverse-tilting heated power-adjustable mirrors, a power rear liftgate and a power sunroof in the GL350 BlueTEC and the GL450. Both trims additionally flaunt leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, reclining second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, leather and wood cabin accents, and full power accessories. As well, each trim features cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a universal remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera, as well as dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth-interfaced Mbrace2 infotainment with a 7-inch color touchscreen display. Standard entertainment equipment for these lower trims, meantime, includes a 6-CD changer with video monitor and DVD player, a memory-card slot and a USB port.
Moving up to the GL550, look for standard suspension damping, 21-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, massaging front seats with added power-adjustable settings, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a simulated aerial view camera, front and rear parking sensors, and memory for driver's settings. Additionally, this up-featured trim sports a Harman Kardon 830-watt entertainment system that boasts 14 speakers, Surround Sound and satellite radio, while a standard hard-drive-based navigation suite is incorporated into the Mbrace2 infotainment monitor.
Stepping into the top-shelf GL63 AMG, one can expect to find such additional bling as upgraded 21-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned air suspension system, beefed-up brakes and M-B’s Active Curve System with auto-variable stabilizer bars. Of course, unique badges and decals also come standard in this flagship trim, as does a microfiber-trimmed sport steering wheel.
Options in lower GL-Class trims include many of the jewels found standard in higher trims, while the GL450 and GL550 can be delivered with an available On-/Off-Road Package with auto hi-lo gear selection, a locking rear differential, 6-mode terrain selector, adaptive suspension damping and front underbody protection. All 2014 GL-Class trims, meanwhile, are eligible for such standalone options as a multi-view parking camera system, a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable “easy-entry” second-row seats and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
Furthermore, each trim can be delivered with available special-order items like an upgraded Bang & Olufsen premium audio package and “designo” unique interior and exterior colors.
Finally, notable standard safety equipment aboard each 2014 GL-Class trim includes 4-wheel antilock braking (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, 3-row head airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Additionally, daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm are standard across the lineup. Optional safety stuff, furthermore, includes a Driver Assistance Package with blind spot and lane departure warnings, as well as adaptive cruise control, while a night-vision pedestrian warning system and M-B’s touted PARKTRONIC parking assist technology are special-order safety extras available across the trim spectrum.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.