More safety, more luxury and an even more powerful engine combine to create one sweet ride in the Mercedes Benz 2013 GL-Class.
The promotional material for the soon to be released second generation of GL-Class claims it’s “built for people who don’t just drive—but lead the way.”
It’s Mercedes Benz, though, that is leading the way with an entirely new level of safety. It’s what Mercedes Benz is known for now (yes, along with the elite comfort and luxury that literally ooze from the brand).
The vehicle is the ultimate in family transportation. Mercedes Benz recognizes that 90% of its owners are married. Two thirds of them have children. The 2013 model makes more room for those families than ever, with seating for seven in three rows. And the vehicle is jam packed with features that keep that family safe on the road.
From headlights that automatically adjust to suit different weather conditions, to assistants that keep you in your own lane during strong crosswinds, to a system that stabilizes the car on quick turns, safety on road and off road is a priority in this premier package. And get this—there are cameras positioned strategically around the vehicle to help you keep an eye on obstacles, applying more surge to the brakes when you don’t brake hard enough in a potential rear-ender with an object in front of you.
Parking is also a cinch with the 360 degree cameras that offer an all around view of your surroundings. With this kind of vision, you can say the 2013 GL-Class is always “looking out for you”.
It even looks out for you when you might not be IN the vehicle, but someone else is. Thanks to the “geo fence” technology, or Valet Protection, you can receive a text to your smart phone when someone has driven the car faster than your settings have allowed, or outside a certain region that you’ve selected (think of the crazy valet stunts in Ferris Bueller’s day off, or your teenager who is looking to broaden their horizons, so to speak).
But safety isn’t all that’s improved in the 2013 model. Comfort is key, with additional space and perks that include the option of a massage while you’re driving (also available for the passenger up front). You heard right. A massage while you are driving to make long trips more comfortable. They also now integrate seats that offer cooling technology, as well as warmth.
You can keep your drinks hot or cold with the two temperature controlled cup holders. And parents are going to love the electric easy entry systems for seats that move the middle row seats up and out of the way for access to the back with the push of a button.
I haven’t even touched on the new, more powerful engine. To be honest, that’s not my expertise (apologies to my father the mechanic, who tried hard to get me to care). The engineers want you to know this is a powerful, yet efficient, machine, from the GL350 with a 240 horsepower motor to the GL550 with a V8 producing 429 horsepower. It can tow a lot, too, 7500 pounds in fact. And here’s something that does get my attention: fuel consumption. The new GL-Class offers up to 20% reduction in fuel consumption when compared to its predecessor. Who wouldn’t love that?
My only complaint: still not enough cup holders, especially for the middle row. We found two in the fold down-seat back, but if that seat is being used, the kids are going to have to hold their drinks. We all know how that turns out. For a vehicle this price (the GL350 and 450 go for about $65,000 and the GL550 is about $85,000), we should have more cup holders.
My favorite part about the vehicle: just getting into it you FEEL like you are king (or queen in my case) of the road. It’s big and it’s beautiful. But it doesn’t FEEL big. It does feel beautiful. Again, who doesn’t love that?
(Note to readers: I was invited by Mercedes Benz to review this new vehicle and was flown to a resort in New Mexico where I could put the vehicle to the test. I was not otherwise compensated and my opinions remain my own.)