$27,309 - $45,951

2015 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class was new.


Performance: 8.3

Reviewers say you'll get plenty of power from any 2015 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class model you choose, but some say the base GL350 BlueTEC has enough power, plus good fuel economy, for most buyers. Reviewers like the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class' comfortable ride and say it handles well for an SUV of its size. While some critics find its steering to be too light, others think it's accurate and quick. A few reviewers note that the brakes are strong.

  • "Compared to a truck-based full-size SUV like the Cadillac Escalade, the 2015 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." -- Edmunds
  • The GL's reputation for excellence is bolstered by impeccable build quality, enviable safety ratings and a sophisticated suspension that delivers one of the most comfortable yet dynamic rides of any full-size luxury crossover SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This benign three-row crossover, attractive in its own big-box way, happens to be the most engaging, best-handling CUV this reviewer has ever tested, on road or off." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "Previous sampling of both the GL350 diesel and GL550 V-8 reveal them to be equally civilized machines, at home on high-speed cross-country treks as well as low-speed crosstown errands." -- Cars.com (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2015 GL350 BlueTEC is powered by a turbodiesel, 3.0-liter, V6 engine that produces 240 horsepower. The GL450 has a twin-turbo, 362-horsepower 3.0-liter V6, and the GL550 has a twin-turbo, 4.7-liter V8 engine that makes 429 horsepower. The high-performance GL63 AMG has a twin-turbo, 5.5-liter V8 that produces 550 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. The base GL-Class earns an EPA-estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class.

Reviewers agree that the base GL-Class' engine produces plenty of power for quick acceleration. Some test drivers appreciate that the GL450, GL550 and GL63 AMG models have even more power for exciting driving dynamics. However, some reviewers point out that the base GL350 BlueTEC's combination of impressive power and great fuel economy makes it a practical choice. Reviewers say the transmission shifts smoothly and quickly.

  • "Power is never in short supply, be it from the torque-happy diesel in the GL350 BlueTEC, the twin-turbocharged V6 and V8 in the GL450 and GL550 respectively, or the Teutonic terror beneath the bonnet of the GL63 AMG." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • When it comes to propulsion, 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, with its healthy 455 lb-ft of torque, the small V6 has sufficient grunt to pull a good-sized trailer. The GL450's new 362-hp gasoline V6 should provide satisfying acceleration with the same output as the eight-cylinder engine it's replacing but much better 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 GL63 AMG a case of admittedly thrilling overkill." -- Edmunds
  • The GL350 BlueTEC is powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder that … is truthfully our favorite GL engine, as it whisks the nearly 3-ton crossover around effortlessly while returning an impressive 19 miles per gallon city/26 mpg hwy." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The GL450 is plenty strong for any task and benefits from a smooth, alert automatic transmission." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

According to test drivers, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has a comfortable ride over rough surfaces and fairly stable handling for a large SUV. While a few critics report that the GL-Class' steering feels too light, most reviewers think the steering is quick and precise. Some test drivers also point out that the GL-Class' brakes have good stopping power. The GL-Class comes standard with all-wheel drive, and some auto writers think it gives the GL-Class decent off-road abilities.

  • 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." -- Edmunds
  • "Standard 4Matic all-wheel drive is always active in helping maintain the best traction and can even be equipped with a 2-speed transfer case for light off-roading. When the asphalt turns serpentine, a 'sport mode' will firm the steering feel for better response." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As for cruising comfort, well, this is where the GL really excels. The standard air suspension takes the bumps out of almost any surface, and the cabin remains library-quiet at speed." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Steering is accurate and direct. In fast turns on smooth surfaces, the GL has plenty of grip. They stay flatter in corners than most large SUVs. The experience is more car-like than its rivals." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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