Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (2006 – 2013) Review

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (2006 – 2013) At A Glance


+Supremely comfortable. Genuine seven-seater. Immensely competent on and off road. Very refined and luxurious. GL420 CDI model is immense.

-Sheer size means it's hard to manouevre and park. Not great in corners. Rear visibility is poor. GL500 is expensive to run.

Insurance Groups are between 49–50
On average it achieves 85% of the official MPG figure

Size is everything. Mercedes builds its ML and GL in the USA, the land of the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator and the Hummer H2. So to offer the most desirable 7-seat 4x4 in the World it had to think big.

The GL is 5,088mm long (16' 9", in English). It's also 1,920mm (6' 4") wide before you close the door mirrors and 1,840mm (6' 1") high without being risen on the air suspension.

It's a lot of car. And sits on huge standard 18" wheels with 265/60 R18 tyres or massive 19 inchers with 275/55 R19s.

Mercedes Benz GL 320CDI and GL 420 420CDI Road Test

Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (2006 – 2013)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

18–28 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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How reliable is the Mercedes-Benz GL?

"I'm considering buying a luxury 4x4 seven-seater. I'm tempted by a Mercedes-Benz GL500 which has LPG conversion for £16,000 (80,000 miles) so running costs should be under control. But I have read some issues with reliability and repair costs. I understand being a Mercedes-Benz the repair costs are not going to be low, but I just wanted to know the reliability and typical repair costs (not from main dealer of-course). Can you help?"
Potential nightmare. Not only is the GL one of the most expensively unreliable cars on Warranty Direct's books, this one adds to it with an LPG conversion that could add another long list of expensive reliability issues.
Answered by Honest John

Can you recommend a vehicle that will tow our 2680kg caravan?

"I’m looking to buy a vehicle to tow a large Airstream caravan. My wife's Bentley GTC is too light apparently and we worry about long-term body distortion. Given the weight involved, 2680kg, I can only find the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL 4x4 that are heavy enough for the job. I'm not too keen on Range Rover build quality and I lack the required sense of humour required to endure Mercedes-Benz's service departments. The vehicle must have excellent engineering and build quality. Our budget is £50,000 to £80,000 for a newish tow vehicle that would have a projected annual mileage of 5000 to 8000 miles. "
To tow 3,500kg you need: Mercedes GL, Land Rover Discovery 4, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover, Toyota LandCruiser V8 or Mitsubishi Shogun. But maybe your answer is a VW Touareg Altitude 3.0 V6 TDI (204ps) 5dr Auto. That also has a maximum towing weight of 3,500kg.
Answered by Honest John

Is a Mercedes-Benz bought in the south of England less likely to have been used off-road?

"Thank you for a quick reply about Mercedes-Benz GLs. Would we get a better vehicle for the same money from a large 4x4 dealer in London or the south, where the vehicle had never been used off-road, as opposed to buying in Scotland? One other point: we own a VAT registered business and we see GLs advertised sometimes as "VAT-qualifying". What does this mean?"
Yes, the car is much less likely to have been off-roaded if sourced from someone who owned it in the south. ‘VAT qualifying’ doesn't help you. What it means is that the vehicle has previously been owned by a leasing or a rental fleet who reclaimed the purchase VAT. When the car was re-sold, a retailer or a lease/rental fleet could also reclaim the VAT element of the price, then charge VAT on whatever price it eventually sold the car for and pay that VAT to HMRC. You cannot reclaim it in the same way as you could for a van or for a pick-up that you legitimately needed to run your VAT registered business.
Answered by Honest John

Can you recommend a large, automatic SUV capable of towing a heavy horsebox to replace our Shogun?

"I recently sought advice about the BMW 5 and Audi A6 3.0 diesel estate cars. Being a police officer able to drive BMW 5 Series, I know how good they are to drive and how safe they are should you have a big accident. My present problem is that my partner tows a horse box with a 2006 LWB Shogun diesel, as she is well aware of having a vehicle that can lawfully tow that weight. Her large horse is sometimes joined by her daughter’s pony, so it is a heavy load. Her car is the manual version with 75,000 miles and our three kids (and dog) love the height and space. We have the opportunity in the next six months to change a car and I had originally wanted to get an estate for me (as I love driving) and get rid of my Focus diesel. However, sitting down and chatting, we thought about running the Ford as our mileage car for work (I do about 16,000 miles a year travelling to work) and to get something more comfortable, that is easily able to tow but would transport the family long distances. I know that What Car shows the Discovery as best tow car for that weight category but, unlike the Shogun, I fear it would spend more of its time with its maker than me. With about £20,000 - £25,000 to spend, what would be our best option? I really want an automatic gearbox, leather trim, cruise control, sat nav, iPod-compatible stereo and something that is good to drive. Does this combination exist?"
Automatic gearboxes make towing easier. It certainly makes setting off easier and eliminates dual mass flywheel problems. But autoboxes will not tug as big a weight as a manual. For example, the current Hyundai Santa Fe manual can pull 2,500kg, but the auto can only pull 2,000kg. Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon diesels used to be the tow car kings, but are expensive and juicy and the air suspension plays up. A Shogun or a Land Cruiser LC are the next things down, but a Discovery 3 outdrives them both by a long way. Unfortunately Disco 3 HSEs (or Range Rover Sport HSEs) are the spec everyone wants (including you) and sell for something like £7,000 more than lesser specs, even at auction. They don't represent value for money. You could think about a double cab pick-up. I rate the Isuzu Rodeo 2.5 and 3.0 I-TEQ as the best pick-up engines and best manual gearboxes (I don't know about the autos). The ultimate car for the job would be a Mercedes-Benz GL CDI 420 V8 diesel, and you might even find one for £20,000 - £25,000.
Answered by Honest John
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