The new Mercedes-Benz GLS
The S-Class of SUVs
The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is Mercedes-Benz largest and most luxurious SUV and, above all, offers more: more space, more comfort, more luxury. The confident presence of its exterior stems from its impressive dimensions, which are even larger than those of its predecessor. One of the benefits of the longer wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort.
Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the new GLS. Its aesthetics are based on the confident presence that its impressive dimensions alone create (length 5207 mm, width 1956 mm). The wheelbase of 3135 mm, which is 60 mm longer than that of its predecessor, makes the vehicle beneficially longer and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasized by the understated, elegant side design. The GLE follows the design strategy of Sensual Purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favour of generously sculptured surfaces.
The front section of the new GLS exudes presence and power: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated underguard in the front apron with the bone-shaped air inlet grille, and the bonnet with two powerdomes. This striking appearance is emphasized by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night. The GLS has MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 650 metres. The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, too. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lights, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The two-piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-calibre, three-dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated underguard.
Aerodynamics: exquisite fine-tuning
The new GLS achieves cd figures as low as 0.32 - a clear improvement compared with its predecessor (cd 0.35) and an impressively low figure in the large luxury SUV segment. The excellent aerodynamics help to firstly reduce fuel consumption and secondly limit wind noise, one of the areas on which development work focussed specifically.
Special attention was paid to the underbody and the air flowing through the engine compartment. Not least because the hallmark SUV shape, with its upright front end and high ground clearance, makes these areas susceptible to low-frequency airflow noise. A host of details was optimized with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.
Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive
The interior of the new GLS is all about luxuriously elegant aesthetics, as evidenced straight away by the leather appointments, which come as standard. They combine the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury saloon with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboards design is an impressively sized screen unit embedded in a distinctive dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element likewise extends to meet the doors.
The prominently wide, raised centre console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the centre console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent leather surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sunblinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the drivers seat. Very fine chiselling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces show the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sports steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUVs interior.
Interior: generous amount of space in the second and third seat row, too
The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (3135 mm, an increase of 60 mm). This creates more space, especially in the second seat row, which can furthermore be adjusted fore and aft. Legroom here is increased by 87 mm when the seats are in their rearmost position, which also makes it easier to get into the vehicle.
As standard for the European market, the second row has a 60:40-split folding rear bench seat with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests. Alternatively it is possible to order the American standard configuration with two luxury individual rear seats with armrests, between which it is possible to access the rearmost seats with ease. This is particularly useful when child seats are fitted in the second seat row.
All seats are electrically adjustable as standard. The same applies to the EASY-ENTRY function, which makes it easy to get into and out of the two individual seats in the third row. For this, the seats in the second row move a long way forwards and fold forwards.
The seats in the third row are fully fledged seats that are suitable for people up to 1.94 m tall and are heated for the first time. There are also separate USB charging ports here.
If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control, the third row has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. This zone is supplied by its own, electrically powered heater and air conditioner.
A push of a button is all that is required to stow away the comfortable seats and make full use of the 2400-litre boot space in the GLS. The switches on the left and right of the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches on the front-passenger side in the C-pillar area allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. It is also possible to fold down all the seats simultaneously by pressing the ALL button. The carpet-trimmed backs of the backrests form part of a flat, practical load area. Another push of a button lowers the boot sill by approx. 50 mm to make it easier to load heavy items.
Even more comfort in the rear: MBUX served on a tablet
Luxury in the new GLS is shared generously among all passengers, particularly if the Rear Comfort package Plus is ordered. It includes a 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row larger luxury centre armrest. The tablet allows control of all the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions (see next section) from the rear seat rows, such as access to radio, TV, media, phone and web browser. It can also be used to control the Rear Seat Comfort package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time, of course.
The centre console also offers a wireless-charging compartment for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear passengers are indulged further still thanks to luxury head restraints with additional cushions and the rearward-extended centre console between the front seats with cup holders.
It is even possible to order luxury seats with lumbar massage function and climate control as an additional option for the Rear Comfort package Plus in the second row.
The MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System is available for all seating variants - for even more entertainment and convenience. It includes two 11.6-inch touchscreens that allow passengers in the second row to enjoy movies or music, use the integrated web browser, or call up and input trip information. Each screen displays the content selected by the individual user. In addition to the options offered by the MBUX infotainment system, users can also play their own media from a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. If the GLS is equipped with the optional MBUX rear tablet, this can also be used to control the MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System.
MBUX with Interior Assistant
The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the infotainment system MBUX. Upgrades compared with the A-Class, in which the revolutionary system made its debut, include two large 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens. The information on the instrument cluster and media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver's and front passenger's hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the centre console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the drivers hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
In addition there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror, for example. Furthermore, the driver and front passenger can each store personal favourite functions, e.g. navigate home or call office.
A unique feature of MBUX is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next, for example. For instance, anyone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays during the journey home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
Also available is a next-generation full-colour Head‑up Display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.