Mercedes-Benz GL: 2013 Autoweek Best of the Best/TruckTue, 11 Dec 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Today, Autoweek editors announced the Porsche Boxster S and Mercedes-Benz GL as the car and truck winners at the 2013 Best of the Best awards presentation.
Editor Wes Raynal revealed the winners and presented Best of the Best trophies to representatives from the winning auto manufacturers.
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL: Autoweek Best of the Best/Truck
"The GL's ride set it apart from the competition,” Raynal said. “For a large seven-seat vehicle, the GL has amazing body control and among the smoothest powertrains of any SUV. In the end, that's what put it over the top.”
Runners-up were the Acura RDX and Ford Escape.
The Alabama-built GL is now in its second generation and can be had with a diesel V6 or a choice of two gasoline V8s, each backed by a seven-speed automatic. The V6 diesel in the GL350 is more than up to the task and boasts 20 mpg combined, meaning you can haul seven people 600 or so miles on a single 26-gallon tank of fuel. The GL450 gets a 4.6-liter, 362-hp, direct-injection twin-turbo V8, while the GL550 is powered by the same engine with 429 hp.
In our Best of the Best testing, we found the GL to be as fine a seven-seater as one could ask for. Quiet and smooth in the extreme with plenty of power and imperceptible shifts, the GL has an adjustable suspension that makes the ride suitable for most conditions, or at least all of the ones we encountered. Best of the Best testers were particularly impressed with the body control (for such a large vehicle) and outstanding ride. “The ride is the best thing about the big GL,” was one of the logbook comments.
All the competitors in the Best of the Best/Truck class were capable, solid and enjoyable. If we gave a Most Improved award, the Acura RDX's Honda-smooth engine and big interior might have won it. And the new Ford Escape impressed us with its sharp design and terrific turbo power.
What ultimately pushed the GL over the top was that it has all those attributes and just drips quality, from the sheetmetal gaps to the door thunks. The cockpit is well built from quality materials, and the seats comfortable for long hauls—we spent literally days behind the wheel with nary a complaint. “C'mon, who doesn't love this designo interior?” a staffer wrote.
This ute will haul a ton of stuff and/or people in supreme comfort, and better than the competition. As one staffer said, “The question isn't whether you want a GL, the question is which one you should get.”
You really can't go wrong with any of them.
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec/GL450/GL550
Base Price: $63,305/$64,805/$87,805
Drivetrain: 3.0-liter, 240-hp, 455-lb-ft turbocharged V6/4.6-liter, 362-hp, 406-lb-ft twin-turbocharged V8/4.6-liter, 429-hp, 516-lb-ft twin-turbocharged V8; AWD, seven-speed automatic
Curb Weight: 5,467/5,401/5,578 lb
0-60 mph: 8.3/6.2/5.5 (mfr est)
Fuel Economy (EPA combined): 20/16/15 mpg
By Autoweek Staff