Best Of The Best 2006: Growing Larger

<< Back to Robb Report, June 2006

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 Gerald Farber Photography
The pebble beach Concours d’Elegance and the surrounding four days of automotive auctions (...
Photo by Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby's
RM Sotheby’s has assembled a special sale of approximately 30 postwar sports cars dubbed the...
A half-century after its historic victory in Europe, Shelby’s iconic racer returns to celebrate…
Today’s german auto museums are much more than vaults filled with old cars: They are structural...
Battery pack improvements give the car the ability to go from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds…
Classic Ferraris and Porsches will be on display in all of their glory…
In addition to the Ferraris, rare cars from DuPont and Carrozzeria Touring will also be spotlighted…
The Porsche Cayman GTS is a serious sports car with a long, low profile...
Photograph by Charlie Magee
Yacht owners can stow this jet-like joyride for one in its own climate-controlled container…
Photo by Artcurial Motorcars
Auto critic Robert Ross sifts through the barn-find phenomenon at auction—and in his own garage.