Roadshow Video Reviews
2009 Mercedes GL320 BlueTec 4MATICMercedes' BlueTec diesel power train takes a starring role in its full-size SUV.
>> Diesels. They're Mercedes' birthright. Nobody has stuck with them more durably in the U.S. market. So now the world is crying out for more efficient high-tech power trains. Is a clean diesel the answer? Let's take a ride in the Mercedes' GL320 blue-tech diesel and check the tech. ^M00:00:17 [ Music ] ^M00:00:22 >> Now our GL's got a nice array of sources. Quite a few to get to. Let's check them out starting with our in-dash CD slot. Well, CD and DVD. You can actually put either movies or audio discs including WMA, mp3, I think even AAC files, if you can believe that. Now, this is all part of an upgraded system, by the way, a premium package brings you this Harmond [assumed spelling] Garland [assumed spelling] logic 7 deal as opposed to a simple 6-disc in the glove box. Now check out these sources under the audio band. There's satellite radio. That's Sirius. Memory cards are SD card. Music register. This is going to be our hard drive because we have a 40 gig hard-drive based head unit and nav system, we can copy some media to it. Interestingly, though, I can copy tracks from my FD card. When I go to my audio CD, copy music files isn't there. So this is going to be a little different than ripping a CD like you would on your computer directly to the hard drive. And lastly, the media interface selection right here. This is going to bring you your iPod connector, which is right there in the glove box, and right next to it is a female Ox [phonetic]. Now, of course, the same hard drive that gives us all that flexibility in the audio system is also great for the navigation system. I get around it really well. You go up to the upper or lower ribbons. You mouse around with this four-corner director here. By the way, no touch screen, which is a little non-intuitive. You're going to keep doing this for the first few days you own this car, and of course, this vehicle has built-in Bluetooth hands-free standard. Now, being a modern Mercedes but not one of their sport-line cars, it has this kind of delicate old-school transmission control for the seven-speed, one choice only automatic. But then as a counterpoint to that, you've got these kind of sporting paddles behind the wheel, unfortunately, mounted to the wheel. Left is downshift. Right is upshift. Go into reverse, you get a back-up camera of particularly good quality. Mercedes has always done these rather well. But there is no trajectory information as you can see. You've also got the partronic [phonetic] technology up on the dash giving you an array of red and yellow LED's to let you know how close you're getting to running something over. Now, our GL's got the optional rear seat entertainment system. A couple of sort of tacked on 8-inch LCD's. I like how big they are. I don't like how they're just kind of clinging to the edge of the Earth right here, and I'd hate to be sitting here in a collision. Bam. Right in your face. You've got headphone jacks on the side of the monitor, plus it comes with wireless headphones as well, and a nice little remote to control either the right or the left with this little rolly scrolly [phonetic] thing right there. Now, up here in the engine bay, we've got a three liter, all aluminum, dual overhead cam V6, but you really get the nature of it when you hit the start button. Yup, no mistaking that sound. It's an oil burner. Turbo diesel. Two-hundred and ten horsepower. Scrawny. Three hundred ninety-eight foot pounds of torque. Not scrawny. Zero to 60, though, still takes over nine seconds because, well, it's a big boy. Mileage is 17, 23. Not bad for pushing a brick through the air. Now keeping this guy acceptable in all 50 states is the blue-tech technology. So, several things happen. First, the exhaust goes out through a special oxidizing catalyst, then a particular filter that takes out lots of soot and burns it off. Then it squirts ad blue, liquid urea, into the exhaust channel, and then catalyzes that in another catalytic converter at the very end to create nitrogen and water vapor out of most of the exhaust. Now interestingly, because you had that ad blue urea tank, that lives back here where you'd normally have a spare tire. So these vehicles don't have one. They have run-flat tires instead, and this tank down here is where you're going to have to refill that fluid to drive this car basically every 10,000 miles every dealer service. The label's interesting. It appears to say no diesel here, but white wine is OK. ^M00:03:54 [ Music ] ^M00:03:58 >> The GL's not a sporting vehicle in anybody's mind except perhaps those of Mercedes' marketers. But that said, the three-switchable suspension modes of the airmatic [phonetic] undercarriage do make a difference. It's just that on all of them, the vehicle feels rather high and jauncy [phonetic] to us. On a long road trip from San Francisco to L.A., we averaged a little over 26 miles per gallon beating rather nicely the EPA estimate of just 23 on the highway. And all GL's have Mercedes' formatic [phonetic] full-time all-wheel drive, which generally aims for a 50-50 torque split. OK. Let's price our GL320 blue-tech, $59,000 base doesn't include much tech. Basically, a simple connector for portables and Bluetooth hands-free. If you want to go whole hog and get all the toys we showed you, add $6,600 for premium package number one. On top of that, $1,850 for the rear seat entertainment rig, and $750 gets you that active damper system on all four corners. [ Music ] ^M00:04:56