Seating & Cargo

The GL550's front seats have a litany of power adjustments, including adjustable stiffness for the side bolsters. Even with the bolsters and lumbar support dialed all the way back, the seats are too stiff. That's typical in German cars, but in a large SUV I prefer cushier seats. These hold you in place during spirited driving; expert road manners notwithstanding, I'm not sure many GL-Class drivers are going to carve corners.

I compared seating in a GL-Class, QX56, Escalade and Lexus LX 570 at an auto show, and the front seats of all three competitors suited me better. Second-row space in the GL550 seems on par with the competition — I'm about 6 feet tall, and I had no complaints — but it's the third row that shines. Legroom and headroom are leagues better than the others', and the GL's seats sit high enough that passengers aren't watching their knees. The Lincoln Navigator is perhaps the only competitor that has as much third-row roominess. As craftsmanship goes, there is no competition: The GL550's third row boasts reading lights, overhead A/C vents, a fixed skylight and leather-wrapped armrests. It puts third-row décor in the other SUVs to shame.

All trim levels have a power-folding 50/50-split third row. It folds more or less flat, as does the second row, and the resulting load floor is free of any major gaps. Maximum cargo volume is 83.3 cubic feet, which considerably trails some of the GL's boxiest competitors.

    See also:

    High-beam headlamps (halogen headlamps)
    Switch off the lights. Open the hood. Remove the headlamp cover (). Left-hand headlamp: detach the washer fluid reservoir (). Turn housing cover 1 counter-clockwise and pull it out. Pre ...

    Opening and closing the side trim panels
    You must open the side trim panel in the cargo compartment before you can change the bulbs in the tail lamps. Left-hand side trim panel Right-hand side trim panel To open: turn release kno ...

    Diesel Power
    As if the R-Class' styling didn't make it unique enough, it's also one of the few models in the U.S. with an available clean-diesel engine. The diesel V-6 is rated 25 percent better in EPA-estimat ...