If you need an incredibly safe, quiet, four wheel drive SUV that seats 7, handles well, is super comfortable and gets great full economy, this is your vehicle.
I love driving my 2012 Mercedes GL 350 Blutec and you will too. For such a big vehicle, it’s pretty nimble around town and on long trips it’s amazingly comfortable. Plus, there just aren’t that many all wheel drive SUV’s out there that get 24 MPG on the highway and 19 or so around town.
Inside, this Mercedes GL350 has lots of creature comforts including an excellent sound system complete with satellite radio, heated and air conditioned seats, air suspension, electric assist rear door, electric assist third row seats, sun roof, etc.
And because this SUV can hold 26.4 gallons of diesel fuel, the range on this vehicle is about 580 miles on a full tank. REMEMBER, diesel fuel only.
Below are some impressions of the 2012 Mercedes GL350 Blutec taken from an article published by TheDieselDriver.com.
“The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class made its debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in New York and was designed with the North American market in mind. It is currently offered in three versions, the GL350 BlueTec, with a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-charged diesel engine, the gasoline-powered GL450, with a 4.6-liter V-8, and the GL550, which comes with a 5.5-liter gasoline V-8.
The GL is manufactured alongside the M-Class and R-Class at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which opened in 1997 with the first-generation M-Class. Compared to its somewhat boxy sibling, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class GL350 is downright sleek.
As a seven-passenger diesel-powered SUV, it competes with one car, the Audi Q7 TDI. It is one of the five Mercedes-Benz diesels available in the U.S. (the others are the Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec, the Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec, the Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTec, and the Mercedes-Benz R350 BlueTec), and is a nominee for the 2012 Diesel Car of the Year.
INSIDE THE MERCEDES-BENZ GL350
The GL’s design gives the impression of a somewhat smaller vehicle, despite its large dimensions. Indeed, the third row of seats is somewhat unexpected when one opens the door and looks inside.
The front is nothing if not roomy and seat comfort was excellent. The third row is suitable for two adults but this would be only for relatively short trips.
Standard features include heated power front seats, walnut trim, a glass sunroof plus a fixed glass panel over the third row of seats. The third row seats, incidentally, can be folded down electrically, either separately or together. When folded, the GL has a totally flat cargo floor with 43.8 cubic feet of space. If one folds down the second row as well, there’s over 83 cubic feet of cargo room.
In my week with the GL350 BlueTec, I was able to drive it under a variety of conditions including winding roads, suburban streets, and midtown traffic. The cavernous rear proved useful several times (with all seats folded down) and, while it took a bit of time to get to cruising speed, it was quite content when making its way down the highway at 70 mph (113 km/h).
My fuel economy exceeded the car’s EPA rating, both for city and highway driving. Overall, after one week, I saw 23.1 mpg (10.2 l/100 km) after mixed city and highway driving.
MERCEDES-BENZ GL350: THE ENGINE
The GL350 BlueTec shares Mercedes’ time-tested BlueTec 3.0-liter diesel engine with the R-Class and E-Class diesels sold in the U.S. The new ML-Class has a more powerful version of this engine and we’ll probably see that in next year’s GL-Class as well.
The turbocharged V-6 produces 210 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque. By contrast, the petrol variant, a 4.6-liter V-8, produces 335 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque. The difference is in the fuel economy.
The oilburner is rated at 17 mpg (13.8 l/100 km) in the city and 21 mpg (11.2 l/100 km) on the highway, while the gasoline variant comes in at 13 mpg (18.1 l/100 km) and 18 mpg (13.1 l/100 km) respectively. By contrast, the R350 BlueTec, a six-passenger crossover, got an EPA rating of 18 mpg (13 l/100 km) in city driving and 24 mpg (9.8 l/100 km) on the highway.
Both GLs come with Mercedes-Benz’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Steering-wheel paddles and the column-mounted shifter that is Mercedes standard fare are present here as well.
SAFETY FEATURES IN THE MERCEDES-BENZ GL350
The GL350 BlueTec is available with Blind Spot Assist, which uses cameras to monitor blind spots behind the vehicle. If a driver activates the turn signal while a vehicle is in the blind spot, he will get visual and audible warnings.
Mercedes-Benz’ Neck-Pro active front head restraints (I think it’s frowned upon to call them headrests nowadays) will move forward almost two inches and up one inch in the event of a severe collision in order to support the head and reduce the likelihood of whiplash occurring. Pre-Safe will take multiple measures to protect occupants in the event it senses an impending collision. These include tightening the seat belts, moving the front passenger seat to a more protected position, closing the side windows and, in the even of a rollover possibility, closing the sunroof.
It’s surprising that there are only two seven-passenger diesel SUVs available in the U.S., but diesel is clearly a smart choice here. Not only is there no price premium for a diesel in the GL-Class lineup but the diesel is actually $1,000 cheaper than the entry-level gasoline-powered GL.”
In addition, the GL350 BlueTec is comfortable, handles well for a vehicle of its size, and has gobs of torque. If that’s not enough to go diesel, then I’m not really sure what is.