Of all the available GLs, this diesel model is clearly for the steadfast and serious GL buyer. There’s plenty of poke in the low end for pulling into traffic, or for towing, ample upper end to run steady and smooth on the freeway, and virtually no evidence of diesel-ness other than the badges and the fuel filler (which is fitted with a handy AdBlue filler neck for the treatment tank refill). As much as both gas-powered models were equally strong or stronger, this one does the same work with less fuss and while producing my observed nearly 22 mpg of combined city/highway driving.
What’s to like about this GL, or any GL, for that matter? First off, there’s the buttery smoothness in Comfort ride mode, but that tends to make the steering seem a little on the light and nonresponsive side. Dialing up Sport doesn’t hurt the ride too much while providing ample support for the big body and chassis. I could drive or ride in this vehicle for hundreds and hundreds of miles.Walkaround
Electronic nannies aren’t always our favorites, and Mercedes spreads them on in thick layers on this big Benz. But for the most part, as electronics go, these are good ones. The active cruise control remains class-leading (though a little abrupt on some stops in this diesel version versus gas models — wonder why?), the lane-departure warning and nudge is definitive and functional, and the driver awareness warning is truly like having an angel on the dashboard, keeping track of your driving actions and letting you know when you ought to just take a little break. I actually got some real-world experience with the system driving home late at night over the weekend, when the system picked up on my drowsiness, alerted with visual and audio warnings, prompting me to seek out a rest stop for a short nap. While I might have reached that decision on my own, it was helpful to have a little extra encouragement to not “press on” regardless as I think we all too often are inclined to do.
Mercedes hit a home run with this GL — especially this Bluetec model. It ought to be on the consideration list for anyone buying in the luxury SUV market.