The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

A Price Value Improvement for Mercedes


SEE ALSO:Compare M-B Models - Mercedes-Benz Buyers Guide

Special to The Auto Channel
By Marty Bernstein

AIADA Contributing Editor


MCCALL, IDAHO – In a word association test, Idaho would probably elicit quick response words like potatoes, Hemingway, Sun Valley and potatoes. Similarly, if the phrase “price value improvements” were spoken in the same sentence as Mercedes or Mercedes-Benz, one might assume a monumental oxymoron.


But that’s exactly what Mercedes announced recently during a media reveal of the vastly updated and improved GL550 and ML550 SUVs in Idaho earlier this month. Price value improvement essentially means certain options which heretofore resulted in higher prices, now come standard!  And that’s without an increase in MSRP, either.  Amazing.


The New GL Class

New this year, the GL is the first seven-passenger, full-size SUV with a unibody chassis and distinctive styling. The GL has sweeping front fenders, dramatic shoulder lines and a sharply angled windshield. The GL-Class also features four-wheel independent suspension and height-adjustable Airmatic suspension for added comfort and handling.


The new GL comes equipped with 21-inch AMG styled wheels fitted with all-season tires, a three-bar front grille with the famous star logo, running boards, four cool looking rectangular exhaust pipes, and chrome roof rails, side molding and load sill.


Inside, the GL is fitted with real wood trim, 8-way power front seats that are very comfortable, award winning cup-holders (honest) and a stationary rear sunroof over the third-row seats. Even during a hot Idaho day, the HVAC kept the car very cool and comfortable.


For those who need large storage, the GL’s two third-row seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a button, either separately or together, providing a large flat cargo floor. And with the second row seats stowed, there’s a lot more room for cargo. 


The ML Class SUV


Combining rugged looking with stylish and luxurious might also be considered a contradiction, but the ML carries it off very well, both outside and inside.  Mercedes calls it AMG styling, but by any term it works.


Parked or moving, front, side or back, it looks good from every viewing perspective. Every ML is equipped with all-season tires, running boards, seven-speed automatic transmission, full time four-wheel drive and traction control.


Inside, the amenities continue with seating that is both comfortable and feels secure, and a good looking instrument panel with easy-to-read dials and gauges. The location cruise-control lever is still over the turn-signal, a preference for some. The front cup holders (award winning, remember?) could be cooled – and wouldn’t that be nice on a long road trip.


Steering and handling over the winding roads – through some of most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen – was responsive and provided a secure, safe, stick-to-the-road feeling, even in Idaho’s high twisty roads with sheer drops.  And that’s coming from a minor victim of acrophobia – the fear of heights – especially those without guard rails.


New Power Plants


Both the ML 550 and the GL 550 feature a new V8, 5.5-liter power plant that has 382 horsepower and a very efficient 391 pounds of torque, which gives that nice boost of power when you need it. 


Built in America


The ML and GL class SUVs are produced at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Suggested retail prices start at $44,425 for the ML class and $53,775 for the GL class.