2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Preview
- New luxury SUV previously known as the GL-Class
- Restyled in front, revised detailing in back
- Updated interior with next-generation infotainment technology
- New 9-speed automatic transmission improves fuel economy
- Airmatic air suspension gains an enhanced damping system
- Available LED Intelligent Light System
- Optional AMG Line Interior package with sport seats
- More powerful Mercedes-AMG GLS63 performance model
- On sale in March 2016
Naturally, Mercedes-Benz characterizes the new 2017 GLS-Class as “the S-Class of SUVs.” The GLS-Class is a renamed and updated version of the SUV that the company currently offers as the GL-Class for the 2016 model year. Four model series will be available: GLS350d, GLS450, GLS550, and AMG GLS63.
Equipped with seating for 7 people inside a vehicle that is nearly as large as traditional full-size sport utility vehicles, the GLS-Class counts the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon Denali, Infiniti QX80, Land Rover LR4, Lexus LX, Lincoln Navigator, and Tesla Model X among its competition.
Bringing the GLS-Class into line with “the current Mercedes-Benz design idiom,” the automaker has freshened the SUV’s front styling and modified rear styling details with a new bumper and standard LED taillights. The range of aluminum wheel choices has been redesigned, and new colors include Diamond White and Cardinal Red.
A Sport Exterior option is available for the GLS550, featuring a unique appearance and 21-in. aluminum wheels. A Night option package blacks out certain portions of the trim for a custom look.
Inside, the GLS-Class is equipped with a redesigned dashboard featuring a new 8-in. color Media Display awkwardly rising up from between the air vents, appearing to have pushed them out of the way. The SUV’s center console is new, too, and the 3-spoke steering wheel is wrapped in smooth, supple Nappa leather.
Adjustable second-row seating returns, maximizing room for people and cargo. Buyers can choose to decorate the GLS-Class in five different interior color combinations and with black piano lacquer trim or various wood selections.
In addition to an air ionization system that purifies the cabin’s atmosphere, ambient interior lighting is available to set the mood. Heated front comfort-design seats and spiffy diamond-quilted premium Nappa leather are included in the appropriately named Nappa Leather option package.
A new AMG Line Interior option package is new for 2017 and includes a sport-design steering wheel, sport-design front seats, Nappa leather, revised instrumentation with a checkered-flag effect, and stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs.
Mercedes also introduces a new LED Intelligent Light System to the GLS-Class, while the automaker’s Magic Vision Control heated wiper and washer system are also available.
Under the Hood
The most efficient version of the GLS-Class is also the least expensive model. A turbocharged, 3.0-liter diesel V-6 engine is installed in the GLS350d, making 255 horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque.
If you prefer a traditional gasoline engine, try the GLS450. It has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 generating 362 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. For greater performance, the GLS550 obliges with its twin-turbocharged, 4.7-liter V-8 engine, good for 577 horsepower and 561 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Mercedes-AMG GLS63 packs the most power, thanks to a hand-built, twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 making 577 horsepower and 561 lb.-ft. of torque. The AMG version of the new GLS-Class is also equipped with a long list of additional mechanical enhancements designed to make the most of its performance.
All GLS-Class models are equipped with 4Matic 4-wheel drive and an automatic engine start/stop system designed to help conserve fuel. All but the AMG GLS63 have a new 9-speed automatic transmission with Dynamic Select technology.
Dynamic Select provides the driver with a choice between Comfort, Slippery, Sport, and Individual settings. Additionally, all but the AMG GLS63 have an Off-road mode, while the AMG GLS63 gets an exclusive Sport+ mode. Choose the optional Off-road Engineering option package and Dynamic Select gains an Off-road+ mode, while the transmission adds low-range gearing and a center differential lock.
So equipped, the GLS-Class has genuine off-roading capability. The Airmatic air suspension helps, raising the suspension to provide a maximum of 12.5 in. of ground clearance and a water fording depth of 23.6 in., according to Mercedes. As an option, an Active Curve System provides the GLS-Class with active roll stabilization for improved ride and handling characteristics.
Standard safety features for the new 2017 GLS-Class include connected services such as automatic emergency call and accident recovery, a drowsy-driver monitoring system, forward-collision warning and automatic emergency-braking system, and a collision-preparation system that readies the SUV’s cabin for an unavoidable collision.
An optional Driver Assistance option package builds on this technological foundation, adding an adaptive cruise control system with steering assist, more sophisticated automatic emergency-braking system with pedestrian detection and cross-traffic assist features, active blind-spot and lane-keeping systems, and a speed-limit assistant.
The new 8-in. color Media Display tacked onto this SUV’s dashboard is equipped with next-generation Comand Online technology and includes a new touchpad controller.
The system includes access to a number of useful features that are complimentary for the first 5 years of ownership. They range from remote access to various vehicle functions to the ability to program curfew and speed alerts for when younger drivers might be using the vehicle. Additional highlights include Internet browsing capability, local search, a vehicle finder, and more.