Following Mercedes-Benz’s new SUV naming convention – where the GL denotes a passenger SUV body type and the third alphabet draws a relation to a corresponding passenger car model – the new GLS is touted as the ‘S-Class among SUVs’. That being said there is no denying that this big rig for seven is Mercedes-Benz’s answer to the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser/Lexus LX and Infiniti QX80.
Compared to its GL predecessor, Mercedes-Benz says that the GLS features improved efficiency, extended Dynamic Select transmission modes, the latest version of their Airmatic air suspension system with an enhanced ADS damping system, and new assistance systems and telematics systems.
When it comes to powertrains, the GLS’s engine range starts from the GLS350d 4MATIC, which has a 258hp/620Nm V6 diesel engine. For petrol lovers, the smallest GLS engine you can afford is the 333hp/480Nm V6 biturbo engine of the GLS400 4MATIC. Topping the conventional Mercedes-Benz range is the GLS500 4MATIC which has a 455hp/700Nm V8 biturbo engine. Regardless of your choice, all these engines come paired to Mercedes-Benz’s nine-speed automatic.
No new Mercedes-Benz model would be complete without an AMG version, and for those who want the ultimate bragging rights, the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 4MATIC which now boasts a power bump of more than 28hp, bringing its power output to 585hp and 760Nm of torque.
As for driver assistance systems, the GLS fitted with the Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Crosswind Assist, Pre-Safe, ESP with Curve Dynamic Assist, Steer Control steering assist function, and Attention Assist as standard. Pick the Driver Assistance package Plus, and Mercedes-Benz will throw its Distronic Plus with Stop&Go Pilot, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Pre-Safe Plus.
For those who really want to put the GLS through some tough terrain, there is the optional Off-Road Engineering package, which adds an OFF-ROAD+ setting to its Dynamic Select system. This setting allows the SUV to engage its low-range gearbox and centre differential lock when necessary. The package also allows the Airmatic air suspension to be raised to heights of up to 306mm, allowing for a fording depth of up to 600mm.