The 382-horsepower GL550 gains a restyled front bumper. All models get a rearview mirror with integrated compass, what the company refers to as saddle-style second- and third-row head restraints, and the option of blind-spot assist. Another new option is the next generation of telematics, called mbrace, which includes safety and convenience features.
Three-row seating is standard, with the option of a power-folding third row; the cabin also uses real wood trim. A panoramic sunroof also comes standard. Options include three-zone climate control, rear-seat entertainment system, and much more.
The engine with the least horsepower is also the one with the most torque — the 5.5-liter V-8 Premium Gas 400 pound-feet of torque is nine more than the GL550 offers. Steering is linear in the GL, transmission is excellent, and the big SUV does surprisingly well in turns. It weighs nearly 5,500 pounds, yet only takes 6.5 seconds to reach 60 mph and requires 129 feet to stop from that speed.
Nine airbags are standard on the GL-Class — including three-row window curtains — as are stability control, traction control, disc brakes with ABS and brake assist. Also standard are Mercedes’ Pre-Safe system with active front head restraints.