Bulletproof Mercedes GL 450 by International Armoring Corporation
Armored Manufacturer: International Armoring Corporation
Model: Bulletproof Mercedes Benz GL 450
Level: B6+ able to withstand high-powered
EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I’m loving the new Mercedes-Benz GL-class family. Drove the diesel last weekend and was mighty impressed. I like this V8 gas version, too, but think I’d get the diesel because it’s less expensive and gets significantly better mileage.The GL450 drives just as creamy as the diesel and perhaps slightly more so, arguably the best eight-seater on the market. Now that I’ve been in my second GL, I can say they’re supremely comfortable, quiet, and civilized.This baby just glides down the road, and the interior opulence and excellent build quality add to the comfort and serenity. With its smooth V8 and even smoother seven-speed trans it’s quite a bit more like a luxury sedan (that seats more people) than an SUV.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: It’s funny how I can easily see dropping $100k on a Nissan GT-R, but wouldn’t spend more than $40k on an SUV. The Ford Explorer has three rows–what more do you need!? I’m half kidding, but seriously, $90,000 for an SUV that won’t blow anyone’s doors off is a losing proposition to me.
Don’t get me wrong, it looks extremely upscale. The fog lights in front, the side steps and a good amount of chrome say, “I like my nights on the town, I just don’t want to deal with nights on the town.” The GL rides quiet and smooth. It was one of the few cars that I didn’t worry about on my ride home, especially in the bad left lane, which is closer to the pockmarked surface of the moon than to anything on this planet.
The interior is a great place to spend some time. The seats are comfortable, the radio is concert-quality and all the surfaces are soft-touch. But I just can’t say it’s twice as good as a Ford Explorer’s interior which is half the price. To each his own, I suppose. Power from the V8 is acceptable, but response it not. It takes a good beat before taking off and a good two beats before downshifting to a reasonable passing gear. I think manufacturers could do well to dial in a little immediacy to the throttle; it goes a long way to making the car feel sporty, whether it is or is not.
I’ll be interested to try the bigger-engined GL, to see if it feels any spryer.
NEWS EDITOR GREG MIGLIORE: The honkin’ V8 GL is a big, comfy ride with a beautiful cabin and copious amounts of power on tap. It offers plenty of elegance inside with attractive materials and an intuitive layout. Plus, the split-screen backup camera is one of the best and most informative I’ve used. I like the bold, strong Mercedes look, especially the headlights and grille. This SUV has confidence, and it exudes that with its presence. The demeanor is conveyed through the potent twin-turbo V8, which offers plenty of grunt. I didn’t have anything to haul, but the interior is spacious. The driving position is elevated, as is this entire chassis, which helped me see a road closure ahead and then maneuver over a divider to get free. Acceleration is strong, the body is controlled for such a large vehicle, and the GL450 (and other utes of its ilk) definitely still has a spot in the garages in hearts of some consumers.
ASSOCIATE TECHNICAL EDITOR BRAD CONSTANT: I spent three nights in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 and enjoyed every minute in this luxury SUV. During my time I took the GL450 shopping, cruising, and even moved some furniture. First off, there is plenty of power from the V8 engine, plus an impressive exhaust note. Mash the pedal and you’ll be pushed back into your seat; pretty impressive for a big ute. Mercedes-Benz also did an excellent job with the GL’s suspension. It provides a comfortable ride while providing confident handling.
But the most impressive aspect of the GL450 was the interior. The center console was well laid out, the COMAND system was easy to use and Mercedes-Benz threw in some cool features, like heated and cooled cup holders. As Greg mentioned, the split-screen back-up camera system may be the best on the market. Parking or maneuvering in tight spaces was a breeze.
However, I had a hard time with the price. I can’t justify spending $88,000 on a car when there are less-expensive options that provide plenty of luxury. Like Jake said, the Ford Explorer offers comfort and luxury, although not luxury on the scale of the GL450. But the GL is worth it if your checkbook allows.
EXECUTIVE EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: I have died and gone to SUV heaven — as in, the place where every SUV is a luxury, three-row, do-everything machine that makes zero compromises. Road imperfections are unnoticed, smoothed by a suspension that keeps everything from reaching the cabin but also keeps this big boy on the straight and narrow without any sort of drama. Steering seems a tad lightweight, but that only adds to the impression that the GL is easier to drive and maneuver than anything this large ought to be. This is an insanely good vehicle.
Yes, it’s expensive, but then it seems to have virtually every feature known to Mercedes-Benz, which is to say every feature known to mankind. I experimented with night vision (could’ve picked off every bunny in my neighborhood if I had been so inclined), infallible Distronic active cruise control, and enjoyed both Sport and Comfort settings to make my drives more active or passive depending on my needs.
What could make this better? I’ll let you know after I get a chance to sample a diesel-powered version.
Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20130129/carreviews/130129799#ixzz2RagqREho
Follow us: @AutoweekUSA on Twitter | AutoweekUSA on Facebook