The new 3-liter V6 turbo produces 362 horsepower, exactly the same amount as the V8 it replaces. Torque is down somewhat, but the GL450 still manages to go from zero to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, just a few tenths of a second slower than last year. Fuel efficiency has improved from 16 mpg in combined driving to 19 mpg, enough to make a noticeable difference at the pump. All-wheel drive and a self-leveling air suspension remain standard, as does a seven-speed automatic transmission. Cargo capacity maxes out a full-size 94 cubic feet.
The premium vinyl (or optional leather) interior does an exemplary job of transporting seven adults in quiet comfort. You get heated power seats in front, a power-folding third row and power rear quarter windows. Other perks include Bluetooth phone and audio, HD radio, LED exterior lighting, a power liftgate and a rearview camera. A panoramic sunroof and heated second-row seats are available as standalone options.
Most remaining features are bundled into packages. The Premium package adds power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, illuminated front door sills, heated and cooled cupholders, expanded driver seat controls with memory functions, ambient interior lighting, a power-adjustable steering wheel, voice controls, navigation, satellite radio and 10 GB of audio storage.
You get full LED headlamps and automatic high-beam control with the Lighting package.
To take some of the bite of the GL450's girth, Mercedes offers a Parking Assist package with a surround-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, and an automated parallel parking system. For safety at higher speeds, there's the Lane Tracking package with blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning with active assists. Those two features also come with the Driver Assistance package, which also provides adaptive cruise control with steering assist, cross-traffic assist, pedestrian detection and a collision mitigation system.
Given the GL450's size and family orientation, the available safety tech packages are money well spent -- and might even be mandatory for drivers who have never handled a large vehicle before.
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