What Changed for 2009:
- New 50-state GL320 BlueTec diesel model replaces GL320 CDI
- Pre-Safe preventive occupant protection now standard
- Keyless Go added to GL550 standard equipment
- New standard COMAND system with 6.5-inch display
- Available rear entertainment includes twin 8-inch screens
- Zagat restaurant information included with optional navigation
- Class V (7500-pound) trailer hitch available
One of the newest offerings in the current Mercedes-Benz lineup is the full-size GL-Class sport utility vehicle (SUV), which premiered as a 2007 model. While the all-new, 7-passenger GL-Class was originally designed to replace the 5-passenger G-Class-a rugged truck-based SUV in production for decades-Mercedes chose instead to manufacture both. Sharing the same unibody architecture as the smaller, 5-passenger M-Class, the full-size GL-Class is the largest and most luxurious SUV offering from Mercedes-Benz.
In 2008, a flagship GL550 model was introduced with a 5.5-liter V-8 engine, 21-inch wheels, fender flares and a new front grille. For 2009, a new GL320 BlueTec model with a diesel engine that can be sold in all 50 states, has replaced the previous GL320 CDI. Third member of the group is the GL450, with a 4.5-liter V-8 engine.
A new COMAND system for 2009 features a more colorful 6.5-inch display screen, along with an in-dash, 6-CD/DVD changer and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity. New standard equipment includes the Pre-Safe preventive occupant protection system. Additional new options include an iPod/MP3 interface, high-definition radio, and a hard-disk drive for navigation and storing 4 gigabytes of music. The available navigation system can display Zagat restaurant information, and an enhanced voice control operates the audio, navigation and phone systems. Mercedes-Benz vehicles are covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty.
The three 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class models are differentiated by engine and standard-equipment levels. The entry-level model is the new 6-cylinder diesel-powered GL320 BlueTec. Unlike its predecessor, the GL320 CDI, it may be sold in all 50 states. Interiors feature genuine wood trim, 8-way power front seats, and a Panorama sunroof above the third-row seats. To provide a flat cargo floor, the seats may be stowed electrically at the push of a button. Standard equipment on the GL320 BlueTec includes dual-zone climate control, heated seats, COMAND cockpit management, load-leveling suspension, and a 6-CD/MP3 changer in the glove box. The GL450 shares much of the same equipment, but uses a gasoline-based V-8 engine. Mercedes-Benz says nearly all previous options are now standard on the GL450.
Added for 2008, the GL550 is equipped with a more powerful V-8 engine, standard leather upholstery, adaptive self-leveling air suspension, 21-inch AMG wheels, running boards, fender flares, infrared reflecting glass, Keyless Go, and a harman/kardon Logic7 digital surround-sound audio system, to name just some of the upgraded equipment.
Most of the optional equipment on GL-Class models is bundled into two related premium packages. These include options such as DVD navigation, rear back-up camera, satellite radio, power liftgate and cargo net, along with 3-zone climate control and steering-linked adaptive bi-Xenon headlamps. All models may be equipped with a 610-watt digital harman/kardon Logic7 audio system, as well as a rear-seat entertainment system with two 8-inch screens and a dual-source DVD player.
The three 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class models are each powered by a different engine. The GL320 BlueTec features a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, V-6 diesel engine rated at 210 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. EPA mileage estimates are 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway-1 mpg less in each category than the prior GL320 CDI model. Under the front hood of the GL450 is a 4.6-liter V-8 engine rated at 335 hp and 339 lb.-ft. of torque. EPA mileage estimates are 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway. The GL550 is equipped with a powerful, 5.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 382 hp and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 13 mpg city/17 mpg highway. All GL-Class vehicles are equipped with a driver-adaptive, electronic, 7-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic, a full-time electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system.
In the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, both driver and front passenger are protected by dual-stage front air bags, side-impact air bags, and emergency tensioning 3-point safety belts. Second-row passengers are provided with side-impact air bags and pre-tensioning seat belts. Third-row seats are also equipped with pre-tensioning seat belts. Window curtain air bags are designed to deploy along the front and side door windows during an accident, or if the system determines a rollover is imminent. The driver also has a knee air bag. Active front head restraints move nearly 2 inches, and up about an inch, in the event of a severe rear collision, Mercedes says. The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) system is standard on second- and third-row outboard seats.
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
For 2009, the diesel-engine GL320 CDI has been replaced by the GL320 BlueTec. Unlike its predecessor, the GL320 BlueTec may be sold in all 50 states. The new BlueTec diesel system includes an oxidation catalyst and a no-maintenance particulate filter. A NOx storage converter combines with an SCR catalytic converter to reduce NOx emissions. An AdBlue system injects an aqueous urea solution into the exhaust flow, releasing ammonia that reduces NOx to nitrogen and water. The system injects the proper amount of AdBlue, according to engine load and speed. The AdBlue tank must be refilled approximately every 10,000 miles, according to Mercedes.
The newly standard Pre-Safe system can sense an impending collision and take protective measures before it occurs. These actions include tightening front seat belts, moving the front passenger seats, closing the side windows, and sliding the sunroof shut if the system detects an impending rollover.
Mercedes equips each 2009 GL-Class with \"SmartKey.\" The core of the SmartKey is a small, plastic 4-button fob allowing the operator to lock/unlock the doors and trunk, lower the windows to ventilate the car, sound a panic alarm, and unlock the ignition. Unlike other remote devices, the SmartKey communicates with the vehicle through both radio frequency and infrared wireless technology. This dual-mode transmission, with a continuously changing rolling security code, offers an extremely high level of vehicle protection, the automaker says. SmartKey technology can be combined with \"Keyless Go\" to allow convenient touch-style locking/unlocking of the vehicle, and key-free ignition control with push-button starting.