Test Drive Review: The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL450 – Part 2 (Interior)

Review Index:
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL450 – Part 1 (Exterior)
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL450 – Part 2 (Interior)
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL450 – Part 3 (Chassis and Suspension)
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL450 – Part 4 (Powertrain)

In part 1, I have shown you some of my opinions regarding the GL450. In this section, let us take a look at the inside of the GL450.

Our test car comes with the Black MB-Tex synthetic leather option, which is standard on the GL450. If you want real leather interior, you need pay another $1,620 for that. Below is how this synthetic leather looks.


You may notice with MB-Tex equipped GL-class, the seating surfaces are perforated; while with the real leather option but without selecting the active ventilated front seats option, the seating surfaces are solid without any perforation. The reason is: although the MB-Tex has advantages such as more wear-resistant, easier to clean, the material has worse natural ventilation property. If the surfaces are not perforated, the worse natural ventilation effect will make people feel hot and uncomfortable when sit on the seat for extended time. From my personal experience, I suggest you opt for the real leather options, it has better touch and make you more comfortable.

The front seats has good legroom, but this is not the case for the second row seats. With the driver seat at position as is shown in the above photo, this is the space left for the second row seat.


and this is how it looks from the passenger side:


I stepped back to take one more photo to let you have a general idea about the second row legroom.


The situation for the 3rd row seats is not better, it even makes me feel cramped when I try to sit in there.


another angle to show you the 3rd-row-seat legroom


The current GL class (X166) has a wheelbase of 121.1 in, not short at all. The reason why the interior legroom still feels not so spacious, is because the RWD layout requires longer nose, and the occupant compartment need to be “pushed” backwards to meet the weight distribution requirements for the RWD layout.

The width of the second-row seat is OK. There are only 2 places you can put a child car seat, the left/right outboard seats. However, I saw some people use each one of the anchor points of those two seats, and install the child car seat in the center of the 2nd-row seat. While this is not recommended by the manufacturer, I did a small experiment and found that by doing this, two adults can still sit comfortably on each outboard side. Disclaimer: please follow the instruction in your owner’s manual about how to install infant/child car seats.


More on the seats: I know some other Mercedes-Benz cars also expose the wiring/mechanical parts under the seat. But for the sake of the almost $70k MSRP, isn’t it more decent to put a panel here to cover those things up?


Also one more panel here, please.


In the summer, if you are barefoot and siting on the second row seat of the GL, please be careful. These places has sharp metal objects and they may cut your feet if you are not careful.


Now we turn our focus on the vehicle controls and instruments. Here is what you will see when sitting on the driver’s seat. A very typical Mercedes layout style.


It will look more “colorful” when you start it up.


The instrument clusters are elegant and easy to read. Pay attention to the engine coolant temp gauge, if you have driven the GL on highway with high speed for quite a while, you will find the needle move up to 95°C; after you exit the highway and back to the local road with lowered speed, the coolant temperature will drop to around 90°C.



I have something to say about the brake pedals: it feels “sticky” – after you pressing it down, the moment you release it, you will feel it has a slight tendency to stick to its position. But this does not mean the pedal is stuck, it will bounce back finally; it just give people the feeling that it moves not freely.


Here is details of the door panel and armrest.



Lock/unlock buttons, and seat position adjustment buttons, with position memory feature.


The GL’s dash is covered with stitched synthetic leather, which provides an upscale touch and distinguish it from Mercedes-Benz’s other lowered-priced vehicles.


Since the GL is made in USA, it sources many parts within the North America region. The AC control panels looks to be identical to the one in the C-class. Although it does its job well, we do miss the better look unit which is on the E-class.


The navigation screen, infotainment controls. The two cup holders have cool/heat feature. The inner side wall of the holders are made of steel, it acts like a refrigerator: if you push the button to “cool” setting, that steel will become cool and keep your drink cold; if you set it to heat setting, that inner side wall will become hot and thus, keep your drink warm.


This knob controls the navigation and all other vehicle settings. On the right hand side of the knob there is two buttons: one for the vehicle height setting and the other is downhill assist (which help you to limit the vehicle speed to around 25mph).


In the GL, it is very easy to fold/unfold the 3rd-row seat: just a push/pull of the corresponding button on the right hand side of the trunk.


More GL450 interior photos below.

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