The Mercedes-Benz GL450 changes little for 2008, but it still offers many top-notch features that make it a competitive choice for drivers seeking a well-equipped full-size SUV. Underneath its sleek, sculpted exterior, the GL450 features unibody construction, which results in better handling, a smoother ride, and an overall lighter weight, according to Mercedes-Benz. Still, the GL450 weighs in at just under 5,300 pounds, so while the big SUV accelerates at a steady pace (0 to 60 in 7.4 seconds), it won't break any speed records.
Speed's not the point here, of course, and in other measures, such as passenger space, cargo space, safety features, and off-road capability, the GL450 excels. The big SUV comes equipped with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which continuously monitors the speed of all four wheels and reduces power or applies brakes as needed when it detects wheel slippage. Four-wheel electronic traction control, an Electronic Stability Program, antilock brakes, and a four-wheel air suspension, which automatically balances the suspension depending on passenger and cargo weight, also come standard.
A 335-horsepower, 4.6-liter V8 engine powers the GL450. The engine links to a seven-speed automatic transmission with a column shifter. Using rocker buttons on the steering wheel, drivers can access the transmission's Touch Shift feature, which enables manual shifting.
The GL450 seats seven passengers in three rows of seating. With the second- and third-row seats folded flat, the GL450 provides more than 83 cubic feet of cargo space. And when even bigger loads need moving, the big SUV can tow up to 7,500 pounds.
Standard features for the 2008 GL450 include a sunroof with a retractable sunshade, a multifunction steering wheel, power-adjustable heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and brown bird's-eye maple wood trim. The eight-speaker audio system includes a six-disc CD changer mounted in the glovebox.
Other features include Downhill Speed Regulation, which manages the throttle and brakes to ensure safe driving on steep slopes, and Hill Assist, which prevents rollback when the driver switches between the brake and gas pedals on steep uphill or downhill grades.
Options include an Off-Road Package, which includes center and rear locking differentials, a two-speed transfer case, skid plates with underride protection, and a dynamic compass display.