$52,400 – $54,900 MSRP
$48,732 – $51,057 Invoice
14 / 18 MPG City/Hwy
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The GL-Class is Mercedes-Benz' first entry into the full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. The GL features three rows of seating, a four-wheel-drive system with true off-road capability, as well as 7,500 pounds of towing capacity. It also comes with all of the safety and luxury accoutrements that Mercedes customers expect from their vehicles.
Mercedes' research with its own customers revealed that many people who own a Mercedes sedan also own a full-size SUV, purchased instead of Mercedes' own midsize ML-Class. Those customers said the ML simply wasn't large enough for their needs, which included seating for as many as seven people, more cargo capacity than the ML provided, and/or the ability to tow a horse trailer or an Airstream trailer, for example. For many years, Mercedes has offered "civilian" versions of its famed Gelandewagen, a vehicle developed for the German military. The G-Class was rugged and very capable off-road, but it also was very expensive and not quite as comfortable or as luxurious as the extent expected by Mercedes customers in North America. To fill this gap in its product line, Mercedes developed the GL-Class, which is built in the same Alabama factory that builds the ML-Class SUV and the R-Class touring wagon. The GL shares many of its components with its siblings. However, the only shared sheet metal is the front doors, which are used in both the ML and GL.
For model year 2007, two versions of the full-size SUV will be available: the GL450, powered by a 335-hp V-8 engine similar to the one in Mercedes' newest S-Class flagship sedan; and the GL320 CDI featuring a turbocharged, 3.0L V-6 diesel engine that generates 215 hp and an impressive 398 lb.-ft. of torque. One thing that separates the GL-Class from many other full-size SUVs is that it's built with unit-body architecture, not with the traditional separate body and ladder frame. Mercedes says that by using a high percentage of special high-strength steel the GL-Class is strong enough for off-road use and for serious towing while also providing optimized protection for its occupants (the GL comes with front, side, and curtain air bags). Mercedes says the third-row seats were designed for adults, not just for children. Thanks to a huge sunroof that extends overhead, those sitting in the third row won't feel closed in. Whether in the front, second, or third row, each seat has its own reading lamp, air vent, and cup holder.
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class competes in the Large Premium Utility segment, which consists of 13 models. Buyers in this segment look for exterior styling, performance, and comfort, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Cadillac Escalade (39,017 units sold), Lincoln Navigator (23,947), and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (18,776) in its first year on the market. Other models offered in the Large Premium Utility segment include the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Cadillac Escalade ESV, HUMMER H2, Land Rover Range Rover, and Infiniti QX-Series. Joining the segment in 2007 are the Lincoln Navigator L and the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.