It lacks the typical SUV boxy styling and body-on-frame construction of the G-Class in favor of a modified version of the M-Class's unibody architecture. Many motorists consider it the "Elongated and Wider" version of the recently redesigned M-Class. It is a three-row, seven-passenger SUV with much more luxurious equipment than previous civilian G-Class vehicles. All GL-Class vehicles are assembled at Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc., Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The GL class was originally intended to replace the 25-year old G-Class model, however due to public and fan outcries, Mercedes Benz had decided to keep the G-Class in production for the foreseeable future and decided to update it for 2006.
Mercedes-Benz introduced its BlueTec diesel system to the GL-Class at the 2006 North American International Auto Show as the GL 320 Bluetec. This system uses urea to clean diesel emissions, making the GL 320 50-state legal in the United States. It went on sale in July 2006, but models with urea injection will only be introduced in 2008.
- GL 320 CDI BlueTec: 3.0 L V6 (diesel), 160 kW (215 hp)
- GL 420 CDI: 4.0 L V8 (diesel), 225 kW (302 hp)
- GL 450: 4.7 L V8, 250 kW (335 hp)
- GL 550 (GL 500 in Europe): 5.5 L V8, 285 kW (382 hp)
Standard featuresStandard on the Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI and GL450 include air conditioning w/ dual-zone climate controls, interior air filter, tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel w/ radio controls, cruise control, heated 8-way power front seats, 6-disc CD changer, outside-temperature indicator, and universal garage door opener.
Optional featuresStandard on the Mercedes GL550 but optional for the lower trims include a power tilt/telescopic wood/leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls (replacing tilt/telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel w/radio controls), leather upholstery, memory system, power liftgate, premium sound system, navigation system w/voice recognition, rear radio controls, rearview camera, and heated rear seats.
Optional for all trims include a DVD entertainment system, heated steering wheel, iPod adapter, tri-zone climate controls, and keyless start. Over the last year, people have complained about the GL-Class's limited standard features compared to more upscale competitors such as the Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover Sport.
- 2007 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year - GL 450