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Old 05-19-2007, 10:42 AM   #1
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Default Mercedes-Benz GL420 CDI (Review)

The new GL-class of Mercedes-Benz isn't what one could refer to as a small car. On the contrary, the car is pretty big.

Alright, alright, let's get serious. This car is just the biggest car I've ever seen. It's just a few inches shorter than the Titanic! When you first look at the car from the front, you notice it looks a lot like the ML-class. But then you look at the sides and the rear, and then it becomes clear that you're dealing with a complete different car here. And it drives a lot different too.

The car has a very robust look, it looks like it doesn't 'break' that easily. The design is far from subtle, look at the huge front for example. The bonnet is just a large block with two giant airvents in it, and the nose is about as big as the Cadillac Escalade's. It seems that the German designers just took a large block of steel, and made slight changes to that, so they could fit a few lights and doors in, and named it the GL.

The inside on the other hand, has got Mercedes written all over it. Now, I've never been fond of the old Mercedes interiors, but ever since the new S-class and ML-class came to life, I've radically changed my opinion about that. The new stick for the automatic gearbox is just great, it works great and it looks fantastic! The dashboard looks really nice too, the model I drove had a black dashboard with white stitches, and that gave it just a bit of sporty flavour, which the car needs so desperately in my opinion. There are a few things that are a bit cheap in this car I think. The headlightswitch seems to come right out of any other Asian car, for example. And since almost everybody is putting round turning knobs on their navigation systems and such, the Mercedes four-way buttons seem a bit out-dated.

Back to the sportiness. The seats added to this, black perforated leather fits this car well. Since the car has such a large wheelbase (308 cm), you get lots of space in the backseat. And the same luxurious looks you get in the front seats, well the Germans didn't cut back on that in the rear ones. You can also 'pull' a third row of seats out of the floor in the back of the car, so it's the perfect spacious family car.

How does it drive?
It's always kind of weird to start the new Mercedes cars. Like the other luxurious models of the brand with the star, this car has keyless start and entry. You simply walk to the car, put your hands on the door you want opened, and the door unlocks. Then, a mild press on the engine start button gets this roaring V8 diesel to life. Foot on the brake, and select D to get a surprising drive..

I've driven the 420 CDI engine earlier, but that was in a new E-class. So how does this engine perform in this 2450 kg car? Well, pretty damn good I can tell you. If you press the pedal to the metal, the V8 roars into the zone you don't want your revs to go very long, and then it shifts and the turbo kicks in. I haven't ever witnessed 2,5 tons move so quickly! The factory top speed is 230 kmh, but I think there's more than that. Once I hit the German Autobahn, I thought I'd give it a go. Reaching the 200 kmh mark with incredible ease, I pressed the pedal a bit further.. And once I got up to 230 kmh, the engine was still not willing to stop! But then a yellow Dodge Charger SRT8 pulled up on my rear bumper, and I was forced to withdraw. It's amazing how fast this Mercedes can go, considering its weight.

So the engine is indisputable, but how is the comfort at these speeds? Well, the car is very hard to handle at topspeed. When driving at 230 kmh for several minutes, you notice you need to work really hard to keep the car in the right lane. With bodysizes of 509x192x184 cm, this car is quite the windcatcher. The car starts to swing at these speeds, and that's an encouragement not to go that fast for too long..

The size isn't just inconvenient when traveling at high speeds, it's inconvenient in parking garages as well. I tried manoeuvre the car through the Düsseldorf Flughaven P1 parking garage, but those spiraling paths inthere are quite the challenge. But, I have to say, even considering the size of this car, it was fairly easy in the end to work my way through the garage, due to the fantastic steering of the Merc.

What are the most positive/negative features of the car?

-Buttons on the dashboard are old-fashioned

How do you think this car compares to its direct competition?
There isn't much competition for this car in theory, but we all know that all the other SUV's are competition. This car is just the enormous brother of the ML-class, so it'll only be appealing to people who think that car is too small. The car creates a class of its own, it's just too massive for all the others.

This car is just a real good car to drive. I can't imagine driving this car without a V8, because it weighs that much. So that means that you'd better not pick the 320 CDI, because it simply doesn't deliver enough power. The 500 engine is very good as well, but I think the 420 CDI is just perfect for this car. The amount of torque coming from the 420 CDI (700 Nm) is just what it needs to move the equivalent of almost an elephant around.

Engine - V8 diesel, 3996 cc (common rail)
Power - 225 kW (306 bhp) @ 3600 rpm
Torque - 700 Nm @ 2200 rpm
Weight - 2450 kg
Fuel Tank - 100 l
Max Speed (declared) - 230 km/h
Acceleration (declared), 0-100 km/h - 7.6s
Fuel economy (out of town / town / mixed) - 15,6 / 9,2 l / 11,6 l l/100 km
Tranny - 7 speed, automatic gearbox

Seats - 5 (7, with third row)
Doors - 5
Lenght / width - 5090 / 1920 mm
Height - 1840 mm
Boot - 2300 l (620 l, with third row)

Turning circle - 12,1 m


I didn't have any time to take more pictures, since I needed to get going to the client.. On the picture you can see our caravan in the background, that makes the car look even bigger! This is my first review, comments are welcome and I'll try to do more reviews when I get the chance.
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:23 PM   #2
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Looking forward to driving one of these very much. My Ford diesel lasted me 347000 miles before any major repairs were needed. I'd imagine whilst properly taken care of these new GL's will last a long time.

Get a deal on a Los Angeles Mercedes Benz
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