With the unveiling of the new GLS, Mercedes brings some S-Class comfort, luxury and performance to its SUV line-up. The GLS is more efficient, more powerful and has more features than its predecessor. It's also huge.
In the automotive world, comfort and luxury typically go hand-in-hand with spaciousness and the GLS is no different. It measure 5,130 mm (16.8 ft) long, 1,934 mm (6.3 ft) wide and 1,850 mm (6.1 ft) tall. That's getting on to minibus length.
The GLS can accommodate up to seven people and we're willing to believe Mercedes' assertion that it can do so with room to spare, All occupants are said to benefit from ample elbow room and headroom. Alternatively, the seats can be reorganized to make space for luggage.
The interior is replete with ambient lighting, a variety of trim options and the choice of five different leather color schemes. There's also an "ionization system" for improving the air quality inside the vehicle and something called the designo Exclusive package, which includes heated seats.
For the driver, there's a modified center console with a touchpad and a newly-designed instrument panel with an 8-in color display. Standard assistance systems include collision prevention, crosswind assist and attention assist, while optional assistance systems include Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, Blind-Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist.
The safety features extend further. Automatic emergency call, accident recovery and breakdown assistance come as standard, as do Remote Online services (which are free of charge for the first three years) that provide users with vehicle info from anywhere at anytime via an Internet platform. This includes the status of windows and doors, mileage, tire pressures and other diagnostic data.
There are adaptive, two-stage airbags and kneebags for the driver and front passenger, as well as window-bags above all three seat rows. Air suspension with an enhanced adaptive damping system seeks to provide a stable ride, while optional active roll stabilization should help in the corners.
Customers are offered a variety of engine choices for GLS. The V8 engine of the GLS 500 4MATIC and the V6 engine of the GLS 400 4MATIC kick out 335 kW (455 hp) and 245 kW (333 hp) respectively. At the top end, though, is the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC model, which produces 430 kW (585 hp). And, for those who prefer diesel, there's the GLS 350 d 4MATIC.
Mercedes says all models will feature its nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission as standard, with the exception of the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. That will have have an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic transmission.
Elsewhere, there's a refined exterior look, a new three-spoke steering wheel with gearshift paddles and 12 function buttons and chrome-look highlights including the roof-rails, underguard, shoulderline trim strips, luggage compartment handle and side skirt trim.
The GLS will be available to order from this month.