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The new Mercedes-Benz GLS: GL meets S - first-class performance on and off the road
Like the GL before it, the new GLS is also setting standards in the world of the SUV as it confirms its position as the "S-Class among SUVs". The only full-fledged seven-seater in the European premium SUV segment boasts ample spaciousness and combines luxury with impressive levels of comfort, agile dynamics and also best-in-class safety. Whether put to everyday use or venturing off the beaten track - the GLS meets all requirements effortlessly and comfortably. Compared with its predecessor, the new generation features improved efficiency, extended DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, the latest stage of development of the air suspension system AIRMATIC with enhanced damping system ADS, the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, state-of-the-art assistance systems and the latest telematics generation with internet access. More power, more dynamism and more equipment are also offered by the new Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC. With a peak output of 430 kW (585 hp), independent suspension and the revised AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission, it represents the pinnacle of the GLS model series. Features which come as standard on-board include the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, which provide optimum flexibility, and the rear-biased AMG Performance all-wheel drive. The GLS 63 4MATIC also shows strength of character with its updated design featuring the AMG brand look and high-quality interior.
A new, dynamic exterior and revised, luxurious interior clearly underscore the impressive character of the GLS. With the facelift, the designers have adapted the full-size luxury SUV to the current Mercedes-Benz design idiom. On the exterior the focus has been placed on a redesign of the front end, while the rear has been modernised primarily in the area of the bumper and tail lights. Eye-catching highlights in the interior include the newly designed instrument panel with semi-integrated Media Display, the new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, the modified centre console with touchpad and also the new appointment colours and trim elements.
Once again the dimensions of the GLS bear witness to its full-size format, and form the best possible basis for providing its seven passengers with a generous amount of space:
New exterior design and equipment lines
The new GLS reflects harmony and modern luxury to impressive effect. Chrome-look details such as the roof rails, underguard, shoulderline trim strips, luggage compartment handle and side skirt trim create attractive highlights.
Those after a sporty look can select the AMG Line exterior, comprising specific front and rear aprons, side running boards, side flaps painted in the vehicle colour and 53.3 cm (21-inch) AMG light-alloy wheels. Even more exclusivity is created with the Night package which is available in conjunction with this design and equipment line.
Additional individualisation options come courtesy of various standard and metallic paint finishes, including two special editions in designo diamond white and – new for the GLS – designo hyacinth red. On top of this there is a comprehensive range of new light-alloy wheels featuring a variety of designs.
Luxury liner with outstanding inner values
Accompanying the high exterior design quality is the revised interior which underscores the first-class standards of the GLS. The interior boasts what is an S‑Class standard among SUVs. Furthermore, up to seven passengers are able to enjoy an outstanding level of spaciousness. Like its predecessor, the new GLS boasts ample elbow and headroom in all three seat rows. Classic comfort values such as the seat row spacing or shoulder room are among the traditional strengths of the model series. With its diverse adjustment options, the centre seat row enables a high degree of flexibility in the interior, including a cargo position for optimum use of the luggage compartment. This provides a volume of 680 to 2300 litres and as such clearly surpasses the amount of space offered by the vehicle's European competitors. On top of this there is a maximum load compartment length of 2124 mm as well as a payload capacity of up to 815 kg.
Of particular note are a new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel in nappa leather with steering wheel gearshift paddles and 12 function buttons as well as an airbag cover in nappa leather, instruments with modified details and also a newly designed instrument panel with semi-integrated colour Media Display. Options available for the new GLS also include an ionisation system for even better interior air quality.
Individual highlights can be created in the GLS interior with the help of, for example, the wood/leather multifunction steering wheel, the ambient lighting featuring three colour shades or the wide range of generously proportioned trim elements on the instrument panel and door panels with coordinated retractable cup holder covers.
State-of-the-art connectivity and infotainment are optionally provided by the latest generation of COMAND Online including a 20.3 cm (8-inch) colour Media Display as well as the intuitive touchpad (65 x 45 mm). An extensive package of free Standard Services and Remote Online Services is available for the GLS as part of the "Mercedes connect me" service. Standard Services include automatic emergency call (eCall), Accident Recovery and also breakdown assistance and after-sales service. The Remote Online services (standard with COMAND online and usable free of charge for the first three years) allow access to vehicle information from anywhere at all times, including the status of windows and doors, mileage, tyre pressures and other diagnostic data.
Exclusive interior lines meet the most discerning of standards
In addition to ambient lighting as well as trim elements in black piano lacquer or a variety of wood trim, the optional EXCLUSIVE design and equipment line also provides five attractive interior colour concepts, exclusively in genuine leather: black, ginger beige / espresso brown, saddle brown / black, crystal grey / black or ginger beige / black.
In the case of the designo Exclusive package, the overall impression of refinement is further heightened by heated comfort seats in the front with upholstery in designo nappa leather as well as characteristic diamond quilting. A distinctively sporty note comes courtesy of the AMG Line interior. It comprises, for the first time for the GLS, sports seats in nappa leather, a 3‑spoke multifunction sports steering wheel in a black nappa leather finish, graduated instrument dials in a chequered flag look and brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs.
Maximum safety for seven passengers
The equipment level of the new GLS in the area of active safety underscores Mercedes-Benz's high standards when it comes to taking the strain off the driver. Driver assistance systems fitted as standard include COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Crosswind Assist and ATTENTION ASSIST, for example. Other systems available as standard on the GLS also include: the PRE-SAFE® system, Brake Assist BAS, the electronic all-wheel drive traction system 4ETS, ESP® with Curve Dynamic Assist, cruise control with variable SPEEDTRONIC speed limiter and the steering assist function STEER CONTROL.
The optional Driver Assistance package Plus further reduces the driver's workload while enhancing safety for the passengers, with systems including DISTRONIC PLUS with Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS.
Optimum protection potential is provided by the passive occupant protection systems together with the "electronic crumple zones" of the assistance systems and the intelligent body design. Adaptive, two-stage airbags for driver and front passenger, kneebag for the driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvisbags) and windowbags above all three seat rows are also part of the standard specification, among other features.
Night-time vision is improved by the optionally available LED Intelligent Light System, while adverse weather conditions resulting in impaired visibility are defused by MAGIC VISION CONTROL, the heated adaptive windscreen wiper system with purposeful, efficient water distribution.
Efficient performance: the engine line-up in the GLS
All of the engines of the new GLS provide better performance, with reduced consumption values in some cases. The powerful GLS 500 4MATIC with V8 biturbo engine featuring direct injection now generates 335 kW (455 hp), some 15 kW (20 hp) more than the preceding model, and at a maximum torque of 700 Nm combines outstanding performance with the high level of motoring comfort of these engines. The V6 biturbo engine, also featuring direct injection, is used in the GLS 400 4MATIC. This engine produces an output of 245 kW (333 hp) and 480 Nm of torque from 1600 rpm, makes do with 8.9 l/100 km (206 g CO2/km) according to the NEDC combined cycle, and like all models has an ECO start/stop function.
As the effortlessly superior top-of-the-range model in the series, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC now has over 20 kW (28 hp) more output, at 430 kW (585 hp), than its predecessor. The peak torque of 760 Nm is now available from just 1750 rpm. Despite a significant increase in performance, the consumption remains unchanged.
Alongside the petrol engines, in the GLS 350 d 4MATIC there is the choice of the proven V6 diesel engine rated at 190 kW (258 hp) and with ample torque of 620 Nm.
At the launch of the new GLS generation, all versions will feature the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission as standard (except the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63), optionally in combination with low-range gearbox and centre differential lock.
Comprehensive stability: DYNAMIC SELECT, AIRMATIC with enhanced ADS and ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM
With DYNAMIC SELECT, the new GLS provides up to six transmission modes. In addition to the settings COMFORT, SLIPPERY and SPORT, with the DYNAMIC SELECT Controller in the centre console the driver can additionally choose INDIVIDUAL or the OFF-ROAD mode for easy terrain. If the GLS model is equipped with the optional Off-Road Engineering package, the OFF-ROAD+ mode is also available. With this, the low-range gearbox and centre differential lock also intervene if necessary in order to ensure a high degree of driveability in demanding off-road terrain. This is further boosted by the extended functions of the AIRMATIC air suspension with raised ride heights for a ground clearance of up to 306 millimetres and thus a fording depth of up to 600 millimetres.
In addition to the ground-breaking powertrain configuration, the retuned AIRMATIC air suspension with enhanced ADS damping characteristics guarantees extremely stable driving. The damping system changes its priorities depending on the preselected DYNAMIC SELECT mode. SPORT focuses on the greatest possible lateral dynamics with the best possible ride quality. Conversely, COMFORT mode enables maximum ride quality with the best possible dynamics.
The optional active roll stabilisation ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle and reduces the roll angle of the body during cornering. Better driving comfort both when cornering and on straights and extended off-road capabilities are also part of the advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.
Completely modernised SUV family from Mercedes-Benz
With the new GLS, Mercedes-Benz is now offering the latest and most comprehensive premium SUV range ever. The portfolio now ranges from the compact GLA through the new best-selling GLC, the successful GLE family, the GLE Coupé and GLS, right through to the mainstay of all Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the G-Class.
With its range of outputs the GLS is an impressive prospect for North American buyers in particular: it has been the undisputed market leader in its segment there for many years.
The GLS will be available to order from November 2015, with deliveries in Europe starting from March 2016.
GLS 350 d 4MATIC €62,850
GLS 400 4MATIC €64,425
GLS 500 4MATIC €81,600
Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4MATIC €113,500
*non-binding price recommendation excluding VAT for the German market