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by Michael Hines
Brabus and Vilner are just two of the tuning houses that have put the Silver Arrow's flagship SUV under the knife.
When it comes to tuning a Mercedes-Benz, the GL is often forgotten among the awesomeness that is the SLS AMG and the C63 AMG. Those two cars are magnificent (to say the least), but that doesn't mean you should sleep on the GL. The Silver Arrow's flagship SUV has been given tuning jobs by some of the top European tuners, becoming more luxurious and powerful in the process. If you're someone who prefers tuned SUVs to souped-up coupes and sedans, then continue reading below.
Vilner took the luxuriousness that is the Mercedes-Benz GL to a whole other level with its aesthetic tune job. The Bulgarian tuners completely redid the interior, swapping out the rear bench seat for two bucket seats and adding an iPad to the enlarged center console. A headliner made from soft brown Alcantara and soundproof materials from Ground Zero were also added. The whole package is completed by a sound system featuring two subwoofers, three amplifiers (two four-channel and 1 mono-block), an Audison audio processor and a 31-band TSP equalizer.
Brabus upped both the horsepower and torque of the GL 450 CDI. A Brabus PowerXtra D8 tuning kit ups the horsepower and torque 44hp and 74 lb-ft, respectively. The GL's new engine output is rated at 350hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and its new top speed is 150 mph. The exterior and interior mods can best be described as "different."
Carlsson went brand-heavy when it tuned the Mercedes-Benz GL Grand Edition, slapping its name and logo all over the exterior of the luxury SUV. Both the V6 and the V8 engines were upgraded, with the V6 upped to 310 hp and the V8 boosted to 435 hp (an increase of 15 percent each). Exterior mods include a new chrome grille, front spoiler with LED running lights, rear skirt, exhaust tips and 22-inch wheels.
German tuners MKB rolled out one of the priciest GL tune jobs when it showed off this $294,000 tune job. The customization takes six months to complete and comes with a new V12 engine good for 670 hp and 885 lb-ft. Its 0-60 mph time is rated at 4.4 seconds and the top speed is said to be 170 mph. Totally worth the price.
Kicherer also went for power with its tune job, boosting the GL's 4.2-liter CDI diesel engine to 375 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Other add-ons include a Kircherer PowerConverter (makes for faster acceleration), a sport exhaust system with twin pipes, and a stiffer Airmatic suspension.