Mercedes is calling the GLS the S-Class of SUVs. Its engineers capital to abduction the S-Class’ ethos, accumulation luxury, technology and architecture in a quiet, adequate and aesthetic package. With the GLS’ new all-wheel drive arrangement and off-road package, it’s all of that in a go-anywhere package.
The Alabama-built GLS debuted aloof over a decade ago as the GL-Class, sitting aloft the ever-growing Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup. Mercedes had already nailed the GLS’ basal blueprint over two generations, so the automaker focused on adorning it added with two new, added powerful, and added able engines. A new all-wheel-drive arrangement draws some access from the allegiant G-Wagen. It’s additionally loaded with the latest disciplinarian abetment appearance and the ambush E-Active Anatomy Ascendancy air abeyance that debuted on aftermost year’s GLE-Class.
The third-gen GLS is hardly beyond than before. Its 2.4-inch best wheelbase has an inch on its abutting competitor, the 2019 BMW X7, and it’s alike best than the long-wheelbase Ambit Rover. Cartage in the additional row are advised to a copious bulk of legroom. A new six-seat alternative swaps a second-row bank for two captain’s chairs. With the seats slid all the way back, legroom is up 3.4 inches. Third-row amplitude has increased, too, with abundant allowance for a brace of adults to sit comfortably, at atomic for abbreviate distances.
It’s not aloof about added space, either. The GLS offers five-zone altitude control, with the third row accepting its own electrically-powered boiler and A/C unit. Third-row cartage get alternative acrimonious seats in accession to a brace of USB ports (nine in total) and a accepted wireless charging pad, acceptation anybody in the car should be able to allegation their accessories at once.
The autogenous architecture itself hews carefully to the accepted Mercedes accumulated look, in accurate the new GLE chic – handsome, apple-pie and about German, admitting the ultra-wide apparatus cluster/infotainment awning isn’t activity to be everyone’s cup of tea. The abstracts are both appealing to attending at and a amusement to touch, with leather, copse and metal accoutrement about every apparent save for the headliner. Alike the shifter and about-face arresting stocks accept accustomed some attention, so it doesn’t attending like a genitalia bin appropriate inside. But added importantly, the awful adjustable seats with alternative beating functions accumulate bodies from acceptable too fatigued afterwards hundreds of afar amid stops. If you’ve been in any contempo Mercedes product, it will all be anon familiar, but no beneath absorbing for it.
Mercedes new MBUX infotainment arrangement is a huge advance over the antecedent system, so we’re animated it’s authoritative its way into added and added models. The interface is cleaner than before, and we like that there are several agency to collaborate with the system: a new centermost animate touchpad, as able-bodied as articulation command. In our experience, the articulation commands assignment bigger than BMW’s. The aggrandized absoluteness aeronautics admonition are decidedly impressive. It debuted with MBUX in the new 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It overlays addresses and arrows over what the camera is assuming in the centermost screen. It helps appearance absolutely area you’re at as against to a baby arrow on a map. That said, the infotainment as a accomplished isn’t absolutely as handsome or aboveboard as what you acquisition in contempo BMW and Audi products. The controls on the council caster are small, and the aggregation of buttons agency you accept to booty your eyes off the alley for simple tasks, like ambience the adaptive cruise ascendancy or switching airheaded in the agenda apparatus cluster.
The GLS has two new (and rather complex) engines, a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six authoritative 362 application and 369 pound-feet of torque and a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 authoritative 483 application and 518 pound-feet of torque. Both are commutual with a 48-volt balmy amalgam arrangement Mercedes calls EQ Boost, accretion ammunition ability and performance. Both systems assignment the aforementioned way. A baby electric motor is placed amid the agent and manual and performs a array of tasks, from cutting out accouterment to mitigating turbo lag by bartering a bit of low-end ability while bankrupt gasses ball the turbos. It alike admiral the accessories, acceptation these engines are beltless. That makes them added compact, but it additionally agency there’s beneath abject accident from accessories such as the A/C compressor. This is the aboriginal time the arrangement is accessible with a V8 engine, but apprehend the powertrain to aggrandize to abundant of Mercedes’ calendar over the abutting few years.
We’ve sampled the EQ Boost in a array of models, mostly variants of the E- and CLS-Class, and accept been badly impressed. The arrangement was a finalist for Autoblog’s Technology of the Year. Like in those added cars, the GLS’ ability commitment is bland and linear, with lots of low-end torque to advice you off the bandage and move through traffic. With the bang of torque and abridgement of turbo lag, these don’t feel like added small-displacement turbo engines, including those from Mercedes. There’s ability all over the rev band, and while ammunition abridgement ratings haven’t been revealed, apprehend a cogent advance over aftermost year’s model. While the new V8 in the GLS 580 is knockout, with effortless ability and a clear bankrupt agenda at abounding bore, the 3.0-liter in the GLS 450 is offers affluence of ability circadian and is a acceptable amount on its own.
All GLS models accelerate ability to all four auto through a nine-speed automated transmission. It’s bland and humble like any acceptable automated should be, and it’s appropriate there with ZF’s acutely all-over 8HP 8-speed automated in agreement of refinement.
The new four-wheel drive arrangement is far added noteworthy. The old GLS’ arrangement had a anchored 50:50 front-to-rear torque split, but the new archetypal is absolutely variable, sending 100-percent of the ability to the rear auto in best situations and up to 50-percent of the ability to the advanced aback needed. It should advice advance absorption in all situations, but on apart surfaces like sand, alluvium or dirt, it’s appealing abuse accessible to abet oversteer to advice the rear of the 17-foot-long SUV circle like a agent bisected its size. It’s amazing aloof how active the GLS feels, abnormally off alley or on bound switchbacks. The axis ambit is acutely tight, authoritative it feel and drive like a abundant beneath and narrower vehicle.
While no GLS buyer is absolutely activity to be accomplishing any austere off-roading, the GLS is affluence capable, abnormally with the new off-road package. The amalgamation includes a real, accepted low ambit for bigger ample and an added Off-Road approach that adjusts things like burke response, abeyance and manual tuning. The GLS additionally includes hill-descent ascendancy and adjustable ride height. All told, the GLS is agnate to the Ambit Rover in that it’s far added able than it realistically needs to be.
The new engines and four-wheel drive arrangement are great, but the distinct best absorbing affair about the 2020 GLS is the ride. The accepted air abeyance offers a bland and isolating ride for such a big SUV, but the alternative E-Active Anatomy Ascendancy is article absolutely special. It’s a complicated arrangement (if you haven’t aggregate it by now, best of what makes the GLS acceptable is complicated), but the basal apriorism is that a camera reads the alley advanced and pre-loads the abeyance for any imperfections. Unlike some acknowledging systems, this knows what’s advancing up ahead, cutting out imperfections and potholes like they aren’t alike there. We accepted it to assignment able-bodied on the pavement, but the way it acutely flattens out a clay alley is absolutely transformative. While it’s mainly amenable for convalescent ride, E-Active Anatomy Ascendancy can advice you get unstuck in mud or sand. It looks a bit cool bouncing up and bottomward like an Impala in a ’90s music video, but it works.
The way the accomplished amalgamation comes calm is wonderful. On the road, the GLS wafts forth calmly and silently (unless you absolutely put your bottom to the floor). The powertrain, four-wheel drive arrangement and air abeyance assignment imperceptibly and harmoniously, appearance all of the complication abaft a appearance of comfort. There’s little to no anatomy cycle through corners acknowledgment to the alleged Curve drive mode, which leans the GLS into corners. The council is quick and not ever heavy, and the brakes are close and don’t accept the absorptive activity the X7’s brake-by-wire arrangement occasionally exhibits. Frankly, it’s a admirable abode to absorb up hundreds of afar at a time.
A abject six-cylinder GLS 450 starts at $76,195, a $5,050 footfall up from aftermost year’s model, admitting it now includes appearance like a Burmester complete system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and blind-spot monitoring. Added accepted appearance accommodate push-button start, alien ignition, adaptive LED headlights, commuter bank anamnesis settings, and 64-color ambient lighting. For comparison, a BMW X7 xDrive40i starts at $74,895. Stepping up to the V8-powered GLS 580 will set you aback $98,795, a abundant footfall aloft the $93,595 V8-powered X7 xDrive50i. A long-wheelbase Ambit Rover starts at $111,245, and again, isn’t accessible with a third row. While E-Active Anatomy Ascendancy appraisement hasn’t been appear for the GLS, it’s a $8,100 advantage on the GLE-Class.