The GLS is the automaker’s luxurious SUV, beginning at $75,200. Positive, the official Mercedes-Benz car for driving off the overwhelmed path is the costlier (and wanted) G Wagon, beginning at a 401(okay)-draining $128,000. However it’s the GLS that is the go-to car for anybody who’s not a recording artist with a No. 1 single or residing the belief fund dream. With the current refresh, the automaker has given it legit off-road cred, pushing it into the realm of the G Wagon with out sacrificing the luxurious that brings folks to this SUV within the first place.
Contained in the GLS, the seats envelop the driving force and passengers with opulent cushiness. The experience is the standard high-end Mercedes stage of sophistication. However the automaker goes a bit additional by eradicating the jostling of the bumps and swaying of driving with a characteristic referred to as Curve. Utilizing the non-obligatory E-Energetic Physique Management system, the car reduces the lateral motion of the car’s physique by elevating the surface fringe of the GLS when it goes round a curve. The sensation of your physique leaning towards a curve? Yeah, that is nearly totally gone. As a replacement is a bizarre little bit of tranquility. It is initially odd as a driver to show the wheel and really feel the car react to that motion by adjusting the extent of the cab, however I quickly turned accustomed to not feeling my physique sway to the surface of a nook.
The identical suspension additionally reduces the jarring results of a lower than superb roadway. Utilizing two cameras mounted to the entrance of the GLS, the car creates a 3D map of highway and primes the suspension to suck up the bumps a cut up second earlier than they’re rolled over or into. It looks like a little bit of technological overkill simply to have a car that glides over the asphalt, however like Curve, I turned accustomed to it, particularly after buying a scorching beverage. That is proper: A automotive that begins on the north aspect of $70,000 retains you from spilling your latte. That is a ridiculous purpose to purchase a automotive, however I might be mendacity if I stated I did not respect it.
However its essential goal is to maintain the passengers and drivers from feeling the results of a crumbling infrastructure, and it does a beautiful job. Then Mercedes goes additional than that by bestowing precise off-road capabilities to the GLS. The car raises itself up and is able to deal with 99.9 % of what the typical Mercedes-Benz buyer will throw at it. There’s additionally a characteristic that’ll hold rating of how effectively you drive off-road, as much as 100 factors. It measures your pace and the angle of the car and the way you deal with the wild outside in your very costly SUV. The trick is to drive slowly. The bragging rights are restricted to you and your loved ones, so after a couple of days, you may most likely by no means use this once more. Nonetheless, even with out the bizarre score system, throughout my assessments, the GLS was a more-than-capable dirt-road companion.
On a freeway with ruts and bumps, the three.Zero-liter Inline-6 Turbo engine with EQ Enhance (a light hybrid system) of the GLS 450 I examined had greater than sufficient energy beneath the hood to assist me move slower autos with zero points and shortly accelerated to match the stream of site visitors from an on-ramp with out overly exerting the engine, because of 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.
I’ve pushed the extra highly effective GLS 580 trim stage with a four-liter V8 and 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, and admittedly, most individuals might be wonderful with the smaller engine. The $97,800 value of the bigger energy plant will most likely additionally push extra patrons to the 450. Positive energy is enjoyable, however in an SUV is it $22,000 extra enjoyable? In all probability not.
Whatever the engine alternative, the GLS comes with Mercedes’ MBUX, which continues to be the most effective infotainment system in the marketplace. Plenty of that comes right down to the speech-recognition system. “Hey, Mercedes” makes brief work of a majority of the duties that folks do whereas driving like mapping, choosing media and making cellphone calls. When you’re extra of a hands-on-type individual, the system may be navigated with both the touch-enabled management wheel within the heart console or the tiny touchpad on the steering wheel.
I am additionally a giant fan of the system’s augmented actuality turn-by-turn instructions. As you come across a flip, the 12.Three-inch heart show exhibits the highway with an arrow pointing precisely the place you want to flip. It is overkill more often than not however excellent in circumstances the place it is not clear the place try to be going.
All this fanciness will price you. The GLS begins at $75,200, however like all luxurious autos, that value can shortly skyrocket. For instance, the E-Energetic Physique Management characteristic clocks in at a whopping $6,500. Suspension know-how ain’t low-cost. For a well-equipped 450 mannequin, count on to push the value up close to and probably greater than $90,000. Additionally, the outside styling feels a bit boring. It is not unhealthy, it is simply not that thrilling.
General although, the GLS raises the bar within the luxurious SUV world. When you do occur to want a big car with a 3rd row that may deal with a bumpy dust highway on the best way to a flowery shindig whereas protecting everybody from spilling their piping-hot cup of espresso, the GLS is the tech-heavy SUV to get.