Motor Trend Associate Editor and Truck Trend contributor Mike Febbo is the custodian of our long-term Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec, the largest and most plush range in Mercedes-Benz's SUV lineup, but not the most expensive, that honor going to the slab-sided but lovable G-Wagen. In the time the three-row SUV has been in Febbo's hands, it's seen ample miles in a variety of conditions, including the proverbial Vegas road trip, hauling bulky cargo, and serving as the family shuttle.

The GL's first impression as comfortable and refined has stood up over the miles, and although not offering the same engaging driving experience as an SLS AMG, the GL's heated and ventilated seats are just the thing to relieve stress from the L.A.-area commute. As would be expected from a $90,000 SUV, the ride is glassy smooth over most surfaces, with sport mode giving a little extra sharpness, but still delivering a composed driving experience.

Febbo also appreciates some of the GL's smaller details, such as the second-row HVAC vents, which helped keep his baby cool on hot days and the surround-view cameras giving a bird's-eye view of the GL's positioning, a handy feature for the 201.6-inch-long and nearly 80-inch-wide SUV.

Perhaps the most impressive feat so far for the nearly 3-ton SUV is its average fuel economy of 20.6 mpg. In the context of a midsize sedan, that's not an earth-shattering figure, but for a sport/utility of this size and capability, it's an amazing achievement, and a testament to the frugality and engineering of the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel and its generous 455 lb-ft of torque.

The two areas Febbo has not yet tested out are the GL's off-road and towing capabilities. With a rated towing capacity of more than 7000 pounds, it's more than capable of towing an E36 M3 club racer to the track or handling a pair of watercraft or even a decent-sized travel trailer. Febbo's eager to test the premium SUV's capabilities, which he expects should be near-flawless for the steep asking price.


Our Car
Service life 6 mo/13,280 mi
Average fuel economy 20.6 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.08 lb/mi
Energy consumption 164 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $315.08 (oil change, AdBlue top-off)
Normal-wear cost $0