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2015 GL350 - long term reliability?

 
Old 08-21-2014, 05:27 PM
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2015 GL350 - long term reliability?

We're looking to purchase a high quality, larger SUV which we intend to own for 10+ years. After test driving, RR/LR4, Land Cruiser/LX, BMW, etc., we prefer the overall specs, appearance, and drivability of the GL but are concerned about long term reliability.

Curious if anyone else has faced this dilemma and whether or not a combination of the new redesign and selected options may help mitigate longer term ownership issues.

On the options front, I'd be curious if there are certain features like active lane keeping, active parking assist, etc. which may be more prone to problems and worth eliminating from the order.

Any insight or feedback you can share would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:06 PM
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This is a complex question, but I'll share my perspective.

First, these are sophisticated vehicles with a lot of control functions, gadgets, features, etc. Every device has some failure rate - so many parts per million. The more devices that can fail, the higher the failure rate. When you look at luxury vehicles they often have reliability numbers lower than others. I think some of it is due to this.

That said, I've had 3 MB's over the last 11 years, a 2003 ML500, a 2007 GL450, and my 2013 GL350. I've put a combined 200,000 - 250,000 miles on them. I put quite a few miles on per year. I don't have experience as the odometer goes up above 125,000 on any given vehicle. My personal experience is that the quality seems to be getting better. I had more issues with my 2003, than I did with my 2007. My 2013 only has 28,000 miles on it, so a little early to judge, but so far the only issue I've had is one of the soft close doors stopped working. My 2007 had a COMAND unit fail, the usual strut/air shock issue at about 75,000 miles. I considered it to be fairly reliable.

My next observation is I've been involved in these forums for 7 years. I can count on one hand the number of major failures, such as engines, transmissions, etc. I think there were 2 I am aware of that were lemon lawed.

So my perspective is they are pretty reliable. You have to realize there are a lot more things that can fail, and also realize that repairs can be costly. You might want to consider an extended warranty for some piece of mind.

Last edited by JimBarnhart; 08-22-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:39 PM
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Thanks Jim, very helpful and consistent with my thoughts.

I have been an Audi owner the past 15 years and have had a very similar experience. Overall, reliability has been pretty solid with any issues being minor and more luxury feature related.

My main concern with the GL is with some of the more automated and active electronic drive related features which I'll probably just opt out of for this go around.

Thanks again!
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:26 AM
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I've got 30K on my 2013 and it has been flawless except for an air comditioner line leak...but as Jim said, the complexity of the vehicle is high so I opted for an extended warranty, which I negotiated a great price on at time of purchase. Plan on keeping mine 7-8 years, phenomenal vehicle BTW.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JMCarter View Post
I've got 30K on my 2013 and it has been flawless except for an air comditioner line leak...but as Jim said, the complexity of the vehicle is high so I opted for an extended warranty, which I negotiated a great price on at time of purchase. Plan on keeping mine 7-8 years, phenomenal vehicle BTW.
Could you please share more info about your extended warranty coverage and price ?

Thanks.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:46 AM
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This thread has some good info, along with a contact for pricing.

https://mbworld.org/forums/gl-class-...-warranty.html

In determining what extended warranty is right for you, it's important to consider the number of miles you put on a vehicle per year. I got bit on my 2003 by the confusion. Let me know if you need more info, or search my posted on extended warranty for an explanation.
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:37 AM
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Thanks Jim.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:21 PM
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2015 GL350
This is my #1 concern with the 2015 GL350 that we ordered for late October build. It is also the reason we didn't consider the Range Rovers. Wife has a 2003 LX470 with 158K miles on it that has had exactly 1 problem (radio went out) in 11 years. I could only hope for that on the new GL. We plan on keeping the GL for 10 years.


I have never owned a car built in the US. I don't know if / how it affects reliability. Hopefully those non-union workers down in Alabama are happy and build great trucks.

I appreciate the extended warranty thread link. Definitely something to consider.

Last edited by spoole100; 08-22-2014 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:44 PM
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We are on our 3rd GL since they were introduced and all have been in the shop for issues.
Our current 2014 model with 25,000 miles is now in for the 5th time in "limp mode"
Too many electronics and poor overall reliability. Cannot afford to have wife and kids stranded with electrical and electronic issues all the time.

In addition to this my 2015 CLS550 has been in the shop 3 times in 12 months, once for 30 days while they rectified the power steering which required a new unit to be shipped from Germany because the 3 they fitted still didn't work.

Am a huge fan of MB and love the safety and quality but the reliability is poor, end of story.
Currently looking to ditch the GL for something Japanese.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:45 PM
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2015 GL550
Used to have 2004 and 2006 Range Rover HSEs and 2010 LR4 and only visited the shop for broken sun visor and radio (Lucky maybe?). Had a 2007 Escalade and never had a problem. Had a 2010 Escalade and at about 30000 miles, transmission was stuck at 1st gear only for about a few minutes. I still have a 2000 Toyota Landcruiser and aside from intermittent auto lock/unlock of doors stuck during summer, it's still runs like I got it last year without any problems. Now, I recently got a 2015 GL550 and after about a month, it stalled while being driven on the road. Bad luck maybe?
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Old 01-10-2015, 02:19 AM
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We've always liked the GL; we've owned a '09 GL450, '11 GL350, and now a '15 GL450. We've only owned the '09 and '11 for about a year each. The '09 was the worst; it had multiple problems. I got tired of visiting the dealership for warranty work so I dumped it in just over a year. The '11 GL350 had front end noise problems the dealer could not fix (they said it's "normal"). I sold it in less than a year. We stayed away from MB for a few years.
When the X166 came out, we really liked the tech and interior improvements as well as the subtle exterior changes. Our '15 has been in the shop twice already with around 3,000 miles. Unlucky.... I don't know. We've owned several other MB models and the GL has been the most unreliable of them all. It is also our favorite; it's a love/hate relationship, I guess. This will be our last large SUV since our kids are growing up.
If you are keeping it past the warranty period, definitely get the extended warranty from MB. btw, you don't have to buy the warranty from your purchasing dealership. In California, especially in the O.C. area, you will get ripped off. MB of Austin has good prices for extended warranties. Good luck. Hope you are luckier than us.
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Old 01-10-2015, 02:27 AM
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Doesn't seem like a reliable Benz... But then again these online forums tend to concentrate the problematic vehicles ...

Last edited by PeterUbers; 01-10-2015 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 01-10-2015, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterUbers View Post
Doesn't seem like a reliable Benz... But then again these online forums tend to concentrate the problematic vehicles ...
And...this is not really a good measurement based on a handful of bad experiences.
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Old 01-10-2015, 01:03 PM
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Regardless of your view of these forums, the fact remains that the reliability is NOT consistent and that in itself provides valuable information.

Having owned 6 MB's in the last 8 years I can confirm inconsistent reliability across a range of models.

I can add to my comments above by saying we have a friend in CA with the same GL model and they too have been frustrated by a numerous issues requiring inconvenient trips to the dealer and having to use loaner vehicles for days on end.
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Old 01-10-2015, 01:54 PM
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2015 GL 350
2015 GL 350

I bought my GL 3 months ago. All of a sudden it started shifting odd and CEL came on. Took to the dealer and they diagnosed it to be a faulty exhaust pressure sensor. It was covered by warranty but quite disappointing that sensors are failing after 3 months...
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:38 PM
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You can visit most car forums and hear about problems all day long. Trying visiting the BMW or Audi forums.
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:09 AM
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2011 not reliable

We have a 2011 one, diesel, we bought new. The first year, no problems. The second year it went in twice, covered under warranty, but annoying. We are in year three, and it's been in three times. The last time it actually shut down and came to a complete stop on the freeway and cost us $200 to tow to the nearest dealership, although repairs were covered under warranty. Meanwhile we have owned three Lexus, each held for 8-10 years and never had a single problem. When the extended warranty is up on this car, we won't be keeping it. Another friend had a $5000 repair bill on hers, just one just out of warranty. It's unfortunate, because this car definitely had some great advantages over the other suvs, but as another poster mentioned, can't stranded on the road with two little all the time. This car is for leasing only in our opinion, but buying. Good luck!
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by caruser View Post
We have a 2011 one, diesel, we bought new.
Wrong forum. The X166 was redesigned for the 2013 model year. It is a different vehicle. I'm not saying it is going to be reliable 5 years from now but your experience with a X164 (and mine too as I have owned both) really is of little relevance. The air struts for instance, which were a huge problem on the X164, are completely redesigned on the X166.
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Old 01-11-2015, 07:01 PM
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First - engine/tranny life comparing diesel to gasser - in todays world have come to convergence - unlike the '70's and '80's - in today's MB world a gasser has the same potential life as a diesel - with realistically no major engine rebuild required for either for well over 200K miles. Diesels maximize fuel economy over gassers - yes - as higher efficiency "smaller" gassers continue to emerge as we go forward in passenger vehicles - that "economy" advantage of diesels will erode somewhat.

If you are looking for a ultra-luxury 7-passenger SUV as a "forever" car - there are three commonalities to all brands of ULSUV 5-passenger vehicles - sophisticated suspension (in MB's case Airmatic) - very sophisticated engine/tranny control systems - and sophisticated accessory electronic safety and convenience systems.

Suspension systems are considered "wear" systems - and with 2nd generation GL's X164 Airmatic system in that generation - for many there was a "plateau" regarding the strut "life" - that seemingly would start kicking in at 75K miles or above - strut's would start failing - usually a front strut 1st - leading to expensive strut replacement - with the X164 frankly the Arnott 3rd party replacement struts are the best bet - and so far the Arnott replacements seemingly do not have the 75K limitation of the MB struts - especially if struts are replaced in matching pairs at the time of the 1st strut failure. Personally I have not seen Arnott's fail at extended mileage.

Yes - the X166 has a redesigned Airmatic suspension - however, I have not yet seen X166 rigs with enough mileage to tell if there is the same 75K or higher "plateau" yet or not.

Sophisticated engine and tranny control systems are the norm now - and frankly the MB engineered engines and MB engineered 7G/7G+ tranny frankly are both rugged beasts.

Sophisticated electronic systems - in safety the active/broadcasting "radar" Distronic/Distronic+ systems are subject to outside electronic interference - you would be amazed at the amount of outside "electronic" interference on the road today - from highway control systems i metro areas - to the range of electronic interference from other vehicles - where 1 out of 200 passing vehicles can be operating a radar jammer for all we know. The lower range broadcasting or non-broadcasting safety systems are by and large rock solid - outside of 1st year startup in 2013 where there were "some" COMAND issues - since 2014 COMAND in X166 to me personally have been rock solid. Climate control has been more/more electronically controled - from the compressor/drive side in new generation all manufacturers have been continuing their electronics control work there systems out of their need to continue to improve overall efficiency/fuel economy.

So - that's where you are at - do you really need diesel if gasser "life" is the same ? do you really "need" to have a ultra-luxury SUV as a "forever" car - as compared to a full-size 5 passenger SUV with conventional suspension - luxury full-size or even as compared to having one or possibly two vehicles with less sophistication.
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:48 PM
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2014 GL350. 13 months of ownership. 15,000. Not one single issue.
Wife absolutely loves it. Says she'll never drive anything else.
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Old 01-16-2015, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by spoole100 View Post
...Wife has a 2003 LX470 with 158K miles on it that has had exactly 1 problem (radio went out) in 11 years. I could only hope for that on the new GL....
That is beyond a dream. More of a hallucination. I've had many problems with my '14 GL350. Customer service is woeful, as well.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:05 PM
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While this does not speak to 'long-term' reliability.........We just completed a 30 day journey from Cleveland to San Diego to Pinehurst, N.C. and back to Cleveland in our 2015 GL 350 which we've had exactly nine weeks. Drove 6,230 miles, averaged 22.8 mpg and spent about 110 hours behind the wheel of this baby. That includes 2 weeks of in-town driving in San Diego and 1 week of in-town driving in Pinehurst. Most of the highway driving was 75 to 90 mph which may be the reason for 22.8 mpg vs MB advertised 26 highway. The vehicle performed perfectly and it's a great highway cruiser. Heated/Cooled/Massage seats are sweet. Nav system performed very well and I love the 'SendtoBenz' and Concierge features with the mbrace app. Each evening we decided where to spend the next night and sent the address to the car from our hotel room. The diesel out-performed my expectations in the mountains. Tremendous torque and speed maintained while climbing some significant hills in the Rockies! Lowest price paid for diesel was $2.29 in Oklahoma City and highest was $3.05 in North Carolina, exclusive of the $3.49 per gal. paid before leaving Cleveland in December.
Have appt. at dealer for 10k service next week (I'll ask about mpg expectations) and then hitting the road again on January 24.....back to N.C and on to Florida to escape the winter weather. Planning another west coast trip for the fall.
Again......this is not speaking to long term reliability but in the short term.....it's a fantastic vehicle for road tripping.

Last edited by anothercar; 01-16-2015 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:58 PM
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I'm a bit concerned with all these negative posts about the GL. I was considering one of these for my family. Are the problem posts here limited to a few or is this vehicle one I should avoid? Those with problems are they resolved by MB?

If I should avoid the GL, which other SUV is worth looking at?
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by tate16t View Post
I'm a bit concerned with all these negative posts about the GL. I was considering one of these for my family. Are the problem posts here limited to a few or is this vehicle one I should avoid? Those with problems are they resolved by MB?

If I should avoid the GL, which other SUV is worth looking at?
It's a common theme for ALL internet auto forums, IMHO.

All the problems are put to print online but it's not a true sample of the whole. For every post complaining about a specific issue, there are dozens/hundreds/thousands of others happily motoring along.

You will see quite a few repeat GL buyers, if that says anything.

Last edited by cadetdrivr; 01-16-2015 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:41 AM
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I just purchased my first Mercedes Benz GL 550 five weeks ago. I have owned 5 BMWs and one Audi and can say quality seems suspect in comparison. It just came back from the dealer this week. The rear vent window broke in the second week. The front chrome bumper is bubbling. The rear wheel arch has a very poor fit that for MB offered to fix but I'm concerned with having a new piece that requires painting. I like the truck, but have been surprised with the initial issues.
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