The confident presence of its exterior stems from its impressive dimensions, which are even larger than those of its predecessor (length +77 mm, width +22 mm). One of the benefits of the 60 mm longer wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the boot space (up to 2400 litres), while the seats in the second row fold flat. Furthermore, a six-seater variant with two luxury individual rear seats in the second seat row is available for the first time.
Like the GLE, the GLS features the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The new 4MATIC ensures great agility on the road and strong performance off the beaten track. The new GLS has impressive aerodynamics in its segment, with a Cd figure of 0.32. It has a new Carwash function, which enables the car to be prepared for entry into a carwash with a single press of a button.
Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the new GLS. Its aesthetics are based on the confident presence that its impressive dimensions alone create (length 5207 mm, width 1956 mm). The wheelbase of 3135 mm, which is 60 mm longer than that of its predecessor, makes the vehicle beneficially longer and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasised by the understated, elegant side design. The GLE follows the design strategy of Sensual Purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favour of generously sculptured surfaces.
The front section of the new GLS exudes presence and power: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated underguard in the front apron with the bone-shaped air inlet grille, and the bonnet with two powerdomes. This striking appearance is emphasised by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night. The GLS has MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 650 metres. The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, too. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lights, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The two-piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-calibre, three-dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated underguard.
The interior of the new GLS is all about luxuriously elegant aesthetics, as evidenced straight away by the leather appointments, which come as standard. They combine the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury saloon with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard's design is an impressively sized screen unit embedded in a distinctive dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element likewise extends to meet the doors.
The prominently wide, raised centre console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the centre console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent leather surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sunblinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the driver's seat. Very fine chiselling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces show the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sports steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV's interior.
Powertrain: all petrol engines have integrated starter-generator and EQ Boost
The high aspirations of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are likewise clearly apparent in its engine line-up. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the motoring comfort and effortlessly superior power that suit the characteristics of this luxurious car.
Diesel: six-cylinder engine for Europe, Russia and other markets
The two diesel-engined GLS models are powered by the OM 656, the six-cylinder in-line engine from the current engine family. It is available with two ratings, depending on the particular market launch: GLS 400 d 4MATIC with 243 kW (330 hp) and 700 Nm torque (combined fuel consumption: 7.9-7.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 208-201 g/km)2. In both versions, the powerful engine already complies with the Euro 6d- standard (RDE/Real Driving Emissions Step 2), which does not come into force until 1 January 2020 for new models and one year later for all vehicles, even in demanding driving conditions.
This is achieved with, among other things, an additional selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converter with an ammonia slip catalyst (ASC) in the exhaust tract of the GLS. This allows dosing of the AdBlue reducing agent that is even more closely aligned with the individual driving characteristics because any excessive ammonia surplus in the second SCR converter is broken down further. The AdBlue tank has a capacity of 31.6 litres. As before, refilling is convenient via a separate pipe behind the fuel filler flap.