The new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is the first attempt by German company to put its toe into the luxurious full-size SUV market, currently dominated by the monstrous Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator urban cruisers.
Frankly, I do not understand the reason why the seven-seating sports utility vehicles have become so popular among families with two or more kids.
If you need a comfortable people hauler that can also get on board all of their suitcases, golf bags, strollers and diaper packs, you can get yourself a Dodge Grand Caravan or, if you prefer Japanese brands, a Honda Odyssey and it will serve all your transportation needs.
Well, may be the reason is that neither Mercedes-Benz, nor Volkswagen (nor, for that matter any other mark, which is considered luxurious in the United States) sells here an eight-seating minivan that could be deemed “luxurious” or “prestigious.”
It is easier in Europe, where you can get high-line versions of the legendary VW Transporter or a Mercedes-Benz Vito that can also be as luxurious as an E-Class.
Not willing to lose more customers to one of its most bitter rivals, General Motors’ luxury division Cadillac, Mercedes plans to offer American and Europeans drivers a seven-seater that combines traditional for the three-pointed stars ride comfort with enormous living space and expensive leather interior appointment.
Alas, while the spacious interior comes free of charge, you will have to pay about €4000 to get all appropriate places covered with fine leather. Not that it’s really expensive compared to, say Porsche Cayenne GTS: the company from Stuttgart will charge you about в‚¬1000 just for the “Roof grab handles in Leather” option alone!
The SUV comes with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system mated with four different engines.
The GL320 CDI and the GL420 CDI models features 224 hp V6 and 306 hp V8 diesel engines respectively with the latter developing generous peak torque of 700 Nm.
Needless to say that both diesels comply with European EU4 emission guidelines.
Versions of the large crossover that work on gasoline are equipped with 5.5-liter (GL 500) and 4.6-liter (GL 450) powerplants that produce 388 hp and 340 hp respectively.
All models may be ordered with pneumatic suspension that makes the car both more comfortable and safer, an off-road package and a wide choice of entertainment systems.
As to the prices, the GL 320 CDI will cost you €63,684, the GL 420 CDI starts at €79,460, the GL 450 – €77,604, and prices for the GL 500 will start from €85,898 with VAT.
2007 Mercedes-Benz GL420 CDI SUV technical specification
Body Type: 5-door SUV with unibody construction
Layout: front engine, 4WD
Engine: turbodiesel, 306 hp @ 3600 rpm, 700 Nm @ 2200 rpm, 4.0-liter, V8
Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic
Top Speed: 230 km/h
0 – 62 mph: 7.2 seconds
Fuel Economy EPA combined cycle mpg (l/100 km): 24.4 (9.64)
Exterior Dimensions (L/W/H/WB) inches: 200.3 / 75.6 / 72.4 / 121.1
Ground clearance: 10.9
Track (frt/rr): 65 / 65.1
Approach Angle (degrees): 33.0
Breakover Angle (degrees): 23.0
Departure Angle (degrees): 27.0
Curb to curb turning circle (feet): 39.7
Curb Weight: 5249 lbs
Coefficient of Drag (Cd): 0.37
Seating Capacity: 7 (2/3/2)
Cargo capacity: rear seat down (cu ft): 83.3 and all seats in place (cu ft): 14.3
Payload (max w/ occupants and cargo): 1620 lbs
Towing Capacity (max): 7500 lbs
Direct Competitors: 2007 Audi Q7 luxury SUV, Infiniti QX56, Cadillac Escalade, and –my favorite– Lexus LX 570
See also: 2007 Audi Q7 SUV tuned by Nothelle