Having made its debut in 2007 as the GL and then renamed GLS, this SUV isn’t just Mercedes-Benz’s flagship, it is also one of the most luxurious options in class and for 2020, it has received a major redesign making it better in every conceivable way.
It features more space, more comfort, and more luxury than the predecessor along with more standard safety technology and extra firepower too. It measures 5,207mm in length, 1,956mm in width and has a wheelbase of 3,135mm (making it 77mm longer, 22mm wider and a 60mm longer wheelbase than the previous model) and boasts a far more confident demeanor thanks to the its impressive new dimensions which also lends it more interior room especially in the second row. In spite of the growth in size, the drag coefficient has been brought down to 0.32 (previously it stood at 0.35). The multibeam LED headlights and LED tech taillights (crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip) look similar to those found on the GLE and in fact overall the elegant GLS does resemble the smaller GLE from all angles. The upright radiator grille, chrome-plated underguard in the apron and a bonnet with two powerdomes gives the front end a bold and imposing look.
As it is underpinned by the same architecture as the GLE, it isn’t much of a surprise that the interior looks pretty similar. Just like the GLE, the three-row GLS is smothered with leather and chrome throughout the cabin and it gets dual 12.3in screens (they function as the gauge cluster and infotainment system) and are powered by Mercedes’s MBUX system (it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a new gesture control system). It’s loaded with driver-assist systems including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, and automated emergency braking while other new safety features include traffic-jam driver-assistance and a car-wash button that closes all windows and folds the mirrors in a single touch.
Two drivetrains are available (both come mated to a 9G-Tronic automatic powering all four wheels) and one is a world premiere; for the first time, Mercedes has paired its twin-turbo, 4.7-litre V8 with a 48-volt electrical system which effectively turns the GLS 580 (which replaces the GLS 550) into a mild hybrid. It produces 504 horses and 700Nm of torque. An inline-six makes 367 horses and 500 Nm of torque in the GLS 450. The GLS comes with the enhanced Airmatic air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard but time will tell if all of the improvements made will be enough to keep the Lincoln Navigator and BMW X7 in their places...