Mercedes has unveiled the all-new GLS, which is the carmaker’s largest SUV offering and sits right at the top of its SUV range. The new GLS is based on Mercedes' Modular High Architecture (MHA) platform, just like its smaller sibling – the GLE. The new platform has contributed to the increased dimensions that now stand at 5,207mm in length and 1,956mm in width, making the new GLS 77mm longer and 22mm wider than its predecessor. Its wheelbase has also increased by 60mm, to 3,135mm.
The new GLS has received a major update in terms of design and it now more closely resembles the rest of the SUV range that includes the GLC and GLE SUVs. It gets a sleeker and more rounded off appearance, while still carrying over its predecessor’s upright stance but omitting its prominent sharp lines. According to Mercedes, the new design and aerodynamic refinements have reduced the GLS’ drag coefficient to 0.32Cd, this will help in reducing wind noise at high speeds.
Coming to the interiors, the new GLS has been completely overhauled, and it gets Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen above the centre console, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, a new steering wheel with touchpads on the upper spokes and a touchpad on the centre console in place of the old rotary controller. The MBUX system also supports touchscreen control as well as voice commands. Due to the increased wheelbase, the second and third-row passengers get more room than before. All seven seats are electronically adjustable, and the rearmost pair folds away to leave a flat extended boot floor. The rear seat passengers also get two 11.6-inch infotainment touchscreens.
On the mechanical side, the new GLS will be offered with both diesel and petrol engines. For international markets, the 2.9-litre, in-line, six-cylinder, turbocharged OM 656 diesel motor will be tuned to make either 330hp and 700Nm of torque in the GLS 400d 4Matic variant or 285hp and 600Nm of torque in the GLS 350d 4Matic variant.
The petrol engines, on the other hand, will both be 48V mild-hybrid engines, with the top-of-the-line GLS 580 4Matic getting a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 with hybrid assistance, making a total of 489hp and 700Nm of torque. The GLS 450 4MATIC will come with a 3.0-litre, in-line, six-cylinder turbocharged engine with hybrid assistance, which will produce 367hp and 500Nm of torque. Both the engines will be able to produces a further 22hp and 250Nm of torque via EQ Boost over short periods. The GLS 450 will only be available in markets outside the EU.
All the engines on offer will be paired to a 9-speed torque converter automatic gearbox with Mercedes' latest 4Matic four-wheel-drive system. The car is also fitted with air suspension as standard across all models. Mercedes will also offer a new Active Stop-and-Go Assist feature on the new GLS, which will allow the car to maintain its lane and the safety distance, up to speeds of 60kph, in order to negotiate traffic jams with more ease.
Mercedes will follow the GLS with an ultra-luxurious Maybach version of the SUV that will aim to compete with the Bentley Bentayga. Two AMG performance versions of the new GLS are also in the works and will arrive in 2020, with the GLS 53 using a mild hybrid petrol engine and the GLS 63 a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8. Mercedes is also preparing an updated version of the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain used by the S560e, with a significantly greater electric-only driving range.
At this point Mercedes has made no announcement about its plans or timeframe of bringing the new GLS to the Indian market. The brand has, however, recently announced a Summer Care camp service programme for India that will take place at authorised service outlets between April 15 and May 15, 2019.
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