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Mercedes-Benz M-Class overall verdict
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Variations on the ‘large 4x4 Merc’ theme because the GL is basically a larger seven-seat and tinsel version of the ML. Turns out that either is a pretty solid bet as an actual vehicle, but a little tarty for proper taste-mongers.
Big and comfy and capable of steamrolling any pocked roads into submission. Can get a little wallowy if you decide to attack a set of hairpins, which has a direct effect on the colour-pallette of rear-seat passengers, but otherwise long distances are no problem.
The M-class comes with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol with 200kW, a 5.0-litre V8 with 285kW or a diesel with a respectable 165kW. A more powerful 5.5-litre V8 petrol with 285kW. To be honest, only the base diesel is really an issue -the rest can motivate the big Mercs with ease.
If you're a footballer's wife then they probably look quite attractive, but the truth is that you can go cheaper and have as much space and prestige.
Unlike early M-classes, both the GL and M feel very solid. There's a fabulous feeling that Merc have started spending money on the bits that matter - and a decent interior is very important in this sector.
A Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5 both drive much better, but both the ML and the GL ride well and manage to get around corners without falling over. The ride compromise is more comfort-orientated, and you'll never forget that this is a tall SUV from the old school. If you want to get muddy, then you need the ‘Off-Road pro' option pack. But then you'd look a bit try-hard.
Obviously the five-seat ML is a little bit smaller than the seven seat GL, but it manages to feel spacious. If you're genuinely after lots of seats, then the GL is still a little tight for all-adults. Both have decent boots when seating five, with some 633-litres on offer with the seats up and a truly enormous 2020-litres when you fold all the bits down.