It's been a month since I traded my Lexus LS430 sedan for a 2011 GL 450 SUV. I researched the luxury SUV segment for more than 6 months. I ordered it with the P2 option, entertainment center and other luxury options. After 1000 miles, I realize that German engineering is very different from Japanese. The GL is very quiet, roomy and an attention getter. The drivetrain is excellent and smooth. It is awkward getting in and out of the cabin. Sitting high is excellent for urban driving. Overall, I like this vehicle but am still acclimating to MB luxury. It meets my needs for additional seating with a luxury nameplate. As I expected, the gas mileage is consistent with this segment.
The GL was a dream come true for me at the beginning. One owner, 2011 GL450 with a clean carfax and good looking maintenance history. Purchased from an MB dealer in April 2015. On the upside it was incredibly comfortable, fast, elegant, and as capable of hauling 6 adults in comfort to dinner as it was pulling a trailer with 3 tons of rock. When it was right, it was a thing to behold. When it went wrong, as it often did, it was like getting kicked in the gut. In 12 months and 20k miles: Front Airmatic failure: $2,450 to repair Primary and Secondary Battery Failures: $550 to repair Blown underhood fuse panel: $450 to repair. Standard maintenance for the year: $800, and that was skipping the spark plugs due at 60k which would have been another $600. Insult to injury was the depreciation in just one year: close to 40%. It has gone away and I am back to a nice, reliable, Japanese Infiniti. No need for 7 passenger so I also downsized. The only way this truck makes sense is if you can either do the work yourself, or have no worries about significant unexpected repairs. Wanted one for 25 years and after a year with the Benz, I suggest if you want a 7 passenger SUV that can tow, Dave yourself the heart wrenching experience of a GL and buy a GMC Yukon or Lexus LX570.
Turned in 08 for a new 11 and once again very happy. Navigation is improved but still short of Acura/Lexus. Rear Entertainment screens are nicer but placement is horrible. They should have stayin the headrest. DVD in the center counsel is great location and it would be nice to control the DVD playback from the command not just from one of two remotes. It would be nice if the 550 grill and fender flares could be had as in option. The grill is massive and really sets the GL off with out sucking up all that gas like the 550 not that the 450 is any better.
The GL is a mixed bag of the great and not so great. The latter would include the ride quality and road noise, although my car has the 20 inch wheels and runflat tires, which may be worse than the standard 19 inch wheels. I find the seats to be a bit too firm, but then I find most luxury car seats to be too firm. The nav screen is a joke. It's too small, and the lettering is too small. And I can't read it at all when wearing sun glasses. But the guidance to programmed destinations works well. My car has the running boards, which make getting in and out somewhat awkward. They look good though!
I was delighted with significant improvements in Mercedes GL450 in the last few years. The firm seats are comfortable for both short and long distance driving. As a previous Land Cruiser owner, I am mighy pleased with the third row seats in GL450 as compared to Land Cruiser. It was a very simple push-button to set up the third row seats.