IN AN EVER-MORE-CROWDED FIELD OF LUXURY SUVS, TREAT YOURSELF TO SOME ROOM WITH THE BRANDNEW MERCEDES-BENZ GLS. IT’S MORE SPACIOUS, MORE AERODYNAMIC, AND WRAPS CLASS-LEADING INNOVATIONS IN STYLE THAT’S BOLD YET ELEGANT. FACT STEPS INTO THE DRIVER’S SEAT FOR A SPIN…
S ince 1997, Mercedes-Benz has been building premium SUVs in the USA, the main market for these vehicles worldwide. In 2006 the GL full-size seven-seater was launched. The next major change came in 2015, with a face lift that emphasised the luxury character of second-generation large SUV’s and changed the name to GLS. On top of that, it is the market leader in its segment – just like the S-Class Saloon.
As a leading SUV motoring brand, Mercedes offers an even more comfortable lead with the new GLS. A truly luxurious vehicle with seating for seven adults as standard, this is the car we’ve been waiting for. With a longer wheelbase for more legroom and an even smoother ride, the GLS lets you live large without the bulky driving experience. It’s chiseled and muscular, yet polished and agile.
The confident presence of its exterior stems from its impressive dimensions, which are even larger than those of its predecessor (length +77 mm, width +22 mm). One of the benefits of the 60mm longer wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the boot space (up to 2400 litres), while the seats in the second-row fold flat.
This is an excellent feature for those who like to lug around baggage as a result of shopping sprees or if you’re someone who likes to pack up for weekend road trips. Celebrating its world premiere in the GLS 580 4MATIC is an electrified V8 engine featuring EQ Boost – a 48-volt system with integrated starter-generator. The front section of the new GLS exudes presence and power: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated underguard in the front apron with the bone-shaped air inlet grille, and the bonnet with two powerdomes. This striking appearance is emphasised by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night. The Multibeam LED headlamps are equipped with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp, the maximum light intensity permitted by law. The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, as well, particularly with the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lights. The two-piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-calibre, threedimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip.
If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control, the third row has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. This zone is supplied by its own, electrically powered heater and air conditioner.
A push of a button is all that is required to stow away the comfortable seats and make full use of the 2400-litre boot space in the GLS. The switches on the left and right of the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches on the front-passenger side in the C-pillar area allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. It is also possible to fold down all the seats simultaneously by pressing the “ALL” button. The carpet-trimmed backs of the backrests form part of a flat, practical load area. Another push of a button lowers the boot sill by approx. 50 mm to make it easier to load heavy items.
The E-Active Body Control active suspension on 48-volt basis offers outstanding suspension comfort, agile handling and a high degree of off-road capability. Like the GLE, the GLS features the latest generation of Mercedes- Benz driving assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The new 4MATIC ensures great agility on the road and strong performance off the beaten track.
The new GLS has impressive aerodynamics in its segment, with a Cd figure of 0.32. It has a new Carwash function, which enables the car to be prepared for entry into a carwash with a single press of a button.
Luxury in the new GLS is shared generously among all passengers, particularly if the Rear Comfort package Plus is ordered. It includes a 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row’s larger luxury centre armrest.
The tablet allows control of all the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions (see next section) from the rear seat rows, such as access to radio, TV, media, phone and web browser. It can also be used to control the Rear Seat Comfort package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time, of course.
The centre console also offers a wireless-charging compartment for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear passengers are indulged further still thanks to luxury head restraints with additional cushions and the rearward-extended centre console between the front seats with cup holders.
The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Upgrades include two large 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens. The information on the instrument cluster and media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens.
An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
The high aspirations of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are likewise clearly apparent in its engine lineup. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the motoring comfort and effortlessly superior power that suit the characteristics of this luxurious car.
In all variants of the new GLS, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is likewise fitted as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles.
The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like almost no other vehicle. Powerful highlights of the off-road design idiom combine with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury saloon. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality, and digital high-tech. In our view, the new GLS therefore offers the best of all these worlds. ✤