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2011 Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC Review

2011 Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC

Large, luxury SUVs are so good at radiating wealth and consuming petroleum, we sometime forget about their other attributes.

Take the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for example. With its imposing looks and size, three rows of seating and the Mercedes-Benz star on the hood, you wouldn’t expect it to cost less than 70 grand – and it doesn’t.

But the discussion shouldn’t end there – and it won’t. Because having just completed a week-long test in a 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC, we have much to discuss about it.
Back-story
But first, a little back-story: The GL-Class debuted in 2007, based on a modified version of the unibody platform under the “smaller” M-Class. Like the ML, the GL-Class is produced at the automaker’s facility in Alabama.

GL was ostensibly a replacement for the classic, body-on-frame G-Class SUV. But public pressure forced Mercedes-Benz to keep the venerable Gel ndewagen in the catalogue alongside the new GL.

In 2009, a third engine was added to the GL line – the 3.0L V6 BlueTEC diesel – to compliment the 335-hp, 4.6L V8 and the 382-hp, 5.5L V8. A minor refreshing in 2010 gave it some new fascia, complete with bi-xenon headlamps and cool LED daytime running lights.

The M-Class gets reborn for 2012, so we might see an all-new GL in a year or two, but not just yet…

Price as tested
BlueTEC models like our tester start at $70,500, and feature the 3.0L turbodiesel V6, good for 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Yep, 400 big ones, for all your stump-pulling pleasures.

All GL models feature the 7G-TRONIC 7-speed automatic transmission, 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive and AIRMATIC air suspension. The optional Adaptive Damping System (ADS) was not equipped on our tester, but the Premium Package was, adding $4,500 to the MSRP and a ton of extra convenience pieces to an already luxurious cabin.

Premium Package bits include the COMMAND APS interface system with HDD navigation and DVD changer, rearview camera, power tailgate, passive blind spot assist, keyless entry, heated rear seats, iPod and USB connections as well as a 115V power socket.

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