If you are looking for a vehicle that has just as much to offer under the hood as it does with its jaw-dropping appearance, the 2013 Mercedes GL-Class GL550 4MATIC SUV is for you. A turbocharged 4.6-liter direct injection V8 engine roars out an impressive 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in a lightning fast 5.5 seconds, and it can tow 7,500 pounds with ease. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive ensures that the vehicle is always ready for changing road or weather conditions while the paddle shifters featured on the seven-speed automatic transmission grants you a more controlled driving experience, should you choose to indulge. Those wanting even more control will want to add in the On/Off Road Package that offers six driving programs for an array of terrain and driving needs. Although a little tricky to maneuver in tight spaces, the GL550 4MATIC does deliver a smooth and quiet ride with responsive handling. On the downside, fuel-economy is absolutely horrible at 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.
• COMAND - Control your audio, video, hands-free calling and optional navigation from your 7-inch LCD screen in the center stack. It can be integrated to controls located on the steering wheel as well.
• Audio - A Harmon Kardon LOGIC7® features 13 speakers, one subwoofer, 830 watts of power, MP3 media interface and an audio auxiliary input jack.
• Navigation - An efficient 80GB hard drive offers Zagat® Survey ratings and stores maps, points of interest, gas prices, nearby ATMs, hotels, navigation and a lot more.
• Music Register - Store an abundance of your own music on the 10GB Music Register.
• Rear Seat Entertainment - This optional DVD system keeps rear seat passengers entertained with LCD screens behind the front head restraints, wireless headphones and remotes.
Mercedes tends to fly under the radar of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, primarily because no one particularly enjoys crashing vehicles with such a high MSRP. On the other hand, the 2012 model did well with brake testing; the 2013 model should as well. Just a few of the long list of safety features include:
• Nine airbags
• Active parking assist
• Attention assist driver-drowsiness monitoring
• Active blind spot assist
• Active lane keeping assist
• Post-collision response
• Rear view camera
• Tire-pressure monitoring
• Brake assist
• Electronic stability program
• Turn signal mirrors
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Rear door safety locks
• Whiplash protection system in front head restraints
• Child seat anchors
• Emergency braking preparation
• Brake drying
• Rain-sensing windshield
• Crosswind stabilization
• Trailer sway control
The 2013 GL550 4MATIC comes with a ruggedly refined all-new design that is certainly worth getting excited over. Glistening chrome highlights the elegantly sculpted body while beefy rear fenders and a fierce grille offer a sporty appeal. Every inch of this vehicle appears to be well thought-out to appeal to an array of consumers.
Hand-polished wood embellishes pretty much everything from the dash to the doors. The controls are accented with a crisp, brushed metal trim and luxurious and thoughtful features are found throughout from the placement of the power outlets to the beverage holders to the abundance of storage compartments. Seating for seven is provided in comfort; seats are supportive, with more than enough leg and head room in all three rows. It would be nice if the rear seats would slide forward and backward though, like they do in some competitors.
The GL550 4MATIC fails and excels in terms of cargo capacity. Only 16 cubic feet are provided behind the third row seat, but there is 93.8 cubic feet total to enjoy behind the front row.