When it comes to performance, it is hard to find anything to complain about in the 2013 Mercedes Benz GL350 BlueTEC SUV. It is motivated by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that mates to a seven-speed automatic to produce 240 horsepower and an incredible 455 pound-feet of torque! Acceleration speeds are not great, taking 8.4 seconds to reach 60 mph, but towing abilities are impressive, handling 7,500 pounds, when properly equipped. EPA-estimated fuel-economy should please most buyers though, as the vehicle returns 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The great thing about BlueTEC clean diesel technology is that it has the power to reduce NOx to harmless water and nitrogen vapor. When you get behind the wheel, you immediately feel how confident the vehicle is. It is composed and stable, and the adjustable air suspension delivers a flawless ride. That being said, you will know you are in a big heavy vehicle, as its cornering capabilities are less than desirable. Not to mention, its massive 40.7-foot turning circle makes it a challenge to park and maneuver in tight spaces.
• COMAND System - A 7-inch LCD screen provides you with control over audio, navigation, hands-free calling and other functions.
• Audio - A Harman Kardon LOGIC7® system boasts 830 watts, 13 speakers, a subwoofer, MP3 media interface, USB port, SiriusXM, in-dash CD/DVD player and HD radio.
• Navigation - The optional 80GB navigation system gives you 3D maps, turn-by-turn directions, Zagat® Survey ratings and a ton of the features.
• Rear Seat Entertainment - LCD monitors are built into the back of the front head restraints to keep rear seat passengers occupied with movies or video games.
Crash test results are not available for the GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC, but considering its high price tag, this comes as no surprise. Braking capabilities have been tested though, and the vehicle did amazingly well, taking only 115 feet to stop from 60 mph. This SUV features mbrace2 emergency communications system that provides automatic crash notification, roadside assistance and more. Other safety features include:
• Lane departure warning
• 13-way airbag protection
• Collision prevention assist
• Active parking assist
• Driver drowsiness monitor
• Active blind spot assist
• Active lane keeping assist
• Rearview camera
• Brake assist
• Electric stability program
• Crosswind stabilization
• Anti-theft alarm system
• Rain-sensing wipers
The Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC has been fully redesigned this year, but it offers an appearance you will likely love or hate. Although not very aerodynamic, it does boast muscular rear fenders, a body grille, wraparound tail lamps and plenty of glistening chrome accents. The standard 19-inch wheels are nice, but the 20-inch twin five-spoke optional wheels are sensational. Thoughtful aluminum roof rails come standard, and you can add on illuminated running boards too.
Whether you have a large family or you carpool at work, you will appreciate that all three rows offer enough leg and headroom for adult passengers. The front seats are comfortable and supportive and when you opt for those with ventilation and massage, you may find yourself taking the long way home. The third row is quite easy to access thanks to the sliding second row seat. As you would expect, build quality materials and design live up to the Mercedes-Benz name. Although the electronic interface can be a little overwhelming at first, it is one of the most user-friendly ones on the market.
With all seats in place, GL350 BlueTEC only gives you 16 cubic feet, but an overall 93.8 cubes can be enjoyed behind the front seats.