The Mercedes Benz GL 350CDi BlueEFFICIENCY Luxury is somewhat of a dark horse in the luxury 4WD SUV market. It is unbelievably capable but rarely sees more dirt than the dusty driveway at the country property.
The inside is positively cavernous. The driver’s seat is supremely comfortable. Multi adjustments combined with the electrically adjustable leather steering wheel means that you can find the perfect driver’s position. The seat has more than enough travel for my 190cm frame and still leaves ample room behind.
The steering wheel, with multi controls, frames the twin dial instrument panel. The centre area houses the multi function display. The transmission lever on the steering column takes a little getting used to. The benefit is that there is more tangible centre console space.
The second row of seats is very comfortable with plenty of head, shoulder and legroom. More suited to two with semi individually sculptured seats there is however, ample room for three.
The third row of seats is comfortable enough for me to sit in with ample head and shoulder room. In fact they are the best third row seats bar none in any 4wd on the market. To compliment the comfort the THERMATIC automatic climate control system provides consistent temperature for all seven seats.
The rear individual seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a button. With the second row also folded flat the load area is long enough for me to lie flat with room at each end. Access is easy with the electronic tailgate.
The GL 350 CDi BlueEFFICIENCY Luxury is absolutely packed full of goodies and safety and pedestrian protection. There are way too many features to list here but it has everything you could imagine plus more.
The V6 diesel unit in the GL 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY model has an output of 195Kw and a maximum of 620Nm of torque. The seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic works seamlessly with the powerful diesel motor. 4MATIC – the permanent all-wheel-drive system works together with the powerful engine and 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission to provide outstanding handling whatever the conditions.
The multi-talented AIRMATIC air suspension provides outstanding on-road comfort with substantially enhanced directional stability and additional clearance off road.
Off road the GL 350 CDi BlueEFFICIENCY will surprise most with its abilities thanks to electronics and good design. It effectively has front and rear diff locks. The places where you can go are generally limited by its size, tyre choice and your bravery. Given its size all round visibility is a positive feature.
Two of the things that make the GL so popular with the horse and boat groups are that it will tow 3400kg with ease (braked) and has a 100L fuel tank. Handling, when pulling a trailer is no less impressive thanks to ESP® Trailer Stabilisation.
Is the Mercedes Benz GL 350 CDi BlueEFFICIENCY the best 7 seat 4WD SUV in Australia? Some of its compatriots may be better in some areas but I don’t believe any have a better overall balance.
What is good:
• Comfortable 7 seats
• Off road ability
• Diesel Motor transmission combination
What is not so good:
• Overall size
• Finding off road tyres
Model Mercedes Benz GL 350 CDi Blue EFFICIENCY Luxury
Model Price $143,056 RDAP
Drivetrain 4WD 3.0L CDi V6 7G-TRONIC
Power 195 Kw @ 3,800 rpm
Torque 620 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,400 rpm
Safety 5 Star ANCAP (ML)
CO2 Emissions 242 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 3 Star
Economy (ADR comb) 9.2 L/100km
Tow Capacity – Max 3400 kg
Tow Ball Rating 273 kg
Servicing $ Not Supplied
Warranty 3yr/ unlimited km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 95/100
Behind the Wheel 10
Ride & Handling 10
Fit for Purpose 10
Towing Ability 9
Off Road Ability 9
Value for Money 8