This year the 5.5-liter V8 that sat in the 2012 GL550 will be replaced by the 4.7-liter V8, but if last year’s sales are any indication, many customers will look to the more efficient GL350 BlueTEC. In 2012, 40 percent of customers opted for the less-thirsty version over both the 4.7-liter and 5.5-liter V8s.
The middle-ground GL450 shares engine displacement with it’s top-of-the-line sibling, but has 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque to the GL550’s 429 hp and 516 lb-ft, meaning there will still be significant performance differences between the to despite the axed 5.5-liter V8.
With gas prices spiking even higher this year, it seems reasonable that more people will turn to the diesel for its fuel economy, despite paying a slight premium at the pump.
Based on the M Class platform, the boxier-looking GL SUV gets some styling updates this year, including a larger rear spoiler and more defined lines along the body. As is true with the entire Mercedes lineup, exterior lighting gets new LED accents. Bigger hips around the rear wheels give a more muscular look to the 2013 model, and the strips that ran along the 2012’s sides are gone too.
The interior gets a mild refresh too, with a slightly updated center stack. The round air vents are replaced with rectangular ones, and the overall interior styling has a more contrasted feel thanks to more wood accents and a steering wheel with sharper-looking spokes.
Mercedes also moved to further improve technological integration in the GL-Class and the rest of its cars. For this, the SUV nicknamed “Mr. Big,” that includes iPod integration. Also new to the interior is Mercedes’ “Power Easy Entry” system for simpler third-row seating access.