Exterior design: Luxurious elegance with off-road highlights

Jun 24, 2019
Stuttgart/Salt Lake City

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, stretches the vehicle favourably and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasised by the understated, elegant side design.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS follows the design strategy of sensual purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favour of generously sculptured arched surfaces. The surfaces interact with precise graphic elements. The steep windscreen and the generous continuous glass surface at the sides characterise it as a classic large full-size SUV.

The flush wheels, in the AMG Line with diameters of up to 23 inches – a première in the product range of Mercedes-Benz – blend in harmoniously with the imposing profile. They signal off-road competence, as do the wheel wells with striking wheel arch liners, which are painted dark grey or in vehicle colour with the AMG Line. Their size is tailored precisely to the particular tyre size installed on the vehicle. The flush fit underscores the harmony of the overall impression.

The front end of the new GLS exudes presence and power. This is ensured by the nearly upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chromed skid plate in the front apron with the bone-shaped air inlet grille, and the bonnet with two power domes. The black plastic elements of the grille feature a diamond-shaped pattern as a reference to the off-road character.

This striking appearance is emphasised by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night. The GLS is equipped with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps (standard or optional equipment depending on the market, for details about the technology, please see "under the microscope“) with integrated fog lamps. In place of additional fog lamps, it is fitted with a short, subtle chrome strip under the headlamps on either side. 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 lamps, 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 striking finishing touch at the bottom on the rear end also is provided by a chromed skid plate, which is framed by the two chromed tailpipes exiting from the bumper on either side.

"The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "Powerful highlights of the off-road design idiom combine with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury saloon. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality, and digital high-tech. In our view, the new GLS therefore offers the best of all these worlds."