Best Of The Best 2006: Growing Larger

The new Mercedes-Benz GL 450 is a study in contradictions: It is a German-engineered, American-made, full-size sport-utility vehicle that drives like a car; its rear children’s seats provide enough legroom to ac­commodate adults comfortably; and its base price of $54,900 belies its luxury status.

Mercedes builds the GL in the same Alabama factory as its M-Class midsize SUV, and the two share a number of attributes, including stiff unibody chassis, leather- and wood-clad interiors, and rack-and-pinion steering. The obvious difference between the two vehicles is their size. The GL is considerably larger. But the GL also surpasses the M-Class with an optional but essential off-road package that adds two locking differentials, a two-speed transfer case, an adaptive air suspension, and 10.9 inches of ground clearance (up from the standard 7.9 inches). The standard-issue 4.7-liter V-8 develops 335 hp, which might sound modest among 400 hp Dodges and Jeeps, but the GL is something of a lightweight in this class—a lightweight that still can tow a three-horse trailer.

Mercedes-Benz
www.mbusa.com

Photo by Drew Phillips
FREE PREVIEW: The Aston Martin Rapide S is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
FREE PREVIEW: The BMW i8​ is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
Photo by Ferrari spa/Carrer
FREE PREVIEW: The Ferrari California T is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
FREE PREVIEW: The Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best...
The packages give guests access to a Fiat 500 1957 Edition or a Ferrari California T during their...
Photo by Oli Tennent
The aerodynamic sports car looks to impress both on the track and during everyday driving…
The one-off 550 Italia prototype mates a Fiat 500 body with a Ferrari 458 Italia engine…
Limited to 50 examples, the supercar features design details found on McLaren’s 1995 Le Mans–...
The global program will feature top models from Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, and Lamborghini…
Cadillac hopes to take on its Germans competitors with its first modern full-size flagship…