The Mercedes GL-Class is a full-size Mercedes luxury SUV capable of accommodating up to seven passengers, a dog or two, and a bunch of luggage. The GL-Class, or the now renamed GLS-Class Mercedes SUV is aimed at those who want to maximize space and utility, without sacrificing comfort, luxury, and technology.
The first generation of the GL (X164) was in production between 2006 and 2012 and it was later replaced with the X166 generation. The X166 was in production between 2012 and 2019 and was later replaced by the GLS-Class as the new Mercedes full-size luxury family SUV.
Design-wise, the X164 looks somewhat like an increased version of the mid-size ML which means that it looks aggressive, utilitarian, and classy. The X166 looks a bit more special thanks to new Mercedes headlight technology, a more reliable chassis, and lots more technology.
The GL450 uses an 8-cylinder engine which means that it is placed at the very top of the Mercedes SUV lineup. It offers an abundance of space, up to seven seats, and lots of cargo space. Value-wise, the GL offers good value, yet it costs quite a bit of money to maintain.
Does the GL450 have any problems? Read about the common GL450 problems here.
Mercedes GL450 – The powertrain
The first generation of the GL450 uses a 4.7L V8 that offers 335 and 339lb-ft of torque. It comes with the Mercedes 7G-Tronic automatic transmission exclusively. This engine is known for its pulling power and effortless performance without sacrificing smoothness refinement.
The 2nd generation of the GL450 uses the very same engine, but the power is increased to 362hp and 406lb-ft of torque. This GL450 uses a newer, more refined, and efficient transmission called the 9G Tronic automatic transmission.
The GL450 is the entry-level GL-Class, but it does offer more than enough pulling power for most people. The 450 model is also the most efficient one of the bunch because both of these GL450 models are able to return a decent 18-22MPG combined.
Mercedes GL450 – Design and chassis
As mentioned in the beginning, the first generation of the GL450 borrows its design cues from the mid-size ML-Class. This makes the X164 fairly aggressive looking with pronounced shoulders and a fairly commanding front grille. The ride height is increased, but the GL450 is no all-out off-roader.
The second generation of the GL450 employs a more modern design thanks to a completely new grille, new LED multibeam headlights, and a sleeker-looking silhouette. The X166 does not look as aggressive as the X164, but it is still commanding-looking to most people.
The chassis and suspension of the GL450 are primarily tailored towards comfort and cruising. The body tends to roll quite a bit, and if you pair that with a high center of gravity and lots of weight, you will immediately realize that the GL450 is a comfy SUV and nothing more.
Mercedes GL450 – Reliability and common issues
Both generations of the GL450 are considered reliable, but the X166 is a lot more reliable than the X164. Both of these cost a lot of money to maintain and proper maintenance is a necessity, without it, these SUVs will not be able to last a long time.
Either way, the most common issues these SUVs tend to experience are electrical issues, suspension issues (especially if equipped with the AIRMATIC suspension, the dreaded Takata recall associated with Air Bag issues, engine issues, and potential power steering system issues.
Mercedes GL450 – Value and practicality
You can find a high-mileage heavily used X164 GL450 for about $10,000. These are not the ones you ought to look for as they tend to be costly to maintain, even if the original used price seems tempting. You should spend around $17k-$20k on a first-gen GL450 if you want a relatively decent example.
The second generation of the GL450 can be had for about $15k at the very lowest end while the best X166 GL450 examples go for about $40k+. You ought to spend at least $27-$32k on one of these if you want a decent example with not too many miles on the clock.
Practicality-wise, both generations of the GL are superior to every other Mercedes SUV out there. They offer lots of space, lots of cubby spaces, and storage units while also offering great all-around visibility. They are designed for family use in mind which means that these are still tremendously good family cars.
Should I buy a Mercedes GL450?
This depends on how much you are willing to spend on a new car and do you even need a car as large as the GL. You also need to keep in mind that these full-size used luxury SUVs tend to cost quite a lot of money to maintain which is something you need to do if you want it to last.
Overall, the GL450 is a great car for families as it offers lots of space while also being a really safe car. The 4.7L V8 is more than enough for most people and the GL63 storming V8 model is not really necessary for such a non-dynamic car.
Is the GL450 safe?
As most GL and GLC-Class SUVs are being bought by larger families, the GL needs to be safe to sell at all. That is why Mercedes went to great lengths to ensure that the GL meets all the modern-day safety standards.
The first X164 generation of the GL450 is safe, yet it lacks many modern-day software safety features. The dreaded Takata recall made these relatively unsafe as far as airbags are concerned, so be sure to check if the model you are looking at is free of these issues. However, the second generation of the GL450 is a lot safer no matter the equipment level.
Is the GL450 a good off-road car?
All generations of the GL450 are able to hold their own when it comes to mild and moderate off-roading, but they are not off-road SUVs, not by a mile. They are way too heavy, too long, and too large. This means that they are primarily designed for road use.
Either way, the GL450 should do the trick for 99% of people, if you want a more serious Mercedes off-roader, you should focus your attention on the G-Class SUV.