I’ve been a fan of the Mercedes Blue Tec diesel for some time now. After test-driving the large 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL320 for a week, I am more of a fan than ever. This thing is SWEET and the power and fuel economy combination is terrific. Americans have to forget the diesels of the past. The SUV, despite its size, is neither slow, loud, nor smokes.
The GL Series has always been a popular SUV for Mercedes as it is large, but does not feel as large as many of the other really big SUVs out there. Now, replacing the old CDI diesel, the new Blue Tec V-6 turbocharged engine adds a whole new dimension to what was already a great luxury people hauler. What else would make this even better? The new 7-speed automatic they paired up with this wonderful engine.
We all know diesels are great for towing, and engine life can be as much as 500,000 miles. But did you know this is one of only a couple of diesels approved for sale in all 50 states? Yes, it burns cleaner that 99% of the gasoline cars sold today and is clean enough to be sold in environmentally strict California.
Another rare fact: this engine only rates out at 210 horses, but produces an amazing 400 foot pounds of torque, and is rated to tow a 7500 pound trailer. Typical for a Benz, it is very quiet, handles great for a large SUV, and the ride is superb thanks to their super advanced air ride suspension system.
I don’t need to tell you about all the safety features, it is a Mercedes after all. I don’t need to tell you the interior is WONDERFUL, navigation system and all controls are simple, or that the sound system is spectacular. It might surprise you however to know it has a power, fold flat third row seat that adults can actually sit in. A nice touch not many large SUVs offer.
Exterior styling is eye-catching to say the least, with distinct lines and over-sized tires and wheels. It looks and drives less SUV-like than anything other than a Rover. Overall, this SUV is really easy to fall in love with.
$71,000 is a lot of money, but my test vehicle was ultra loaded with everything including two power sunroofs, backup camera, and a host of other options. Given the mileage you can drive this vehicle without repairs, and the fact that I am getting almost 25 miles per gallon on the road, I can make the case that this is a good buy at that price. The Germans outdid themselves on this one!