2 006 marked the start of something really big in the Mercedes range. The XXL variant of the M-Class, which was still simply called “GL” at the time, was a full-size SUV with three rows of seats that was particularly important in the USA. The all-wheel-drive giant, renamed the GLS since the 2015 facelift, is now in its third generation and will be even more massive. With a length increase of 77 millimeters, the 5.2 meter mark has been exceeded, the width of the new Mercedes GLS has increased by 22 millimeters.
Shy contemporaries are therefore not the main target group for the new SUV flagship the Stuttgart-based, large-scale devices are also in demand for the engines. The first mild hybrid V8 petrol engine will be used for the first time in the GLS 580 4Matic. The eight-cylinder equipped with a 48-volt network and starter generator (ISG) has an output of 489 hp and a torque of 700 Newton meters. If necessary, the ISG can provide additional 22 HP and 250 Newton meters as support.
Prices from just under 86,000 euros
For Europe, however, the six-cylinder mild hybrid gasoline engine of the GLS 450 is not offered, but two variants of the already well-known OM 656 are available Diesel engine: The six-cylinder in-line engine delivers 286 hp /600 Nm in the GLS 350d and 330 hp /700 Nm in the GLS 400d. Both versions meet the new Euro 6d standard. The prices for the European diesel are 85,924 euros for the GLS 350 d 4Matic and 90,386 euros for the GLS 400 d 4Matic.
The new Mercedes GLS is always equipped and has the 9G-Tronic automatic always via an automatically controlled torque-on-demand all-wheel drive. A transfer case with selectable off-road reduction is available as an optionorder. The height-adjustable Airmatic air suspension with adaptive damper adjustment is also standard equipment, which also makes for a slim foot off-road.
Fun fact on the side: Thanks to the air suspension, the new Mercedes GLS gets a new assistance program, the car wash function. Here, when the program is activated, the chassis moves to the highest position (reduces the track width), to do this, the exterior mirrors are folded in, the sunroof and side windows are closed, the rain sensor is deactivated, the front camera is switched on and the air conditioning is set to circulating air.
Maneuvering assistant and 3.5 tonnes trailer load
Of course, that is far from being the case with electronic support. A car that Mercedes itself calls 'the S-Class among SUVs' naturally also has the full assistance program on board. Distronic and active traffic jam assistant allow semi-autonomous driving, the distance assistant also automatically selects the maximum speed according to the recognized traffic signs. After the GLS has a reputation to defend as a high-performance towing vehicle (a maximum of 3.5 tons trailer load is set), an optional trailer maneuvering assistant is now available, which simplifies reversing with a trailer.
The 'E-Active Body Control' is already known from the new GLE class “(Special equipment) with spring and damper rates that can be controlled selectively for each wheel as well as an active curve tilting function. And as with the GLE, GLS customers can look forward to the additional off-road functions of the EABC system, the free-ride rocking when the car is stuck in the deep sand and the height that can be set for each individual wheel, which is intended to help especially in twisting situations.
Noticeably more space in the rear
In the interior, the new Mercedes GLS can of course score with its sheer size. This can be clearly seen on the extra-wide, raised center console, which is framed by two massive handles. The latest MBUX generation shares the wide format display with the digital oneInstruments.
Compared to the previous model, the new GLS platform enables the wheelbase to be extended by 60 to 3,135 millimeters, which promises a noticeable gain in legroom, especially for row two. The longitudinally adjustable second rear bench seat with already very ample legroom provides around nine centimeters more air space in front of the knees than before in the rearmost position. In Europe, the GLS comes with a classic 40:20:40 bench configuration as standard, but can optionally also be ordered with the comfort individual seats with armrests, which are supplied as standard in the USA.
Third row of seats also for tall passengers
All seats of the new Mercedes GLS are electrically adjustable, this also applies to the easy-entry function, which enables boarding in row three. Any youngsters who may be transported on the two rear individual seats can have a format suitable for basketball players: According to Mercedes, people up to 1.94 meters tall can comfortably fit there. However, if a lot of cones are to be transported instead of children, the push of a button is sufficient here too. The switches are located in the cargo area and on the rear side door to completely flatten individual or all seats, the cargo area then grows to a gym size - 2,400 liters.
That it might be more fun anyway, in the rear of the new Mercedes GLS Taking a seat is illustrated by the optional Rear Comfort Plus package. This pulls a 7-inch tablet into the center armrest of the second row of seats, which can be used to control all of the comfort and entertainment functions of the MBUX, such as access to radio, TV, media, telephone and web browser. The MBUX rear entertainment (for a surcharge) brings two 11.6-inch touchscreens for the second row. In addition to the entertainment offer, travel information can also be shown here and your own media can be played from your personal mobile phone, notebook or tablet.