Compared with its predecessor, the new GLS demonstrates more presence and character. It has been thoroughly updated and features a host of further advanced detail solutions. The result is the only European premium full-size luxury SUV with seven bona-fide seats, generous space and a great ride quality under all conditions both on and off the road. The automotive first-class character also comes courtesy of the extensive level of standard equipment, ground-breaking driver assistance systems from the S and E‑Class, state-of-the-art multimedia options and a host of new equipment features.
A new, dynamic exterior and a revised, luxurious interior underscore the impressive character of the GLS. With the facelift, the designers have adapted the full-size luxury SUV to the current Mercedes-Benz design idiom. For the exterior, the focus was on a redesign of the front end, while the rear has been updated primarily in the area of the bumper and tail lights. Immediately apparent in the interior are the redesigned instrument panel with semi-integrated Media Display, the modified centre console with touchpad as well as the new appointment colours and trim.
The new front end boosts the visual presence of the GLS. A new more vertical and wider radiator grille as well as strongly accentuated bumpers with chromed underbody protection dissolve the horizontal emphasis that was prominent on the predecessor. This gives the vehicle a clearly more distinctive appearance. In the new radiator grille, the brand's three-pointed star transitions smoothly into the two horizontal louvres and thereby emphasises the value appeal and the lines of the entire front. This detail is a hallmark trait of all SUV models from Mercedes-Benz. The modern headlamp layout borrows from the GLE, GLE Coupé and GLC SUVs presented this year. The bonnet features two power domes and highlights the powerful appearance of the GLS.
From the side, apart from the large greenhouse, the high beltline and the powerful shoulders, the redesigned light-alloy wheels are conspicuous above all. The lower section of the rear bumper is likewise more strongly accentuated and the shape of the chromed underbody protection mirrors that of the front bumper. In concert with the full-LED tail lights with a new layout and the hallmark night design of the brand, the integrated trapezoidal chrome tailpipe trim elements round off the exterior design in grand style.
The new GLS reflects harmony and modern luxury expressed in a full-size SUV format. Chrome-look details such as the roof rails, underbody protection, beltline trim strip, luggage compartment handle and side sill trim add attractive highlights.
People who prefer a more sporty, expressionist style can opt for the AMG Line exterior comprising specific front and rear bumpers, running boards and wheel arch flares painted in the vehicle colour. The delivery scope furthermore includes 53.3 cm (21-inch) AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in titanium grey with a high-sheen finish and a sports braking system with perforated front brake discs and brake calliper shrouds with Mercedes-Benz lettering.
Even more exclusivity is delivered by the Night package which is available in conjunction with this design and equipment line. It features high-gloss black exterior mirror housings, radiator grille louvre and stylised underbody protection, while the roof rails, beltline trim strip, window surrounds and the high-sheen AMG light-alloy wheels all sport a black finish.
Additional individualisation options come courtesy of a wide variety of standard and metallic paint finishes, including two special editions in designo diamond white and – new for the GLS – designo hyacinth red. On top of this there is a comprehensive range of new light-alloy wheels featuring a variety of designs. 45.7 cm (18-inch) 10-spoke versions are standard while the GLS 500 4MATIC comes off the factory line with 48.3 cm (19-inch) 5-spoke light-alloy wheels.
Accompanying the high exterior design quality is the revised interior which underscores the first-class claim of the GLS. The interior offers the S-Class standard among SUVs. Furthermore, up to seven passengers can enjoy an outstanding level of comfortable spaciousness. The powerfully dynamic and elegant interior architecture, refined materials, a great love of detail, good ergonomics and the generous space – the interior of the GLS conveys the hallmark feel-good atmosphere of the Mercedes-Benz brand.
Like its predecessor, the new GLS offers plenty of elbow room and headroom in all three rows of seats. Classic comfort values such as the seat row spacing or shoulder room are among the traditional strengths of the model series. With its diverse adjustment options, the centre seat row enables a high degree of flexibility in the interior, including a cargo position for optimum use of the luggage compartment. This provides a volume of 680 to 2300 litres and as such clearly surpasses the amount of space offered by the vehicle's European competitors. On top of this there is a maximum load compartment length of 2124 mm as well as a payload capacity of up to 815 kg.
Of particular note in the high-quality elegant interior are a new heated 3-spoke multifunction nappa leather steering wheel with steering wheel gearshift paddles, 12 function keys and an airbag cover in nappa leather, instruments with modified details as well as a redesigned instrument panel with semi-integrated colour Media Display. The latter offers an even better experience of the vehicle functions thanks to photo-realistic displays of images and graphics. The flush glass cover of the display and the slim aluminium surround reflect the Zeitgeist of modern-day consumer electronics devices.
In addition, a host of visual customisation options underscore the premium claim. Individual highlights can be set in the GLS interior with the help of, for example, the wood/leather multifunction steering wheel, the ambient lighting featuring three shades of colours or the wide range of large trim elements on the instrument panel and door panels with corresponding roller shutters for the cup holders. The lower section of the instrument panel and the beltlines of the doors are trimmed with ARTICO man-made leather as standard. The line-up of trim includes black piano lacquer, for the first time a combination of carbon fibre / piano lacquer, light-coloured aluminium with longitudinal grain and several types of wood: high-gloss black poplar wood, brown burr walnut or brown eucalyptus wood (standard) as well as brown open-pore ash wood (standard on the GLS 500 4MATIC).
In addition to ambient lighting as well as trim elements in black piano lacquer or a variety of wood trims, the optional EXCLUSIVE design and equipment line also provides five attractive interior colour concepts: black, ginger beige / espresso brown, saddle brown / black, crystal grey / black or ginger beige / black. Furthermore, three available roof liner variants (black, crystal grey or porcelain) as well as leather luxury seats with exclusive seat upholstery layout enhance the GLS interior.
In the case of the designo Exclusive package, the overall impression of refinement is further heightened by heated luxury front seats with porcelain / black or espresso brown designo nappa leather upholstery and hallmark diamond quilting. The instrument panel and the door centre panels are trimmed with designo nappa leather. The roof liner is made of black or porcelain DINAMICA microfibre colour-coordinated with the colour combination of the upholstery.
A distinctively sporty note comes to the GLS interior courtesy of the AMG Line interior. Among other things, it comprises, for the first time for the GLS, sports seats in black pearl nappa leather / black leather, a 3‑spoke multifunction sports steering wheel in a black nappa leather finish, discrete instrument dials in a chequered flag design and brushed stainless-steel sports pedals with rubber studs.
The 2-zone THERMATIC automatic climate control with activated charcoal filter for fine dust ensures a pleasant feel-good atmosphere. The 3-zone THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control is standard on the GLS 500 4MATIC and an option otherwise. Apart from the individual climate modes FOCUS, MEDIUM and DIFFUSE, it offers a separate control unit in the rear, residual engine heat utilisation and an air quality sensor with automatic air recirculation feature. New options available for the GLS include an ionisation system for even better interior air quality.
Also standard on the GLS 500 4MATIC and optionally available for the other models is the Memory package whose features, among other things, include power seat, steering wheel and mirror adjustment, seat heating and front multi-contour seats with massage function. Climate-controlled seats with seat heating and ventilation are optionally available. The middle row seats three passengers and folds in a 60:40 split. The Easy-Entry system, optionally also available in a power-operated version, facilitates access to the third row whose seats can be power-folded to enlarge the load compartment.
As an alternative to the standard sliding glass sunroof, a large panoramic glass sliding sunroof with convenience and automatic rain closing, PRE-SAFE® closing function, power roller sunblinds and power venting quarter glass in the third row of seats is optionally available.
Other equipment options are the KEYLESS-GO access and drive authorisation system (standard on the GLS 500 4MATIC), a garage door opener integrated into the interior mirror, the soft and automatic power closing of the side doors as well as an auxiliary heater with remote control and auxiliary ventilation in summer – in conjunction with COMAND Online and the Mercedes me connect services, the latter can be activated from a smartphone.
The GLC offers excellent infotainment as standard, courtesy of a large 17.8 cm (7‑inch) high-resolution colour Media Display and Audio 20 USB sound system with eight loudspeakers. A 20.3 cm (8-inch) colour Media Display with chrome surround is optionally available. In conjunction with a smartphone with Bluetooth® function and data plan, the addition of options such as the telephone module with Bluetooth® and Convenience Telephony makes the system capable of connecting to the Internet.
Connectivity and infotainment of the highest order are optionally provided by the latest generation of COMAND Online including a 20.3 cm (8-inch) colour Media Display and touchpad (65 x 45 mm). Apart from its state-of-the-art operating and display concept, COMAND Online features integrated W-LAN hotspot functionality and provides high-speed LTE data communication, depending on network availability. An extensive package of free Standard Services and Remote Online Services is available for the GLS as part of the "Mercedes me connect" service. Standard Services include automatic emergency call (eCall), Accident Recovery and also breakdown assistance and after-sales service. The Remote Online services (standard with COMAND online and usable free of charge for the first three years) allow access to vehicle information from anywhere at all times, including the status of windows and doors, mileage, tyre pressures and other diagnostic data.
Optionally, COMAND Online can be complemented with a 6‑disc DVD changer, a TV tuner or the rear-seat entertainment system. The latter includes a DVD player, two 20.3 cm screens integrated into the front head restraints, two headphones and a remote control. Furthermore, sound systems from Harman Kardon and Bang & Olufsen (exclusively with COMAND Online) are available that elevate the listening experience in the GLS to concert hall level.
A host of active and passive safety features relieve the burden on the driver and protect the occupants of the GLS. Driver assistance systems fitted as standard include COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Crosswind Assist and ATTENTION ASSIST, for example. Also standard on the GLS are the PRE-SAFE® system, BAS Brake Assist, the electronic all-wheel drive traction system 4ETS, ESP® with Curve Dynamic Assist, cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC variable speed limiter and the steering assist function STEER CONTROL.
The optional Driver Assistance package Plus further reduces the driver's workload while enhancing safety for the passengers with systems including DISTRONIC PLUS with Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS.
Optimal protection potential is provided by the passive occupant protection systems together with the "electronic crumple zones" of the assistance systems and the intelligent body design. Adaptive, two-stage airbags for driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, sidebags for driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvisbags) and windowbags across all three seat rows are also part of the standard specification. In addition, the GLS is fitted with three-point safety belts on all seven seats. Pyrotechnic belt tensioning and constant belt force limiters as we all as electrically reversible belt tensioners in the front, belt tensioners and single-stage belt force limiters on the outer seats of the middle row and on the rear individual seats are also part of the standard scope of delivery.
The redesigned headlamps feature integrated LED daytime running lights. All tail lights are fitted with LED technology and now sport the hallmark night design of the brand. The optionally available LED Intelligent Light System (standard on the GLS 500 4MATIC) with variable light distribution, dynamic headlamp range adjustment and active curve illumination offer even more safety in the dark. The Intelligent Light System can be complemented optionally with the Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus.
All engines of the new GLS provide better performance, with in part reduced fuel consumption. The powerful GLS 500 4MATIC with direct-injection V8 biturbo engine now generates 335 kW (455 hp), up from the 320 kW (435 hp) of the preceding model, and peak torque of 700 Nm. It combines outstanding performance with the high level of refinement of these engines. The GLS 400 4MATIC is powered by a direct-injection V6 biturbo engine with spray-guided combustion, new piezo injectors and MSI multi-spark ignition. This engine produces an output of 245 kW (333 hp) and 480 Nm of torque from 1600 rpm and makes do on 8.9 l/100 km or 206 g CO2/km (NEDC combined). All models are equipped with an ECO start/stop function as standard.
The top-of-the-line GLS 63 4MATIC model comes to the starting line with a rated output of 430 kW (585 hp). The peak torque of 760 Nm is now available from as low as 1750 rpm. Despite delivering 20 kW more power than its predecessor, the fuel consumption of the new Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC remains unchanged.
Alongside the petrol engines, in the GLS 350 d 4MATIC there is the choice of the proven V6 diesel engine rated at 190 kW (258 hp) and with ample torque of 620 Nm. The GLS 350 d 4MATIC consumes just 7.1 l/100 km (185 g CO2 /km) in the NEDC mix.
The updates to the V6 diesel engine involve above all a modified engine control unit with a combustion management system that in particular during the warm-up phase individually regulates the injection of diesel fuel for each cylinder based on the combustion air. In addition, a revised EGR valve and a new demand-controlled vane-type oil pump are used in the GLS 350 d 4MATIC to reduce fuel consumption even further.
At the launch of the new GLS generation, all versions feature the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard (except the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63), optionally in combination with a low-range gearbox and centre differential lock.
The range of engines* at a glance:
|GLS 400 4MATIC||GLS 500 4MATIC||Mercedes-AMG GLS 63||GLS 350 d 4MATIC|
|Engine||Petrol V6, biturbo, Direct injection||Petrol V8, biturbo, Direct injection||Petrol V8, biturbo, Direct injection||V6 diesel engine Direct injection, turbocharger|
|kW/hp at rpm||245/333 5250-6000||335/455 5250-5500||430/585 5500||190 / 258 3400|
|Nm at rpm||480 1600-4000||700 1800-4000||760 1750-5250||620 1600-2400|
|Fuel consumption, l/100 km (NEDC combined)||8.9 (9.2-9.6)||10.9 (11.3-11.5)||12.3 (12.3)||7.1 (7.4-8.0)|
|CO2 g/km||206 (215-225)||255 (262-269)||288 (288)||185 (192-209)|
|Emission standard||EU 6|
|0-100 km/h, s||6.6 (6.7)||5.3 (5.4)||4.6 (4.9)||7.8 (7.9)|
|Top speed , km/h||240 (240)||250 (250)||250**(250)||222 (220)|
|Transmission||Nine-speed automatic 9G-TRONIC||Nine-speed automatic 9G-TRONIC||AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC||Nine-speed automatic 9G-TRONIC|
|Drive system||4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive|
|Length/width/height, mm||5130 / 1934 / 1850||5130 / 1934 / 1850||5162 / 1982 / 1850||5130 / 1934 / 1850|
|Wheels Tyres||8.5 J x 18 265/60 R 18 V||8.5 J x 19 275/55 R 19 V||10 J x 21 295/40 R 21||8.5 J x 18 265/60 R 18 V|
*Fuel consumption / CO2 / performance preliminary (figures for predecessor in brackets), may vary from country to country
**electronically limited; with AMG Driver’s package 270 km/h
With DYNAMIC SELECT, the new GLS provides up to six transmission modes. In addition to the settings COMFORT, SLIPPERY and SPORT, with the DYNAMIC SELECT Controller in the centre console the driver can additionally choose INDIVIDUAL or the OFF-ROAD mode for light terrain. If the GLS model is equipped with the optional Off-Road Engineering package, the OFF-ROAD+ mode is also available. With this, the low-range gearbox and centre differential lock also intervene if necessary in order to ensure a high level of driveability in demanding off-road terrain. This is further boosted by the expanded functions of the standard AIRMATIC air suspension with raised ride heights for a ground clearance of up to 306 millimetres and a fording depth of up to 600 millimetres. The reinforced underfloor panelling of this equipment variant protects important components against hard ground contact.
When the individual transmission modes are selected, DYNAMIC SELECT activates sets of different characteristics. The system networks all the control systems, generating different sets of parameters for distinct driving experiences. SPORT turns the GLS into an exciting driver's vehicle despite its size and the long wheelbase of more than three metres - especially in conjunction with the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM active roll stabilisation system. COMFORT is the opposite end of the spectrum. Here the emphasis is on the feel-good parameters typical of Mercedes-Benz saloon cars, for relaxed, effortless cruising with the greatest possible energy efficiency. SLIPPERY optimises the handling on surfaces with low traction such as snow-covered or icy roads. Special off-road algorithms for ABS, 4ETS or ESP® boost traction in the OFFROAD modes. In addition, with all engines INDIVIDUAL mode enables drivers to combine and store their personal preferences for steering, suspension and drive system within the parameters of the individual control strategies.
All DYNAMIC SELECT modes are individually visualised on the central Media Display. Especially impressive are the off-road animations: various parameters such as slope angle, tilt angle, steering angle or heading are displayed dynamically in real time.
4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive with a symmetrical torque distribution between the front and rear axle inherently boosts safe as well as harmonious and agile handling.
Besides the ground-breaking powertrain configuration, the retuned AIRMATIC air suspension with further advanced ADS damping system ensures extremely stable conditions. The damping system changes priorities depending on the preselected DYNAMIC SELECT mode. The current handling conditions are detected via a steering angle sensor, four yaw rate sensors, the driving speed from the ESP® signal and the brake pedal switch. The control unit uses these signals for continuous adjustment of the current damping force for each individual wheel.
The optional active roll stabilisation ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle and reduces the roll angle of the body during cornering. This enhances agility and driving pleasure. Better driving comfort both when cornering and on straights and extended off-road capabilities are also part of the advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.
The optional trailer coupling is fully power retractable and extendible. It also features ESP® trailer stabilisation. A trailer mode is available if the vehicle is equipped with the 360° camera system. It assists drivers in manoeuvring and in pulling up to the trailer centred with the drawbar by marking the vehicle's centre axis. The braked towing capacity of the GLS is up to 3500 kg.