• Full test of the new 2013 X166 GL450 with the M278 Twin Turbo V8 by Insideline

      The new GL is a beautiful (and big!) sport utility offering 3rd row seating. Not exactly a performance SUV by any means but equipped with the new M278 Twin Turbo V8 and offering 362 horses and 406 pound-feet of torque it certainly moves. Yes, 362 horses so it is detuned a bit in comparison to 550 models from Mercedes with the same motor which have a horsepower output in the 420 range. The GL550 for example offering 429 horsepower with the exact same motor. Mercedes is charging a bunch more for just different software in the 550 models. Nothing an ECU tune can't fix.

      This truck is heavy though at 5,875 pounds. This is 474 pounds more than the claimed curb weight by Mercedes. How they can be off by almost a 1/4 of a ton is anyone's guess. Even with that weight and a detuned M278 it still hustles through the 1/4 mile 14.3@96.8. That's very respectable for something of this size. Not to mention all the power sitting there waiting to be unleashed.

      Handling numbers are not all that impressive. On the skidpad the GL450 pulls .74g. It manages only 57.8 MPH through the slalom. An ML, Cayenne, X5, you name it will run circles around it as they should. It will be interesting to see how much the suspension tuning of the GL63 AMG will be able to improve the handling.

      The base price is a fairly reasonable $64,805. The problem? The as tested price of $91,765. That's a hefty jump and at almost $100,000 several other SUV's becoming far more appealing unless you absolutely have to have that 3rd row seat. It's big, beautiful, and expensive SUV. The best German alternative to the big domestics that offer 3rd row seating.

      Speed Read

      Vehicle Tested:

      2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450
      Base Price: $64,805
      Price as Tested: $91,765
      Engine:4.7-liter twin-turbo V8
      Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic
      Power: 362 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
      0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
      Fuel Mileage:13.3 mpg (Edmunds observed)

      What Works (pros):

      Near-Bentley levels of materials and execution; smooth, powerful engine, luxurious ride.

      What Needs Work (cons):

      Poor handling and restrictive stability control even for this segment.

      Bottom Line:
      With a huge, flexible interior and world-class ride, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 is the best three-row SUV you can buy, but it'll cost you.

      Year Make Model 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class GL450 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (4.7L 8cyl Turbo 7A)
      Vehicle Type AWD 4dr 7-passenger 4dr SUV
      Base MSRP $64,805
      Options on test vehicle Lunar Blue ($720); Designo Porcelain Leather ($4,800); Active Curve System ($2,900 -- includes hydraulically variable antiroll bars to reduce body roll, active damper system); Driver Assistance Package ($2,800 -- includes Distronic Plus with PreSafe brake, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist); On/Off-Road Package ($1,800 -- includes adaptive damping system, anderride protection [skid plates]); Rear-Seat Entertainment ($1,950 -- includes dual 8-inch LCD screens mounted to the back of the front seat headrests, two wireless headsets, two remote controls, single-disc DVD player underneath the rear seats, auxiliary inputs, three-position memory for front passenger seat, four-way power lumbar support for front passenger seat); Three-Zone Automatic Climate Control ($1,450); Appearance Package ($1,340 -- includes illuminated running boards, 20-by-8.5-inch alloy wheels with 275/50R20 tires, chrome exhaust tips); Parking Assist Package ($1,290 -- includes Parktronic with active parking assist, surround view system); Lighting Package ($1,290 -- includes bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve illumination, headlamp washing, adaptive high-beam assist); Multicontour Driver/Passenger Seat With Massage and Comfort Headrests ($1,100); Panorama Sunroof ($1,090); Wood/Leather Steering Wheel ($590); Keyless Go ($650 -- includes transponder that lets the driver lock/unlock the vehicle and start/stop the engine without using a key or pressing a button on a remote key fob); Heated Rear Seats ($620 -- includes multilevel heated rear seats); Heated and Active Ventilated Front Seats ($570); Trailer Hitch ($550 -- includes Class III tow hitch with a maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds); Power Easy-Entry Second-Row Seats ($400 -- includes second-row seats that electrically move to ease third-row entry); Special Order ($250).
      As-tested MSRP $91,765
      Assembly location Tuscaloosa, Alabama
      Configuration Longitudinal, front-engine, four-wheel drive
      Engine type Twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V8, gasoline
      Displacement (cc/cu-in) 4,663/285
      Block/head material Aluminum/aluminum
      Valvetrain DOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
      Compression ratio (x:1) 10.5
      Redline, indicated (rpm) 6,250
      Horsepower (hp @ rpm) 362 @ 5,000
      Torque (lb-ft @ rpm) 406 @ 1,500
      Fuel type Premium unleaded (required)
      Transmission type Seven-speed automatic
      Transmission ratios (x:1) I = 4.38; II = 2.86; III = 1.92; IV = 1.37; V = 1.00; VI = 0.82; VII = 0.73
      Final-drive ratio (x:1) 3.46
      Differential(s) Electronically locking center differential

      Test Driver Ratings & Comments
      Acceleration comments Hesitant off the line, but then healthy, smooth power to just below redline. Power braking netted about a tenth and a half. Quick upshifts come at 5,900 rpm. There's a big drop in revs after the 2-3 shift. Went quickest (but just barely) in manual mode. Manual shifting is via steering wheel paddles. Will not hold gears to rev limiter, shifts automatically at 5,900 rpm. Attempts to blip throttle on downshifts.
      Braking comments A weak and soft pedal around town becomes reassuringly firm in panic tets, although pedal travel remained long. Plenty of nosedive, but dead straight. First stop was shortest at 113 feet. Sixth (and final) stop was longest at 122 feet.
      Handling comments Skid pad: light, rather unfeeling steering. But it's of little consequence, as the stability system cuts in so aggressively that there isn't much steering or throttle control needed on the part of the driver. Slalom: This may be the most intrusive stability control system ever. The only positive to come out of this ridiculous exercise is that it teaches you to be super smooth, because any shot of aggression with the steering wheel and the GL immediately stabs the brakes, despite the fact it isn't even close to reaching its grip limit. This is pathetic.
      Track Test Results
      Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.) 2.3
      0-45 mph (sec.) 3.9
      0-60 mph (sec.) 6.2
      0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.) 5.9
      0-75 mph (sec.) 8.8
      1/4-mile (sec. @ mph) 14.3 @ 96.9
      0-30 mph, trac ON (sec.) 2.5
      0-45 mph, trac ON (sec.) 4.1
      0-60 mph, trac ON (sec.) 6.3
      0-60, trac ON with 1 foot of rollout (sec.) 6.0
      0-75 mph, trac ON (sec.) 9.0
      1/4-mile, trac ON (sec. @ mph) 14.5 @ 96.8
      Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.) 28
      60-0 mph (ft.) 113
      Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON 57.8
      Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON 0.74
      Sound level @ idle (dB) 40.8
      @ Full throttle (dB) 66.8
      @ 70 mph cruise (dB) 61.2
      Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm) 2,000
      Testing Conditions
      Test date 9/25/2012
      Test location California Speedway
      Elevation (ft.) 1,121
      Temperature (F) 76.5
      Relative humidity (%) 35.44
      Barometric pressure (in. Hg) 28.71
      Wind (mph, direction) 1.81
      Odometer (mi.) 7,928
      Fuel used for test 91-octane gasoline
      As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi) 32/32

      Dimensions & Capacities
      Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.) 5,401
      Curb weight, as tested (lbs.) 5,875
      Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%) 51.5/48.5
      Length (in.) 201.6
      Width (in.) 65.0
      Height (in.) 72.8
      Wheelbase (in.) 121.1
      Track, front (in.) 64.8
      Track, rear (in.) 65.5
      Legroom, front (in.) 40.3
      Legroom, rear (in.) 38.5
      Legroom, 3rd row (in.) 35.0
      Headroom, front (in.) 41.2
      Headroom, rear (in.) 40.0
      Headroom, 3rd row (in.) 38.9
      Shoulder room, front (in.) 58.5
      Shoulder room, rear (in.) 58.3
      Shoulder room, 3rd row (in.) 50.5
      Seating capacity 7
      Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft) 93.8
      behind 2nd row (cu-ft) 49.4
      behind 3rd row (cu-ft) 16
      Payload, mfr. max claim (lbs.) 1,764
      Tow capacity, mfr. claim (lbs.) 7,500
      Ground clearance (in.) 8.5

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Full test of the new 2013 X166 GL450 with the M278 Twin Turbo V8 by Insideline started by Sticky View original post