One thing is certain when reading an article written about a Mercedes:  somewhere in the article will be the words “classy” and “superior craftsmanship.”

Well, this article, about the Mercedes GL-Class, will not disappoint you because this is one finely crafted car.   This is both an excellent choice for families AND an excellent choice for those seeking luxury in their SUV and that is a hard balance for any car manufacturer.

The GL-Class for 2012 comes in three trims, the GL350, the GL450 and the GL550.  Deciding between the three is as easy as deciding whether you want fuel economy or power and speed.  If it is fuel economy you are after while still providing a great ride for seven people then by all means go for the GL350 with its V6 diesel engine that produces 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.  It comes standard with a seven-speed automatic and gets 17/21 mpg.  It is, however, quite sluggish as it goes from 0-60 in 9.1 seconds.

Moving up in class we have the GL450 with its 4.7-liter V8 engine and 335 horsepower and it will do the 0-60 jaunt in 6.7 seconds; note that the gas mileage suffers with 13/18 mpg.

Next we have the top of the line with the GL550 which has a 5.5-liter V8 engine and it pours out 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque.  It will do the 0-60 test in 6.5 seconds and the mpg is 12/17.

Listen, these are Mercedes products and as such they are of very high quality.  All features are top of the line from their wheels to the transmission, from the air conditioning unit to the car stereo system.  However, one has to ask how much one is willing to pay for luxury and fine craftsmanship because the Mercedes GL-Class is easily $15,000 higher in price than the chief competition, namely the Audi Q7 and the Land Rover LR4.  That is a hefty price difference and even the Infinit QX is $3,000 cheaper but has greater standard features.  This is one case where comparative shopping will pay big dividends.

One thing to note on the GL-Class is that they are not built on a truck chassis meaning you will get a much smoother and gentler ride.  What it all boils down to is this: people who buy Mercedes products will fall in love with this model.  Those who comparative shop may find other competitors much better or that the price difference isn’t worth buying the Mercedes.

As always, replacement auto parts are expensive for the Mercedes line so if you need to replace a part you would be well-advised to buy your used parts from a salvage yard where the best in recycled auto parts are available.