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The Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec is one of the largest luxury SUVs on the market, but it also turns out to be one of the most efficient. Thanks to a smooth, 3.0-liter V6 clean diesel, the GL350 represents a way to have your cake and eat it too, with the same bold styling of other GLs, room for seven people and impressive lists of safety and luxury features befitting a Mercedes-Benz. Throw in fuel economy more in line with a midsize luxury sedan, and the GL350 makes a lot of sense as a luxury family hauler.
The GL350 comes standard with a long list of features. Standard features include that 3.0-liter Bluetec clean diesel turbo V6, with 240 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic and 4Matic all-wheel drive. Fuel economy according to the EP A is 19 city, 26 highway.
The GL350 can tow up to 7,500 lbs. Also standard are 19-inch alloy wheels, LED running lamps, automatic headlights and wipers, power liftgate, privacy glass, power sunroof, adjustable air suspension, power-folding third-row seat, heated 8-way power front seats Bluetooth, HD radio, AUX and USB inputs controlled Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system and dual-zone automatic climate control. Options include keyless entry and start, Harmon/Kardon audio system, adaptive headlamps and an automatic parking assist program.
The Audi Q7 also has seating for seven and a clean diesel engine option, as well as a beautiful interior, but it doesn't have as much space in town and is cumbersome to drive. The BMW X5 xDrive30d also has a clean diesel six-cylinder and is much more fun to drive, but the optional third-row is next to useless and it suffers from a hard ride. The Infiniti JX35 is very spacious for seven and much cheaper, but the V6 gas engine isn't as efficient and it's not as luxurious. The Acura MDX gets respectable fuel economy, is fun to drive and well-equipped for its low price, but it also lacks a lot of high-tech features available on the Mercedes and isn't as luxurious.
So the GL350 a great choice for those looking for a luxury SUV that can tow a lot, get respectable fuel economy and haul seven people comfortably. It might cost considerably more than the competition, but it might be a case of getting what you pay for.
The GL350 comes very well equipped with standard seating for 7 with a power-folding third-row, 4Matic all-wheel drive, air suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, power sunroof, 8-way power heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and the COMAND system for controlling audio functions. Package 1 includes 10-way power front seats with memory settings, a power adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, satellite navigation and satellite radio with iPod integration. Package 2 adds a Harmon/Kardon 13-speaker audio system, soft-close doors and keyless entry and start. Also available is a parking assist program with front and rear parking sensors and an around-view camera, as well as adaptive xenon headlamps.
Stylish inside and out with strong diesel engine, but not as roomy for seven and hard to drive in tight spaces
Efficient diesel engine with sporty drive, but third-row is extra and small and the ride can be uncomfortable
Comfortable inside for seven, well priced, but not premium feeling enough and powertrain isn't the smoothest
Quick, good to drive and well equipped, but not luxurious enough or loaded with the same technology