Large SUVs are in fashion this year. Brands as diverse as Kia, Hyundai, and BMW are all coming out with the largest SUVs they've ever made. Now Mercedes-Benz has launched the all-new GLS, which they call "The S-Class of SUVs" after their top-of-the-line luxury sedan.
The GLS is a large SUV with seating for up to seven passengers. There are two trim levels available. The basic model is the GLS 450, and it comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. This package is rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, with an extra 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of boost available from the hybrid system.
There's also the GLS 580, which has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8engine rated at 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, plus the same hybrid boost capability. Both trims are equipped with a 9-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive. On the road, the 450 feels almost as powerful as the 580. I suspect the hybrid system helps equalize perceived performance.
You expect a Mercedes SUV to be luxurious inside, and the GLS will not disappoint you in that regard. All the S-Class features are available, like massage and aroma therapy, heated and cooled seats, and a fantastic stereo. The second row executive package is unmatched by any vehicle on the market with reclining seat, large infotainment tablet, and perfect comfort.
However, the real wow factor of the GLS is its technology. The Mercedes-Benz User eXperience (MBUX) package supports gesture control and voice commands, including Internet access by saying "Hey Mercedes" and asking questions. The MBUX navigation system has a cool feature where it displays a camera view of the road ahead, with floating tags to identify street names, destination addresses, and floating arrows showing you which way to turn.
The GLS also offers every advanced driver assistance feature available today. It's more than adaptive cruise control and lane keeping. The GLS has speed limit assistance that keeps the SUV at the posted speed, and route-based assistance that slows the GLS when you're coming to a sharp curve or roundabout.
Another big surprise happened when I went off-road in the GLS. Most Mercedes SUV owners won't ever do this, but our route took the GLS through some challenging terrain. Mercedes wanted to demonstrate that this SUV really can go just about anywhere, and it did.
Pricing on the GLS 450 starts at $75,200, while the GLS 580 starts at $97,800. Pricing on the option packages hasn't been announced yet, and of course DMV fees go on top of those numbers. If you want a big SUV with top-tier luxury, be sure to test drive the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
Base price: $75,200
Price as tested: $97,800
Type: Large SUV
Engine: 3.0-liter turbo 6-cyl (362 hp, 369 lbs-ft) or 4.0-liter turbo V8 (483 hp, 516 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: TBD
Overall length: 205 inches
Curb weight: TBD
Final assembly: Vance, Alabama
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