The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class appeals to drivers who want the off-road and towing capabilities of a full-size SUV with the comfort and maneuverability of a car-based crossover, and preferably one with a three-pointed star on the hood. The GL-Class is a full-size, seven-passenger luxury crossover SUV. Larger than the BMW X5, the Mercedes GL-Class is the same length as the Audi Q7. It’s the biggest Mercedes available in the U.S. and it’s built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
New for 2011 is a refreshed front grille and bumpers on the Mercedes-Benz GL550, including LED taillights and daytime running lamps. Also, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class gets an optional blind spot monitoring system, which can help the driver spot a vehicle in the next lane.
All Mercedes GL-Class models come with a 7-speed automatic and 4MATIC full-time all-wheel drive, which distributes power to front and rear wheels equally. All GL-Class models employ air suspension for good ride comfort on a variety of surfaces and level attitude regardless of load. A full suite of safety equipment is standard across the GL-Class.
The GL-Class shares its basic platform with the M-Class and R-Class. (Don’t confuse the GL550 with the venerable G550 Gelandewagen designed for rugged terrain because the GL-Class shares nothing in common with the utilitarian G-Class beyond the engine and transmission.)
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is large and surprisingly capable off road yet we found it feels reasonably car-like on the road. That car-like feeling comes in part because it is built around a unibody architecture instead of traditional body-on-frame construction. The 2011 GL-Class is rated to tow up to 7500 pounds, but we recommend an American pickup truck for anything approaching that much weight.
Competitors of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class include Audi Q7, BMW X5, Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX56, Lexus LX570, and Range Rover. The GL-Class offers a compelling argument of efficiency, space and features, including the ability to carry adults in the third row. Options quickly drive up the price, however.
Prices do not include government fees and taxes, any finance charge, any dealer document processing charge ($80), any electronic filing charge and any emission testing charge.