The Mercedes Benz GL350 may not be the ultimate off-roader, but it gets the stars as a luxury four-wheel-drive.
If you’re in the fortunate position to be looking for a luxury 4x4 wagon that can seat seven passengers and offer some genuine off-road ability, then your choices are few among the current crop of new cars.
When you’re talking luxury vehicles, you can’t go past the three-pointed star of the Mercedes Benz brand but it isn’t the first company that comes to mind when considering an all-terrain capable 4x4. Sure the G-wagon vehicles are unstoppable but they lack the top-tier luxury and practicality that buyers at this price-point are after and the M-Class is a sweet all-road SUV, but is there a happy middle ground?
The 2014 GL-Class Mercedes Benz is the second generation here and unfortunately for people like us, it has become a softer vehicle than the original was. All first-gen GLs sold in Australia came with the Off & On Road Package that added low range gearing, a locking centre differential and extra underbody protection to the big wagon but, in-line with market trends, this is no longer the case and GL350, GL500 and AMG GL63 models don’t get these goodies any more.
Not many GL buyers use their vehicle off-road and the off-road kit adds weight, cost and uses more fuel so it’s no surprise they dropped the heavy duty parts from the standard vehicle. To Benz’s credit, the company still offers the Off Road Pack as an option on the GL350 BlueTEC only – the model that is most likely to appeal to anyone wanting to use it over all types of terrain.
We took to the hills to see how the GL350 faired. Our full review can be found in the March 2014 issue of 4x4 Australia.