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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL550

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MPG 13 City / 18 Highway
Pros
  • Powerful engine options
  • Upscale interior
  • Surprisingly capable off-road
Cons
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Questionable reliability history
  • Ride less comfortable than competitors
, Automotive Editor -
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL550 4MATIC SUV guarantees its passengers spacious seats on the cutting edge of new technology and innovative design. The GL class offers AWD, luxurious amenities, and 7-seat capacity at each trim level. This year's model gets a complete redesign, featuring a new, more fuel-efficient engine, as well as a suite of luxury features added to both the base and upgrade models. A 4.7L V8 429hp engine provides plenty of kick and a smooth ride, and the second row split-bench seating creates more space and legroom. The 13mpg city/18mpg highway average is slightly on the low side, but still in line with the rest of the SUV segment, and the comfort and technological offerings included in the standard model make the GL550 a good choice for buyers looking to be pampered on their daily commute.

Introduction

Optional upgrade packages offer further safety, stability, and convenience. The Parking Assist package provides a surround view system, the On/Off Road package adds a front underride skid protection system and Active Damping system, and the Active Curve package utilizes stabilization bars on front and rear axles which detect curves and increase roll stiffness to compensate. The Driver Assistance Package with DISTRONIC Plus and Pre-Safe brake gives drivers the utmost in road security, featuring active lane-keep assistance and radar sensors that scan traffic ahead and automatically apply partial or full braking power to prevent collision.

The SUV market remains very popular, particularly among families who need more space for kids but don’t want to sacrifice style and comfort to accommodate more people. With so many companies clambering to offer the perfect solution, the GL550 has a lot of rivals for best in class. These include the Lexus LX570, which is more capable off-road; the Audi Q7, which comes with an optional diesel engine; the Infiniti QX56, with Bose speakers and plenty of luxury options; and the Cadillac Escalade, which has a uniquely stylish exterior and a lot of power under the hood. The Mercedes-Benz GL550 4MATIC measures up nicely among its peers, however, offering a more refined ride and better gas mileage than many other choices, and wooing buyers with plenty of infotainment and comfortable cruising amenities available in the standard trim.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL550
Starting price
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2013 Mercedes-Benz GL550 Base

Recommended for: Sophisticated drivers the world over.

The base level GL550 comes loaded with tempting features such as leather seats, genuine wood trim on the steering wheel, doors, instrument panel and center console, multi-adjustable power seats, tinted glass, automatic climate control, keyless entry, and xenon headlamps. For the technologically inclined, the entry level GL550 has plenty to offer, including LOGIC7 Surround Sound, 12 high quality speakers, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Drivers at each trim level benefit from the GL550’s competitive safety features, including antilock brake system (ABS), stability control (ESP), 13-way airbag protection, and blind spot and lane-keep assistance. Mercedes-Benz’s signature 4MATIC AWD also comes standard in the GL550 and gives the model an edge over the competition. The 4MATIC system sends power to all four wheels simultaneously, automatically adjusting the amount of force being sent to each wheel based on road curves and conditions to ensure traction at all times.

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