Video: The WORST Mercedes-Benz? Here’s How Much It Cost to Keep This 2008 GL SUV in Top Shape

Was it worth it? It was to us when we bought it for $8,000

German Auto Service Mercedes Benz GL 450
Tommy (left) and Toby (right) at German Auto Service to look over the GL. (Images: TFL Studios)

In episode 2 of our look into one of the rarest luxury off-roaders in North America, the Mercedes-Benz GL 450 4MATIC with the “Off-Road Package“, Tommy headed to German Auto Service in Boulder to have Toby give the SUV the once-over. His verdict? Our GL is in fantastic shape for a vehicle purchased 17 years ago and has 122,000 miles on the odometer. After Toby went through it, his quote, “Much of the stuff that goes wrong on these has already been done,” was a welcome relief.

The GL has hardly any rust anywhere. The brakes were replaced recently. The airbags powering the adjustable suspension on all four corners have been replaced. The power steering system has been replaced. The only issues Toby seemed concerned about were the belts coming close to needing replacement, a small transmission fluid leak at the radiator, and a bad thermometer connected to the emission system.

Maintenance vs. Repair Costs on the Mercedes-Benz GL

Mercedes Benz GL 450 V8 engine
The GL 450’s V8 is running smooth and strong after 17 years. [Image: TFL]

The GL has an accurate and complete service history thanks to the previous owner’s meticulous taking it to the same Mercedes-Benz dealership in suburban Denver all those years. As mentioned, the owner spent almost $28,000 to keep this Benz in tip-top shape. From the paperwork, this GL enjoyed more than 20 oil changes totaling more than $5,000. That’s just for oil! Then there’s more than $10,682 in other scheduled maintenance such as filters, belts, brakes, fluid flushes, etc. In short, we’re looking at an average of over $900/year in scheduled dealer maintenance.

The repair bills, however, are gut punches. Replacing four airbags totaled $4,476. The power steering system was a couple grand to fix. But the killer was a summer of 2023 replacement of the power rear hatch motor. The dealer charged a whopping $6,000 for that repair.

So…Was it worth it?

The owner paid $75,285 for the SUV in 2007, plus $27,782 in service over the last 17 years for $103,067 total. Based on inflation, that $75,285 translates to more than $109,000 in today’s dollars. Hence, you could make that bizarre case that the owner came out ahead. We definitely came out with a great find, a true unicorn of a GL, a rare off-road spec with a spotless service record. All for $8,000. 

As Toby points out, it’s a good thing we didn’t mess with the diesel or twin-turbo version of the GL. Keeping those models on the road is astronomical compared to ours. For more of Toby’s thoughts, including his thoughts on the GL’s mechanicals, design, and what-the-hell-were-they-thinking observations, click the video below.