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2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450 is about as Teutonic as you can get on four wheels. It is true to the Mercedes-Benz mission of performance and luxury, however, its plentiful cabin tech features are not as useful or usable as we would like.
CNET Reviews staff
Corinne Schulze/ CNET Networks
At more than 200 inches in length, the seven-seat SUV has plenty of room to transport five full-size passengers in comfort, and even some usable room left over for the kindergarteners in the third row.
The GL450's automatic third-row seats tumble forward and fold flat with the press of a button on either side of the cargo area. With the third-row seats stowed, the GL450 has 44 cubic feet of cargo room into which we managed to pack 21 crates of wine of varying sizes.
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450 does come with the option of hands-free calling. However, those who want to connect their phones by the standard Bluetooth hands-free profile (rather than via Mercedes' proprietary MHI interface) have to fork out $408 for the pleasure of a separate module.
The GL450's stereo can be used to play various kinds of digital audio, including MP3 and WMA discs. With such compressed audio formats playing, the LCD in the center of the dash displays information for the current track playing, but there doesn't appear to be any way to call up all the ID3 tag information associated with a specific disc (such as artist, folder, album, and so on).
With a power bulge and two air vents identical to those on the SL550, the mammoth SUV seems to wish it had been born as something toward the sportier end of the Mercedes lineup. With its 335-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 engine, adaptive suspension, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, the GL450 does have serious performance credentials.
Programming the GL450's navigation system is less frustrating in the GL450 than in the E-class sedans, thanks to the presence of a joystick to the right of the display as well as a quicker processor that eliminates the lag between inputs.
The cabin of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450 is a refined, elevated perch from which to look down at other road users. A stitched, upholstered upper dashboard bedecked in Mercedes-Benz Tex is complemented by plush leather seats and burl walnut trim lining the dash, center console, and door panels.
Other than the placement of the DVD slot, the dual rear-seat entertainment system is impressive; it's one of the few that we have seen that offers headrest-mounted screens (two pairs of wired headphones and a remote control are also included with the $2,650 option).