2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Strong acceleration from V8 engines, quiet interior, many available luxury features, comfortable seating, excellent craftsmanship.
  • Ride quality may be floaty for some, second row does not adjust fore and aft, GL550's full load of features jacks up the price.
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List Price Range
$11,020 - $14,997

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Classy and refined, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class rises above the competition with its confident road manners and exquisite build quality.

Vehicle overview

In the full-size luxury SUV segment, many automakers consider "the more ostentatious, the better" to be a design goal. That's why it's nice to see that the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is all about understated class. The GL boasts mechanical sophistication and superior craftsmanship that set it apart from other blinged-out, seven-passenger SUVs. Not surprisingly, this big Benz has been a favorite of ours ever since it debuted two years ago.

This year marks the debut of the diesel-fueled GL320 Bluetec, which replaces the previous GL320 CDI. Unlike the CDI, which wasn't available for sale in California or California-emissions states, the GL320 is 50-state certified, thanks to a new technology that cleans up the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6's emissions by injecting urea into the exhaust. Like the CDI before it, the GL320 Bluetec offers significantly better fuel economy than its gasoline-propelled counterparts do. It also provides adequate power for those who can live without the authoritative thrust of the optional V8s. Price is a consideration, too. Not only does the GL320's sticker price start at $1,000 less than the GL450, but the 2009 GL320 also qualifies for an $1,800 federal tax credit.

The GL-Class models compete with full-size luxury SUVs like the Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus GX 570 and Lincoln Navigator. The domestics certainly have some advantages, particularly in regard to maximum cargo capacity, but they can't match the GL's polish and on-road handling. The GX 570 is just as opulent as the GL, but its demeanor is more off-road-oriented. That leaves the Q7 as the vehicle closest in concept and execution. There's even a forthcoming diesel-powered Audi Q7 TDI to match up against the GL320 Bluetec. You'll certainly want to look at both, but you can't go wrong with the classy and capable 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class models

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a large seven-passenger luxury SUV available in three trim levels. The GL320 Bluetec and GL450 are equipped identically except for their power plants and wheels. The 320 comes standard with diesel power and 20-inch wheels, while the 450 boasts a V8 but downsizes to 19-inch wheels. Standard equipment for both models includes a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, MB Tex leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable heated front seats, a power 50/50-split-folding third-row seat, power rear quarter-windows, the COMAND multimedia interface and an eight-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer, Bluetooth, an SD card reader and an auxiliary audio jack.

Options for the GL450 and GL320 Bluetec include a Premium I package, which adds a power liftgate, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, front-seat memory functions, a power steering column, a 115-volt AC power outlet, parking sensors with a rearview camera and a hard-drive-based navigation system with voice activation, real-time traffic and Zagat restaurant reviews. Also part of this package is a Harman Kardon surround-sound system with satellite radio and HD radio. The premium II package includes all of the Premium I equipment plus adaptive bi-xenon headlights, tri-zone climate control and rear air-conditioning. The heating package adds a heated steering wheel and rear seats, while the full-leather package upgrades the already well-crafted interior. In addition, the GL450 and GL320 Bluetec can be equipped with a GL appearance package that adds 20-inch wheels and various metallic trim enhancements.

The GL550 includes most of the above equipment as standard and adds 21-inch wheels and unique exterior styling details. Stand-alone options include an adaptive damping system, a trailer hitch good for up to 7,500 pounds when properly equipped, heated and ventilated front seats, an iPod/MP3 adapter and a rear-seat entertainment system with 8-inch screens.

2009 Highlights

For the 2009 Mercedes GL-Class, a new diesel-powered GL320 Bluetec model replaces the previous GL320 CDI. The Bluetec model's cleaner emissions allow it to be 50-state legal. There are also some revisions to the GL's standard and optional equipment. Highlights include an enhanced rear-seat entertainment system, hard-drive-based functionality for the navigation system, an updated COMAND interface with a 6.5-inch display and a dedicated iPod connector.

Performance & mpg

The GL320 Bluetec is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that makes 210 horsepower and an impressive 398 pound-feet of torque. The GL450's power plant is a 4.7-liter V8 that makes 335 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. The GL550, meanwhile, gains motivation from a 5.5-liter V8 that churns out 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. All models are equipped with a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

EPA fuel economy estimates vary greatly among models. The 2009 GL320 Bluetec achieves 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, while the GL450 only manages 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined. Not surprisingly, the model with the biggest engine fares even worse, as the GL550 is rated at just 13/17/14 mpg.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class include stability control, antilock brakes, whiplash-reducing front headrests, a driver-side knee airbag, first- and second-row side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags with an integrated rollover sensor. Hill start assist, hill descent control and TeleAid are also included. Buyers of the GL450 and GL320 Bluetec wanting a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors should note that they are only available as part of a premium package. These items are standard on the GL550.

Driving

Power is impressive with either of the V8-powered GLs. Both are quicker to 60 mph than any other comparable large SUV we've tested, including the Audi Q7 4.2 and Cadillac Escalade. The Benz is also pleasantly quiet on the highway, with minimal wind and road noise. The GL320 Bluetec ultimately lacks the oomph of its V8-powered counterparts, but its torquey power delivery is satisfactory under most circumstances. In terms of handling, Mercedes' GL is made for luxury, not for sport, and it shows. For example, the GL's steering is nicely weighted, but it's a tad slow, and the soft suspension might feel too floaty for some drivers. Relative to other full-size SUVs, though, the 2009 Mercedes GL is reasonably agile and maneuverable.

Interior

The GL's cabin is comfortable and luxuriously appointed. Fit and finish is superb, seats are exceptionally supportive and headroom and legroom are ample in nearly every position. However, even though the GL has an updated COMAND interface this year, we've still found it finicky to use. It employs awkward push-buttons on a center-stack-mounted circular control pad instead of the console-mounted control wheel used in the C-Class and S-Class.

Another of the GL-Class' shortcomings is the second row's inability to move fore and aft, as it can get tight with taller occupants seated up front. We do, however, like the one-touch up and down function on all four windows. The flush-folding rear headrests are also a nice touch, as they improve the driver's rearward vision (an innovation missing on Benz's R-Class). Third-row access is also well thought out. With the second- and third-row seats lowered, 83 cubic feet of cargo volume are available -- that's far fewer cubes than in competing models like the Escalade, but it's likely sufficient for most buyers.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

GL450 Falling apart at 65K miles
beachbenz,09/19/2012
I've got a 2009 GL450 with 65K miles. My wife drives it for light suburban driving only. In general, we like the vehicle, but it has been in the shop at least every three months. We are now out of warranty and have had a flood of issues in the past month. Three weeks ago the driver-side door lock mechanism went out. The audio (radio, phone, everything) went out last week and the system needed to be reset. This week, both front struts went out and nearly killed her (car was out of control). The bill for the struts and the doorlock is $5K, but the dealer offered to pick-up some of the tab. I've owned a lot of new mercedes, but won't buy another one.
S-class on stilts
DrBillyD,11/04/2015
GL550 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
The upside: Smooth ride. Precise steering. Powerful acceleration (with the GL550). Fairly capable off road for a vehicle w/o locking differential. Prestige. Comfortable seat(s). The downside: Maintenance cost(s)... E.g. had to replace all for air shocks (front about $1300--each; rear about $900 (for both)), starter motor ($800). Brakes actually last a long time and replacing rotors surprisingly "cheap" at about $350/axle. Tires only last about 20-25K miles (295/40-21) and there's a limited selection--a new set will set you back about $2200. The electronics were capricious--sometimes car wouldn't completely shut down when door opened (i.e. normal shut down is engine off & accessories stay on until door opened. started acting up sometimes where accessories wouldn't power down when door opened & had to open/shut door a few times to get it to shut down). Homelink garage door opener had a button that wouldn't work. EZ-GO door handles had to be replaced. Driver's side mirror folding mechanism broke. When I smelled leaking oil burning on the exhaust manifold, I knew it was time to get rid of it. Bottom line: Surprisingly comfortable and agile for a 7 passenger, 3 ton SUV and most comfortable car/truck I've ever driven. However, after repair issues cited above, I'd be reluctant to own a M-B again..... Update (5/2016): Traded in @ 120K miles. Reading through original review brought back bad memories of astronomical repair bills. There are better choices in the large luxury SUV segment.
Worst car experience
dianeh1,09/21/2013
Will never own a Mercedes again. Non-stop money-pit from the day I bought it to the day I sold it. Beware the air suspension on Mercedes-Benz. Mine went "out" every six months or so. Paint peeled off around the windows just when it was out of warranty. I estimate I spent $6,000 a year in repairs. It is also a huge gas guzzler.
Lemon Flavored Diesel
mgarrison,02/01/2018
GL320 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
Purchase this car in 2014 with 70k miles on it for around 28k. Got an extend warranty for the car and glad we did. The entire rack and pinion steering system had to be replaced at 75k miles which was paid by warranty with a cost of around $4600. The heating element for the def tank went out at a cost of $3300 and the entire tank had to be replaced since they heater is sealed in the tank. That was paid out of our pocket, then we got the dreaded oil cooler leak which is a very common issue on almost every GL diesel which cost right around $4200 to fix as the most the engine has to be taken apart in order to replace the $16.50 oil cooler gasket. Had huge diesel fuel leak due to o-ring issues with the fuel filter, another $250 spent to fix that. Then I the air bag compressor failed, $875 to replace that, then had 1 air bag fail, another $1400. The rear power lift gated failed at cost of close to $2000 to replace it. The final nail in the coffin was the sale of the vehicle for $6500. We had lots safety recalls with the airbags, but Mercedes has failed to do anything to replace them and keep pushing it off claiming that they do not have the parts to replace it and because of these recall no dealer is able to resell the vehicle till Mercedes fixes the issue making it nearly a worthless suv. Sticker price on this suv new was $106,235 as it had every option available on it. Stay away, stay away and please google all the known issue with these vehicles. Don't let our mistake be your mistake!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class features & specs
More about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Overview

The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is offered in the following submodels: GL-Class SUV, GL-Class Diesel. Available styles include GL450 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl 7A), GL550 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A), and GL320 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL450 is priced between $11,020 and$14,997 with odometer readings between 94200 and116287 miles.

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Which used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2009 GL-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,020 and mileage as low as 94200 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz GL-Class lease specials