Fantastic SUV for a large family. Accommodates our 3 kids, very large dog, great for skiing trips, adventures and family outings. Super safe, comfortable, decent fuel consumption, fairly reliable. At 80k-90k miles, be prepared for a major repair bill of air bags needed to be replaced.
Comfortable. Handling is just so-so. Brakes are great. Impressive towing capacity. Fuel economy is incredible - 15 towing a 6,000 pound boat; 27+ on the highway. But after spending $3,500 replacing the pneumatic suspension air pump and various parts in my E350 4Matic wagon I should have been prepared for the $4K I've now spent on the GL350. A real Achilles heel for Mercedes. Engine air pump leak and battery replacement drained another $2K. Seemed like a good buy used at $26K but after one year I'm at about $33K. Hoping the (known) oil cooler seal leaking problem doesn't occur since it's about $3K. If diesel prices weren't so low and the fuel economy so high I'd be very dissatisfied with the purchase.
We have had two purchased-new GLs, a gas 2007 model and a diesel 2012 model. The 2007 started falling apart almost immediately, with the ball joints and two of the air shocks dying at 15,000 miles. The other two shocks gave out within 5k miles. Our 2012 diesel was good for the first three years, but has recently been in the shop five times in four months, each time for multiple days. This has included: two air shocks dying, a replacement shock leaking, power steering pump leaking and dying, adblue heater dying, and some sort of coolant/water leak. The truck is back in again, as it has yet another leak and a clunking sound when it starts moving. Note that the oil change on these is over $1000, and the tires need to be replaced every year for $2000. We are still under warranty, but I am dumping this piece of junk when the extended warranty ends. The 2012 model had supposedly improved the problems of the 2007, but in my experience it is yet another expensive junker.
Update: The clunking sound in the 2012 GL was due to a broken motor mount. The vacuum pump was also found to be defective during this monthly repair, and was spewing some sort of oil all over the motor. There is no way I would own this car without a warranty.
***Update 2: Edmunds requested I update this review. We ended up trading in the 2012 GL, after it went into the dealership for the sixth time in 5 months, each for a different, major problem. We traded in the GL and my CLS, and got two Audis instead. I will never buy a MBZ again, and I strongly recommend you run as quickly as you can from the GL.
Traded in my perfectly fine and paid off 5 year old Odyssey for a CPO 2012 GL 450. 4 years later I still have my GL. What's to love, the commanding road feel, adequate power , may be slightly more than adequate power, good traction in snow, seat for 7 (although I miss my odyssey in that case), low road and wind noise. Excellent crash test ratings. The cons, maintenance is expensive, breaks and tires wear out faster than most cars/vans, airmatic suspension is prone to failure and when it does it will be expensive. I had had 2 airmatic replacements under warranty. Drinks gas!
No more problems in the last couple of years. Just had to do regular maintenance