Mercedes-Benz's seven-passenger GL-Class gets a hefty redesign for 2013 with all-new styling inside and out. It's not just a new pretty face; interior room and standard features have increased, plus two new turbocharged V-8 engines and a re-engineered diesel V-6 are now under the hood.
All versions of the GL (GL350, GL450 and GL550) are longer, wider and taller than the outgoing luxury SUV. Occupants in all three rows have more shoulder, elbow and headroom, Mercedes says. Although we never complained about the previous GL's interior noise levels when cruising down the highway, Mercedes says noise, vibration and harshness, which is known as NVH, has been addressed. According to Mercedes, NVH in the GL now matches that of the $91,800 S-Class sedan.
One area where we hoped to see an improvement has been addressed for 2013: the interior. While not offensive as far as quality goes, the previous SUV's interior styling was bland. The new cabin shares more similarities with Mercedes' recent sedans than the previous GL. Up front, a new high-resolution screen sits between the main gauges, while the main multimedia screen is moved to the top of the dashboard.
The GL350, GL450 and GL550 engines have boosted output numbers for 2013 and what Mercedes calls a "substantial improvement" in fuel economy, though numbers haven't been announced. The GL350's diesel V-6 has been tweaked for an additional 30 horsepower and 55 pounds-feet of torque over the 2012 engine. The GL450 and GL550 now have twin-turbocharged V-8s under their hoods, with the GL450 making 362 hp — up 27 hp — and GL550 making 429 hp, up 47 hp.
A collision prevention system comes standard. It tracks decreasing distances between the SUV and other cars as well as fixed objects. When a collision is detected, the system alerts drivers with an audible and visual warnings and prepares brake assist to give maximum stopping effort. Also standard is an Attention Assist to alert sleepy drivers and Crosswind Stabilization to keep the GL composed in high winds. Optional equipment includes blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a surround-view camera.
One thing you'll still have to pay extra for is genuine leather interior. Like the previous GL, Benz's MB-Tex imitation leather is standard. The old GL's MB-Tex was a convincing effort, however. Pricing of the 2013 GL hasn’t been announced, though the 2012 GL350 starts at $61,570.