2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent V8 performance
  • high standard of luxury
  • comfortable and quiet seating for seven
  • fuel-efficient diesel engine.
  • More expensive than competitors
  • non-adjustable second-row seats
  • antiquated COMAND interface.
Other years
List Price Range
$13,450 - $19,966

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Classy and refined, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class rises above the competition with its confident road manners and excellent build quality. It is quite pricey, however.

Vehicle overview

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class means to provide family transportation for up to seven people and do so while showcasing the engineering and craftsmanship one expects from a vehicle wearing the three-pointed star. While there are plenty of family-friendly SUVs and plenty more luxury SUVs, the Mercedes GL is one of the few that can be both.

Unlike many other large luxury SUVs, the GL-Class is not based on a truck chassis, so it boasts better road manners and interior packaging than a truck-based SUV. Its comfortable and composed ride is worthy of a Mercedes luxury sedan, and while it can be cumbersome to maneuver in tight quarters, the GL boasts superior handling compared to similarly sized rivals. And, of course, like any true Mercedes, the interior boasts excellent quality and construction.

There are three different members of the GL-Class: the diesel-powered GL350 Bluetec and the V8-powered GL450 and GL550. Choosing one can be accomplished by determining whether your priority is thriftiness or speed. The diesel achieves high fuel economy but pokey acceleration. The V8 models are pigs on gas and rabbits in a straight line.

As solidly built and impressive as the 2012 Mercedes GL-Class is, however, it's hard to justify its sky-high price. Competitors like the Audi Q7 and Land Rover LR4 are upwards of $15,000 cheaper; the Infiniti QX is about $3,000 less but has vastly more standard features. If it's road-tripping cargo capacity you want, the Cadillac Escalade EXT will carry considerably more. Considering this, you'll probably want to do some comparison shopping, but overall the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL is hard to beat for the way it combines both the family and luxury roles.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class models

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a seven-passenger large luxury SUV available in three trim levels that correspond to engine: GL350 Bluetec, GL450 and GL550.

The GL350 Bluetec and GL450 both come standard with a self-leveling air suspension, automatic headlights, LED running lamps, automatic wipers, power third-row quarter-windows, a sunroof, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air-conditioning controls, heated 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), MB Tex premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the Mercedes COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth, Mercedes mbrace emergency communications system and an eight-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer and an auxiliary audio jack. The GL350 Bluetec has 20-inch wheels while the GL450 has 19s.

The Premium 1 package adds a rearview camera, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a power liftgate, a power passenger seat, front seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a navigation system, an iPod/USB audio interface, satellite radio and HD radio. The Premium 2 package includes all the above equipment and adds keyless ignition/entry (available separately) and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system. The Full Leather package adds leather upholstery, upgraded head restraints and interior ambient lighting. The Lighting package adds self-cleaning and adaptive bi-xenon headlamps.

Stand-alone options on the GL350 and GL450 include parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, running boards, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and three-zone automatic climate control.

The GL550 includes all of the above optional items as standard equipment.

Options available on all GL-Class models include a trailer hitch, a heated steering wheel and a rear-seat entertainment system.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class gets standard LED running lamps.

Performance & mpg

The Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel that produces 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. As with every GL-Class, a seven-speed automatic transmission and "4Matic" all-wheel drive are standard. Mercedes estimates the GL350 will go from zero to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds. That's pretty slow, but at least the Bluetec gets pretty good fuel economy with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

The GL450 gets a gasoline-powered 4.7-liter V8 good for 335 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, the GL450 went from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Fuel economy suffers, however, with an EPA-estimated 13/18/15.

The GL550 gets a 5.5-liter V8 good for 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, it needed 6.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. Fuel economy stands at 12/17/14.

Safety

Every 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class comes with stability control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, first- and second-row side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing head restraints fitted to all seven seats. Hill start assist, hill descent control and the Mercedes mbrace emergency communications system are also standard. A blind-spot warning system and a rearview camera are standard on the GL550 and optional on the others.

In Edmunds brake testing, we measured braking distances from 60 mph to zero in the low 120-foot range -- excellent for a large SUV.

Driving

There's no lack of power with either of the two V8s, and both are capable of smoking the competition. If getting off the line doesn't mean all that much to your driving pleasure, the GL350's V6 diesel is more economical but delivers plenty of low-speed punch around town and is so quiet, only the badging gives it away. Quietness, in fact, is the 2012 Mercedes GL's most endearing trait.

The steering is nicely weighted and provides excellent straight-line tracking. Handling in general is better than that of similarly large luxury SUVs, but is quite cumbersome compared to smaller luxury crossovers from BMW and Porsche.

Interior

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL's cabin is comfortable and luxuriously appointed. Fit and finish is superb, the seats are exceptionally supportive and headroom and legroom are ample in nearly every position. Its third row is even big enough to seat two average-sized adults in comfort, which is something the Audi Q7 can't do. On the other hand, if the second-row seats could slide fore and aft there would be more legroom in both the second and third rows. The GL provides 83 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume, which falls below competing SUVs like the Infiniti QX56 and Land Rover LR4, not to mention the Cadillac Escalade.

While the amount of available in-car electronics is plentiful, the COMAND electronics interface that controls most of them is outdated and can be frustrating to use. It relies on a less convenient four-way directional button pad (like an old video game controller) rather than the new multipurpose knob found in the ML-Class and other more recently introduced Mercedes models.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

5(45%)
4(11%)
3(11%)
2(22%)
1(11%)
3.6
9 reviews
Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Love at first sight!
m_taylor,10/25/2011
Absolutely in love with my GL450, Great deal from MB of Tyson Conner, VA. Mr. Ayman Elasady gave us great support in making this deal happen. My GL is Black with impeccable styling. For 2012 the LED DRL's are standard and they really make the GL stand out. Great head turning ability as I drive on the highway. The V8 under the hood really make this thing move, and the sounds great. Not really happy with future tire selection for the 19" inch rims, but I am satisfied with current tires. The Continentals do not get good ratings online for snow traction I will find out this winter. Cornering on winding back roads at speeds of 45-60 mph great, handles like C class sports model. No real body sway noted. Command center still is outdated electronics is not MB's thing. I typically use the Mbrace iphone app to search for address, and destinations to send to the GL's Command GPS system much quicker than trying to enter by voice or manually. But overall still in love. The backup camera upgrade, & blind slide assist. are must haves. I have parked the GL in some very tight spots on the Mall in downtown DC, without the camera I would not have attempted. But with the camera parking was a breeze. The Honeymoon has only lasted 1,500 miles so far so good. I looked at the Lexus GX460, LX 570, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX56, and Ford Expedition King Ranch Edition. For my money this American Made SUV has room for 7 adult (Even in the 3rd row, I am 6'1" and very comfortable back there) and power to match. I will report on the towing capabilities later this spring 2012.
My two GLs are the two worst cars we've ever owned
RC,07/12/2017
GL350 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A)
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.
Our 2nd GL. Won’t be the last
Edgar,08/16/2018
GL450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl 7A)
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.
2012 Model Year - good riddance
Hey Speed,03/05/2019
GL450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl 7A)
There is a reason that 2012 was the last year for this version of the model. It was designed in probably 2006 before today's expectations of what should be standard in a car. Its a Mercedes through and through - some wonderful technology relative to the driving experience, so-so relative to interior comfort, a bit utilitarian, and small for a giant/heavy car. Back seats way to small for adults to be comfortable and forget getting adults into the 3rd row. If the car is primarily driven by one person, its wonderful for the road. Not so for suburban errands....

Features & Specs

MPG
13 city / 18 hwy
Seats 7
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
335 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
17 city / 21 hwy
Seats 7
7-speed shiftable automatic
Diesel
210 hp @ 3400 rpm
MPG
12 city / 17 hwy
Seats 7
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
382 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class features & specs
More about the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Overview

The Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is offered in the following submodels: GL-Class SUV, GL-Class Diesel. Available styles include GL450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl 7A), GL350 BlueTEC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A), and GL550 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL450 4MATIC is priced between $13,450 and$14,991 with odometer readings between 97687 and143661 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL550 4MATIC is priced between $14,995 and$19,966 with odometer readings between 76922 and134035 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL350 BlueTEC is priced between $14,027 and$14,990 with odometer readings between 101516 and121355 miles.

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Which used 2012 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) 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for sale near. There are currently 13 used and CPO 2012 GL-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,450 and mileage as low as 76922 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 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

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Find a used Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $18,995.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $17,723.

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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