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Mercedes GLS in the driving report: This station wagon is an SUV

Mercedes Benz
Mercedes GLS in the driving report
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E There were times when off-road vehicles with ladder frames rumbled noisily ahead. It didn't matter whether you were on the road or off it, the driving comfort left a lot to be desired on any terrain. In the era of the SUV, this is largely history. The Mercedes model range is now full to the brim with more or less long-legged, comfortable all-wheel drive vehicles.

After the facelift, Mercedes GL is called GLS

This is now joined by the Mercedes GLS, the one in terms of Comfort should go a step further. However, the huge SUV with a length of 5.13 meters is not new. It is the GL facelift. The GLS is still based on the GL platform, but has been visually and technically revised.

The 'S' in the new model name reveals the demands that the Swabians place on the GLS. It should drive like an off-road S-Class - a larger, heavier (over 2.4 tons) variant of the luxury class sedan. To achieve this, the chassis components have been revised compared to the GL.

Suspension in the Mercedes GLS almost at S-Class level

The Airmatic air suspension, for example, adapts to the different driving programs. Overall, comfort mode best suits the character of the vehicle. Bumps and vibrations are easily digested, whereby the S-Class dampens a little better in this regard - but it can optionally scan the ground with a stereo camera and prepare for nasty potholes, for example (Magic Body Control).

There are driving modes in abundance in the GLS: smoothness, off-road and off-road plus. With the latter, the terrain reductions and the center differential lock apply. The vehicle height can also be changed via the air suspension. The maximum ground clearance is then 30.6 centimeters. You can even drive through water to a depth of 60 centimeters. At the latest, the S-Class is left behind. Mercedes also seems to doubt whether GLS customers will really do something like this. The GLS is offered with a chrome-plated underride guard that is not suitable for off-road use.

Mercedes Benz
Five driving modes are available.

GLS with roll stabilization and assistance systems

But the Mercedes GLS also has a sport mode at the start. After activation, the accelerator pedal characteristic becomes more sensitive, the steering assistance is withdrawn and the chassis tightens. The optional roll stabilization (3,748.50 euros) is also coupled with this mode. Active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles reduce the body tilt when cornering. On the face of it, the GLS feels more sporty; To speak of real agility would be measured at 2.4 tonnes curb weight: The higher the cornering speeds, the more powerfully the heavy SUV pulls towards the outer edge of the corner - then stop with less lean angle.

The S-Class claim but it would not be enough if only the chassis were revised. In the Mercedes GLS there are also plenty of safety systems as standard. These include: Collision Prevention Assist, Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, Brake Assist and Steer Control. Also on board: the latest generation of the Comand system, whereby the screen is no longer integrated in the center console, but attached.

Mercedes GLS with space to lie down

That brings us to it when it comes to the interior. Here you immediately feel reminded of the S-Class, it is much higher quality than the GL. You can do without the AMG Line interior (1,130.50 - 3,272.50 euros). The high seat bolsters offer enough lateral support for a Nordschleife lap, but make getting in and out of the car unnecessarily difficult. The space available is even more striking than the good workmanship. Even in the standard third row of seats it doesn't get tight. Despite the luxury claim, the Mercedes GLS has a practical side. The trunk volume can be expanded from 680 to 2,300 liters by folding down the seats. The load compartment depth is then 2.12 meters and up to 815 kilos can be loaded. So if you want to take a Harley with you on vacation, you don't even need a trailer.

Mercedes Benz
The trunk volume can be expanded to a total of 2,300 liters.

The V6 petrol engine goes best with the Mercedes GLS

Two V6 and two V8 units are available for the engines - all with all-wheel drive as standard. With the exception of the GLS 63 AMG, all drives are coupled with the gently shifting 9G-Tronic. The AMG shifts via a seven-speed automatic. The entry-level engine is the 350d (from 74,791.50 euros) with 258 hp and 620 Newton meters. For a diesel, the engine has a subtle sound and has a lot of pulling power, especially around the bottom. At higher speeds, the vehemence decreases somewhat, but consumption increases. When driving briskly, 15 liters instead of the 7.1 (NEDC) liters average consumption. On the German market, the diesel should probably become the most popular engine variant.

Too bad, because the V6 petrol engine of the Mercedes GLS 400 (from 76,665.75 euros) fits most harmoniously under the wide bonnet. The three-liter engine develops 333 hp and 480 Newton meters. The power delivery is constant and the humming of the six cylinders is not too loud even under full load. It goes from zero to 100 km /h in 6.6 seconds - 1.2 seconds faster than with a diesel. So you are by no means slow. At the same time, there is no impression that the performance could overwhelm the chassis or the brakes.

There is also such a thing as too much power

The Mercedes GLS 500 (from 97,104 euros) sees that a little different. Thanks to 455 V8 hp and 700 Newton meters, 100 km /h can be reached in 5.3 seconds. The brakes cannot quite keep up with this acceleration. Although they remain stable, they do the hard work to recapture the rapidly accelerated 2.4 tons. 455 hp is somehow too much. But there are always customers for whom too much is still too little. With the AMG GLS 63 (from 135,065 euros) they get 585 hp and a huge 760 Newton meters. But when we try the top model differently.


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