2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL450

2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL450

$15,900

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You'll Like This Car If you want the benefits of Mercedes engineering, German build quality, American-style accommodations. Subjected to highly variable road conditions, including some fairly aggressive on-road twists and turns and an equally aggressive off-road experience, the GL450 handles with grace, especially with the standard air suspension and optional adaptive damping. Despite almost 5,300 pounds of curb weight and an overall length right around 200 inches, the GL450 drives like a much smaller, significantly lighter SUV. Response from the 4.6-liter DOHC V8 is great, made more so by the excellent seven-speed automatic transmission. In contrast to its domestic competition, Mercedes-Benz builds the GL-Class using a unitized body and chassis. This offers many benefits, including less weight, a lower center of gravity and, along with the all-independent suspension, a more car-like ride. The GL-Class remains a fully capable, all-season SUV, but with the on-road manners of smaller crossover vehicles. It's a compelling combination. The GL's bucket seats are well-shaped and supportive. The driver is fronted by a four-spoke steering wheel and what Mercedes describes as a "sport-oriented" instrument panel. The horizontal grab handles on the console are notable, alluding -- both aesthetically and functionally -- to the GL's off-road capability. With the 2008 GL-Class, Mercedes hits all the right exterior notes. In profile, the big Mercedes is very well-proportioned, disguising its overall length (200.3 inches) with short overhangs, an aggressive windshield angle, generous greenhouse, flared wheel arches (similar to the new S-Class) and careful detailing. The traditional Mercedes face is framed by high-tech halogen headlamps; optional Bi-Xenon lamps include a swiveling feature for additional visibility in turns. Passive safety is addressed with two-stage front airbags for front-seat occupants, side airbags for both first- and second-row seats and side-curtain airbags spanning all three rows. Audiophiles will enjoy a standard, glovebox-mounted six-disc CD changer, auxiliary input for MP3 players and eight speakers. Those living in the sunbelt should appreciate the rear (stationary) sunroof with shade, while inhabitants of the snowbelt will benefit from standard full-time four-wheel drive. Despite all that is standard, the GL's extensive list of options won't disappoint feature-oriented consumers. Driving in congested areas is a good argument for Distronic, Mercedes' adaptive cruise control. For occupants not in the front seats, the rear-seat entertainment system should provide plenty of entertainment. The Off-Road package includes a two-speed transfer case with locking center and rear differentials. Offerings also include SIRIUS Satellite Radio, DVD navigation, heated second-row seating, a rear-view back-up camera and a Class-IV trailer hitch to complement the GL450's 7,500-pound tow rating. The GL450 represents "more Mercedes to love," this V8 is more performance to adore. With four valves per cylinder, the engine delivers a seamless 335 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque and, more impressively, delivers that power and torque over a broad engine speed range. 4.6-liter V8 335 horsepower @ 6000 rpm 339 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2700-5000 rpm EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18

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