For those followers of the brand who require three rows of seating, impeccable high-speed cruising and robust off-road ability, the GLS has always been their Mercedes-Benz of choice.
With this new version, revealed at this week’s New York auto show, Mercedes has improved all aspects of the GLS without sacrificing any of the attributes that owners value.
In terms of size the new GLS is 77mm longer and 22mm wider than its predecessor. At 5.2m bumper-to-bumper it is one of the largest SUVs you can buy. The benefit of those dimensions is a cabin which can comfortable accommodate seven, or 2400-litres worth of luggage, with the second- and third-row seats folded down.
Mercedes has always marketed the GLS as a true seven-seater all-terrain touring vehicle, where the rearmost seats are merely for toddlers. Adults up to 1.94m in length will be comfortably seated in the third-row and with all seats electrically operated, reconfiguring the cabin for passengers or the loading of adventure gear, is an effortless experience.
Passenger comfort and entertainment are a given with any contemporary Mercedes SUV and new GLS offers individual USB charging ports and hearted seats for all its occupants, even those way in the back. Second-row passengers will also be privy to consuming entertainment on the move, streamed via two 11-inch screens, mounted in the seatbacks of the driver and front passenger seat.
Mechanically the launch power- and drivetrain for the third-generation of Mercedes-Benz’s largest SUV is GLS580. Powered by a 4-litre bi-turbocharged V8, which also features mild-hybridization thanks to an energy harvesting integrated starter motor, the GLS580 boosts 360kW and 700Nm. For shorts bursts of acceleration, the electric energy reserve system adds 12kW and 250Nm to the V8’s power surge, for anxiety-free overtaking.
As with the previous GLS, the new version features a low-range transfer case and locking differentials for demanding off-road adventures, whilst a sophisticated air-suspension enhances high-speed corning stability, whilst also providing high-clearance off-road driving when required. The adaptive air-suspension system can offer credible bodyroll mitigation, when threading GLS through tight corners at speed, and then be raised to ensure that it will roll over extremely technical off-road obstacles with ease.
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