2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • Room for seven adults
  • authoritative power
  • available fuel-efficient diesel V6
  • classy and quiet interior
  • strong brakes.
  • Ponderous handling
  • overly light steering effort.
Other years
List Price Range
$29,990 - $41,499

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Roomy, powerful and solidly built, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is one of the very best three-row crossover SUVs you can buy.

Vehicle overview

It's the little things that make top-tier luxury vehicles special. It's the solid click as the door closes, or the subtle heft to a button or a knob that lets you know corners weren't cut. Mercedes has been getting the little things right for a long time, and this holds true for the company's largest and most versatile SUV, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Ever since the current GL's latest redesign a few years back, its rivals have been scrambling to keep up.

Of course, there are plenty of family-friendly options that are more affordable than the GL-Class. But if you have the means, the GL-Class is a most tempting lifestyle choice. All-wheel drive is standard on all GL-Class models, as is plenty of ground clearance for the occasional off-road adventure. Materials quality, fit and finish, technology and safety features are all at the top of the class. The available engines range from a fuel-efficient diesel V6 to a pair of muscular gasoline V8s. Few vehicles at any price pack this much luxury and functionality into a single package.

The GL-Class does face some competition at the top. The Land Rover LR4 has serious off-road credentials and nearly matches the GL-Class for total space, while undercutting it on price. You could also check out the Infiniti QX80; it has attitude to spare but falls a bit short on refinement and interior capacity. There's also the aging Lexus LX 570, which remains a contender if off-road prowess is a high priority. All of these competitors are classy and capable, but it's hard to beat the Edmunds "A" rated 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class if you're looking for a large luxury SUV that does it all. Notably, we picked the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class as one of Edmunds' Best Used Luxury SUVs for 2016.

2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class models

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is a large, seven-passenger SUV available in four models: GL350 Bluetec, GL450, GL550 and GL 63 AMG.

The GL350 Bluetec and GL450 have different turbocharged V6 engines (powered by diesel fuel and gasoline, respectively), but are otherwise similarly equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, a self-leveling air suspension, automatic headlights, LED running lights and taillights, a sunroof, automatic wipers, roof rails, rear privacy glass, power rear quarter-windows and a power liftgate. Inside, the standard features list continues with dual-zone automatic climate control, "MB-Tex" premium vinyl upholstery, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), a power-folding third-row seat, a rear cargo area cover, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and genuine wood trim. Electronics highlights include the knob-based COMAND interface, a 7-inch central display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Mercedes mbrace2 emergency communications (including smartphone app integration), a 115-volt household-style power outlet and a sound system that features a CD/DVD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, an SD card reader and a USB port.

The Premium package for these two models adds power-folding exterior mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, keyless entry and ignition, power front head restraints, memory settings for the driver and front passenger seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, heated and cooled cupholders, lighted door sills and multicolor ambient lighting, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system with real-time traffic, voice controls, 10GB of digital music storage, an iPod/media player interface and satellite radio.

The Lighting package bundles adaptive bi-xenon headlights and automatic high beams. The Appearance package includes 20-inch alloy wheels, lighted running boards and chrome exhaust tips (GL450 only). The Lane Tracking package adds a blind-spot monitor and lane-keeping assist, while the Parking Assist package adds front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel-parking system and a surround-view camera system. Also available are three-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and "multicontour" front seats that add a massaging feature and adjustable side bolsters and shoulder supports.

The GL550 starts with all of the above, then adds a V8 engine, 21-inch alloy wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, sporty exterior styling cues, soft-close doors, different wood trim and unique dashboard stitching.

Optional items on all three of the above models (GL350, GL450, GL550) include a panoramic sunroof, heated second-row seats and the Driver Assistance package, which consists of adaptive cruise control and several advanced safety technologies (see the Safety section below for details). The GL450 and GL550 can also be equipped with an On-/Off-Road package that includes a six-mode terrain selector, a two-speed transfer case and front underbody protection; on the GL450, it also adds the GL550's standard adaptive dampers.

The high-performance GL 63 AMG starts with most of the above, then adds an even more powerful V8, a sport exhaust, exclusive 21-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, adaptive stabilizer bars (the "Active Curve System" in Mercedes-speak), AMG-specific styling elements inside and out, enhanced bolstering for the front seats, upgraded "designo" leather upholstery and a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel.

All four GL models can also be outfitted with a trailer hitch, an illuminated grille badge, a heated steering wheel, power-sliding second-row seats for third-row access, rear side window sunshades, a rear entertainment system and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system.

2016 Highlights

For 2016, all GL-Class models come standard with five years of mbrace service, with several new mbrace upgrade packages available.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 engine rated at 240 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Like every other GL-Class model, it features a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. In Edmunds performance tests, the GL350 went from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, a slow time compared to other vehicles in this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is very good, though, at 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway).

The GL450 gets a gasoline-fueled 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, putting it mid-pack in terms of quickness. Like the GL's other gasoline engines, the V6 includes an automated stop-start system, but fuel economy is unremarkable at 19 mpg combined (17 city/21 highway).

The GL550 is propelled by a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 that pumps out 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, it hit 60 mph in a blazing 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy checks in at just 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway).

Last, but certainly not least, is the GL 63 AMG, which features a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at 550 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. It has an AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy numbers are dismal at 14 mpg combined (13 city/17 highway). According to Mercedes, this AMG variant will go from zero to 60 in an absurd 4.8 seconds.

Properly equipped, all GL-Class models can tow a maximum of 7,500 pounds.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, automatic crosswind stabilization, trailer stability assist, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, active front head restraints, a forward collision warning system and a driver attention/drowsiness monitor. Also standard are a rearview camera and the mbrace2 communications system that includes automatic collision notification, an SOS button, stolen vehicle location, geo-fencing, alarm notification and remote door lock/unlock. A five-year subscription to mbrace is standard on all GL-Class models, with optional subscription upgrades available that include perks like a 24-hour personal VIP service.

The available Lane Tracking package (standard on GL550, optional on GL350 and GL450) monitors blind spots and lane-drifting and alerts the driver by vibrating the wheel or emitting a beep. The optional Driver Assistance package (standard on GL 63) adds collision mitigation with automatic braking and "active" blind spot and lane-keeping assist systems that can automatically guide the car back into its lane if the driver fails to heed their warnings.

In Edmunds brake testing, all non-AMG GL-Class models came to a stop from 60 mph in around 115 feet, an exceptionally short distance for such a heavy vehicle with all-season tires.

Driving

Compared to a truck-based full-size SUV like the Cadillac Escalade, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class definitely feels like a cut above, thanks in large part to the smooth ride quality produced by the adaptive air suspension. Handling is solid but rather uninspiring due to the vehicle's size, weight and overly light steering feel. One dynamic bright spot is the GL's impressive brakes, which provide a little extra peace of mind, with stopping abilities on par with some sport sedans.

It's hard to go wrong with any of the available powertrains. The GL350's diesel-powered engine is no speed demon, but it's fine for everyday driving, and the V6's healthy 455 lb-ft of torque gives it enough grunt to pull a good-sized trailer with ease. The GL450's 362-hp gasoline V6 provides V8 thrust without the associated fuel economy. The GL550's 429-hp, 4.6-liter V8 has muscle to spare, making the 550-hp 5.5-liter V8 at the heart of the GL 63 AMG a case of admittedly thrilling overkill.

Interior

One key to the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class's appeal is its cabin. Though the standard MB-Tex vinyl upholstery on GL350 and GL450 models does seem a bit low-budget for a vehicle at this price, you'd probably be hard-pressed to tell it apart from the real leather of some other brands. In general, the materials quality and construction are top-notch. Moreover, the choice of four different kinds of genuine wood trim and optional upgrades like diamond-quilted premium leather seating surfaces make it easy to give the space an even higher-end look and feel.

There's more to the interior than just looking good, though, starting with roomy adult-size accommodations in all three rows. The standard front seats are agreeable enough, but the optional "multicontour" seats with heating, ventilation and massage functions are unquestionably the way to go if you can stomach the added cost. While the GL550 and GL 63 both come standard with the multicontour chairs, the latter gets an upgraded set with aggressive sport bolstering that complements the added performance.

Mercedes' trademark COMAND system uses a large console-mounted knob to access a broad range of settings and controls via menus on the dash-mounted display. It takes a while to completely get the hang of, but it's ultimately an elegant way of managing all this technology without a sea of physical buttons.

When it comes to hauling cargo in addition to (or instead of) people, the GL-Class offers a healthy 16 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats, a number similar to that offered by the trunk of your average midsize sedan. Folding down both sections of the 50/50-split third row gets you 49.4 cubic feet, while dropping both the second and third rows creates a cargo hold with 93.8 cubic feet of space that's comparable to those in other large SUVs.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

GL Diesel: Great SUV Sluggish Performance
Eddie Brannon,12/08/2015
GL 450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
This is one of the finest SUV's available being beat only by Land Rover Range Rover Diesel which lists for about 25-30k more. The GL's acceleration is sluggish and is much less nimble than my X-5 diesel. The GL offers more space than the BMW and has excellent fuel economy given its size. The premium package excludes adaptive xenon headlights and 3 zone climate control which is ridiculous. The standard halogen lights are anemic at best so it is imperative to order any Mercedes with xenon lamps. Do not purchase a Mercedes without upgraded headlights! Another bad call by the manufacturer was not to include as a standard feature 3 zone climate in a vehicle with a third row. Make certain your GL has 3 zone climate control otherwise you can be certain the third row will be very uncomfortable in summer months or warmer climates. My car included the rear seat entertainment package. The operation of this package is by remote controls so is beyond my four year olds ability rendering it useless. Furthermore the rear monitors can only be operated from the rear seats. Skip this package an I-pad is a much better choice. There is only one USB port in this car. Mercedes seems to lag behind its US competitors in amenities and technology. The car has many attributes and is the most practical SUV currently being marketed. Until something better in its class comes to market this still is a hard car to beat.
7 months later and still Love, Love, Love this car
Rocky Mountains Driver,07/09/2016
GL450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A)
My first Mercedes Benz . . . I really researched SUV's, looking for that perfect balance of utility, comfort and reliability. I went out of my way to get one with standard tires, the ride is so much better, smoother. It maybe doesn't look very flashy, but then flash was not something I wanted. The seats could be a little more comfortable, they're only ok, they are hard and begin getting uncomfortable after long hours of driving. The pick-up is smooth and immediate, easy to pass. The Distronic cruise control is beyond wonderful, it makes long drives so much more pleasant and easier too. The entertainment system is excellent, very intuitive and the console knob is very convenient and easy to operate. While the bluetooth phone hooks right up without any problem, connecting your music is a little harder and is my only complaint with the entertainment options. Navigation is great. Over the past 10 years I've driven a couple of Escalades (and every year they are little more uncomfortable and missing another bell or whistle), Tahoe (how much stick on plastic pieces can they fit in the interior?), Navigator (why oh why does Ford/Lincoln not get on board with adaptive cruise control in their most luxurious SUV?). The Mercedes beats them all, on all fronts. It's quieter, smoother, more responsive. Cruise control holds as well going downhill as on a flat surface. We don't need the 3rd row of seats and they fold down easily and flat, creating a large cargo area. MB offers great mats and containers built to fit, making optimal use of the area. Body built in America, engine built in Germany. I turned off the lane minder feature, I found the vibration and gentle guide back into my lane aggravating, would probably turn it on if I was driving sleepy, otherwise it's just too sensitive. Overall, great vehicle . . . I hope it continues to exceed my expectations.
Best SUV I have ever owned
J F Meyer,02/20/2017
GL 550 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A)
I have owned many luxury SUV's over the years and my GL550 has been the most all satisfying SUV that I have owned. You can usually find one thing to like about any SUV, but when the product receives high marks in every category of owner satisfaction, I am inclined to believe I have found the best in class for the moment. This is my second GL550, and that should be an indication of my satisfaction, as I also shopped other luxury brands before buying the second GL550. I have every option on my GL550, and that's how I generally order all my new vehicles, as that tends to increase owner satisfaction, but the basic unit is solid and sets a high bar of meeting expectations in this category. I have the upgrade Designo interior in my current GL550, and find this expensive option to be worth every dollar, as the seat comfort on long trips is exceptional to the standard seat. Our Audi A8 has the upgraded Audi interior, and has the most comfortable seats in the industry (pretty much sets the bar for comfort), and the GL550 gets as close as anything to an Audi interior experience. The Mercedes product line is very customizable to personal taste, so I suggest that you pick your salesman carefully, so that you receive a exceptional experience in learning about the product before buying. As a note of caution, I have friends that felt conflicted after taking delivery of their new Mercedes cars, because after a couple weeks of ownership, they learned about what their car did not have, which included many items that they expected to be included, because they were talking too and buying from an inexperienced salesman. I have done a follow-up review of my previous comments shown above, and I still stand by the original comments. This industry segment is becoming crowed with new entries into the luxury segment, but the value of the new entries is questionable when you looking at starting prices that would scare a Billionaire. I am anxiously waiting for the totally redone 2020 Mercedes Benz GLS. I now have forty-thousand miles on my GL, and I have had zero issues. I replaced the original equipment summer-tires with all-season Continental tires and that change actually improved handling, ride, and traction on wet roads. Gone are the days of hydroplaning on wet or slushy roads, I hope. I am now at 70,000 miles and just replaced the brake calipers for the first time. The all-season tires are still better than the original equipment, but they also hydroplane after 20,000 miles. I have to blame the width of the tires for this aggravation. My last set of tires started vibrating at about 18,000 miles, and the mechanic said they have seen this happen on several suv's with wide tires. Their theory is that the suspension is not structurally strong enough to handle the lateral forces being applied to the wide tires, and results in the tires wearing uneven with flat spots about the perimeter of the tire. It was very visible when looking at the tires that the wear pattern was spotty and uneven around the tire. The vehicle itself has been a pleasure to own and I am anxiously waiting for the 2020 GLS release. I am always shopping for my next suv and the market is getting saturated with great suv's. But in the GLS class, there are few brands that offer the same luxury and owner satisfaction in this size vehicle. I am now at 80,000 miles and have just placed an order for the newest 2020 edition GLS 580. Many technology improvements, as well as an array of options to personalize the car. I considered the BMW X7, the SWB full size Range Rover, and the updated 2020 Audi Q7. The SUV field is getting crowded with every brand chasing after SUV customers. My feelings are that Only Ford and Lincoln understand luxury among the US manufacturers, and that is a recent epiphany on their part. GM will never understand luxury. Mercedes has stepped-up significantly, to push more luxury in the GLS model. I am not in favor of a Mercedes/Maybach Luxury SUV, because it will negatively impact and limit how far Mercedes will consider expanding luxury features into the GLS model. How else do you justify the Maybach SUV's price, other than hold back the GLS.
Don't be fooled by the Mercedes Badge
Carl D,02/13/2017
GL 550 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A)
The GL550 is quick, looks good, and is made of high quality materials. My sticker was 95K. I enjoyed the vehicle for about 900 miles., but prior to 5k Miles there was over 6k worth of warranty work that included tires, transmission, window seals, and an HVAC smell that was similar to mold. This was my first Mercedes and my hopes were very high. I knew a lot of folks that had E and S series sedans and they mostly had no issues. If you spend the time to look very closely to consumer complaints and ratings of this vehicle you'll soon find out that the quality is sub-par across the board. Maintenance costs, breakdowns, ongoing known issue that should generate recalls but instead generate TB's (Technical Bulletins) that outline the known issues but give the dealership the "flexibility" to address the fix at their own discretion. Take the time to investigate the customer issues and total cost of ownership and you'll find this is a poor choice. I traded mine in at 19200 miles because I just got fed up with the downtime in the shop and all of the overall issues.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class features & specs
More about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Overview

The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is offered in the following submodels: GL-Class GL 63 AMG, GL-Class SUV, GL-Class Diesel. Available styles include GL 450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 7A), GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 7A), GL 550 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A), and GL 63 AMG 4dr SUV AWD (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL 450 4MATIC is priced between $32,999 and$36,995 with odometer readings between 39493 and52174 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL 550 4MATIC is priced between $38,966 and$39,500 with odometer readings between 53344 and69712 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC is priced between $29,990 and$29,990 with odometer readings between 58100 and58100 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL 63 AMG is priced between $41,499 and$41,499 with odometer readings between 57304 and57304 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 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) 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2016 GL-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $29,990 and mileage as low as 39493 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 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

Can't find a used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GL-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $25,269.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 3 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $15,308.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz GL-Class for sale - 5 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $16,619.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 1 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $7,797.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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