For 2017, the former Mercedes Benz GL SUV has a new name – GLS – in line with name changes to other models which have been upgraded from the premium German auto maker. We tested the revamped 2017 GLS 450 4MATIC, and came away very impressed with this luxurious, roomy, premium seven -seater SUV. For starters, there are some cosmetic changes – on the front facia, the grille has a more pronounced vertical profile with a larger three star MB badge, along with more vertically elongated headlights. The hood has also acquired a racy pair of long, narrow “power bulges” to give it more heft and a slightly aggressive look. The rear fascia is also neater with a cleaner looking bumper and lower apron, along with redesigned LED tail-lights. Overall, the new GLS is a more graceful, but still imposing with its mild restyle and keeps the inherent aristocratic looks of the GLS intact – but with a hint of S-class sleekness.
The GLS arrives with a choice of engines: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V-6; 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V-6; 4.7-litre twin-turbo and the top dog V-8; 5.5-litre twin-turbo V-8. Transmission is via a new nine-speed automatic gearbox hooked to Mercedes’ excellent 4MATIC full-time all-wheel drive
Standard features across the GLS lineup include remote start, cruise control, and power driver’s seat with memory settings, a power tailgate, and power folding side mirrors. The interior has also been given extra upgrades, such as: a new 3- spoke multi-function steering wheel, newly designed instrument panel with Media Display, a modified centre console with touchpad and new trim options and revised dashboard incorporating an 8-inch multifunction display screen that now stands atop the middle of the dash. Interior finishes have been upgraded, and include several new upholstery options. The general ambience of the cabin is a step up. The GLS is available with a choice of interior leather trim colours and either wood or carbon-fibre trim accents. Technology levels are also high as befits the brand and this model with a slew of active electronic driver-assist and safety aids, plus connectivity that includes full internet capability (in static mode), and the full range of unrestricted use of Mercedes Benz Apps through smart-phone interconnectivity. The GLS with its roomy, high cabin also impresses with sheer amount of space. The GLS actually does provide real, adult-size seating space in all three rows that is a major attraction. The driver and passengers are given ventilated and heated seats with an available massage function. The second-row seats can be heated, and folded down with optional power assistance. Meanwhile the flip-and-fold feature allows access to the power-folding third-row seats stow for more cargo space, giving almost 100 cubic feet with second and third rows folded down. Legroom and headroom is very good. The GLS arrives with a great set of safety credentials. Standard safety gear on the GLS-Class includes a rear view camera system, Pre-Safe, Attention Assist to alert drowsy drivers, and a full suite of airbags and stability controls. Optional safety aids include: blind-spot monitors, an active lane keep system that actually steers to keep you in your lane (But hand assist steering is still required.), and a pedestrian detection system with automatic emergency braking. A heated adaptive windscreen wiper system helps in maintaining visibility in poor weather conditions.
New standard features include a Dynamic Select (Drive mode) switch, and keyless start. On the road, the GLS offers a luxury ride, firm pleasing steering and reflexes’ and agility that are rather good for a vehicle of this size. Performance can be further optimized with the Dynamic Select’s Sport Mode, and a Sport Package with 21-inch wheels, and active stabilizer bars to mitigate body lean. There are no vices in the new GLS. It is a supremely comfortable and luxurious SUV to drive. Once again, Mercedes Benz keeps it reputation as once the best premium luxury auto maker on the planet with the new GLS. Highly recommended.
2017 Mercedes Benz GLS 450 4MATIC
Priced from $82,900