After a host of leaks, the German luxury brand has decided to officially premiere the refreshed GL flagship sport utility vehicle, complete with its new designation – GLS.
The carmaker is the most dynamic of the three top premium brands and has managed to jump ahead of second placed Audi so far in terms of sales – much of the performance has to do with the updated sport utility vehicle and crossover lineup. Spanning across segments from the smallish GLA to the massive GLS, Mercedes-Benz has attracted numerous buyers with its range of SUVs and crossovers, which have all now made the switch to the new naming nomenclature (save for the timeless G) – meaning they have all been refreshed or cometh with new generations.
Speaking of the “S Class” among SUVs, the GLS is now exactly that – every crossover mirrors in its latest letter the relationship with one passenger car: the GLA with the compact A Class, the GLC with the midsize C Class and so on up to the GLS that relates to the S Class sedan flagship. But the new GLS is only a mild refresh to the old GL with an updated front design that comes with new headlights complete with LED daylight-running lights, updated grille and bigger logo and a new bumper. Exterior changes are completed by the slightly different LED taillights, new body hues and alloy options.
Inside the cabin we find room for seven persons, with the most important modifications impacting the most used and useful zone – the center console. The GLS mostly mirrors the setup from the smaller GLE and GLE Coupe – the infotainment system switching to the free-standing tablet-inspired 8 inch screen. We also have a new touchpad and a refreshed three-spoke steering wheel made with Nappa leather. Interior air quality can be infused with the optional air ionization system and the full-size SUV also comes with the latest and greatest safety and driver assistance systems the brand has to offer – including COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Crosswind Assist, PRE-SAFE, ESP and electronic AWD traction system with 4ETS. Numerous additional equipments can be had at an extra cost: Driver Assistance Package with DISTRONIC PLUS and Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Speed Limit Assist, BAS PLUS with Cross- Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and PRE-SAFE Brake with pedestrian detection. For even more bucks the buyer can have night vision, the LED Intelligent Light System and the MAGIC VISION CONTROL that comes with a heated adaptive windscreen wiper system.
Engine options include the V8 bi-turbo in the GLS550 4MATIC that has been updated for 20 extra ponies and rated at 449 bhp (335 kW) and 516 lb-ft (699 Nm) of torque. Down the scale sits the GLS450 4MATIC using a 3.0-liter V6 bi-turbo churning 362 bhp (270 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) and the flagship model is the GLS 63 AMG that delivers a punch thanks to the uptick of 27 bhp (20 kW) for a tally of 77 bhp (430 kW) and an overboard torque of 561 lb-ft (760 Nm). Diesel aficionados can access the GLS350d 4MATIC with 255 bhp (190 kW) and 455 lb-ft (616 Nm) using a V6 mated to the 9-speed automatic transmission – the gearbox is the same for all engine variants save for the GLS 63. There’s also an optional low-range setup that comes complete with a center differential lock.