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Car review: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL Class

Oklahoman Modified: August 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm •  Published: August 4, 2012
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For off-roaders there's a package that add a low range, a locking center differential, tuned traction and stability control, and adjustable ride height that lifts the GL from 8.5 inches of ground clearance to a full foot. The trio of GL utes can tow up to 7500 pounds, too.

The GL's cabin is bigger and more comfortable than before. It's about an inch longer and an inch wider, and a half inch taller. In front, passenger can ride on ventilated seats with massage controls. The second-row seats can be heated. But the best trick the GL does is its new flip and fold feature. Not only do the power-folding third-row seats stow for more cargo space, the second-row seats tuck away with optional power assistance. It's not as large as a long-wheelbase Escalade, but the GL's interior is just immense.

On the safety front, the GL picks up a slew of new technologies. The usual airbags and stability control join a new 360-degree camera that adapts its display as you dial into a parking spot. The GL can also park itself, with available active park assist. Lane keeping assist nudges it back into a lane if you cross the median, and collision prevention assistance will bring the GL to a stop if it detects an obstacle in the road ahead at speeds of up to 20 mph.

The GL also gains some cool new tech features for the new model year. Mbrace2 is Mercedes' connectivity suite; it links smartphones to the COMAND system, which means you can search Yelp for a great meal or hit Google for web searches while on the road.

Bluetooth is standard on the 2013 GL, and so are HD radio, a sunroof, a power tailgate, and power third row seats. Step up into more expensive models and the GL adds iPod connectivity, satellite radio, a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, and a navigation system--most of which can be ordered as options on other models, along with push button start, Harmon/Kardon or Bang & Olufsen audio, a rear-seat entertainment system, and more exotic selections of wood and leather.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL Class goes on sale this September, priced from $63,305 for the GL 350 BlueTEC turbodiesel. The GL 450 starts at $64,805; the GL 550 at $87,805. All prices include $905 in destination charges. The ultra-powerful GL63 arrives in the first quarter of 2013.