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Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV review

2016 - 2019 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0
” Masses of presence, but feels dated inside “

At a glance

Price new £71,330 - £81,175
Used prices £23,498 - £45,264
Road tax cost £365 - £570
Insurance group 50
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Fuel economy 27.4 - 29.4 mpg
Range 572 - 814 miles
Miles per pound 3.5 - 3.8
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types



Pros & cons

  • Comfortable and powerful
  • Superbly built
  • Well-equipped
  • Rivals cheaper to run
  • Not hugely different from GL-Class
  • Hardly an S-Class in SUV form

Written by Parkers Experts Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019


Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV intro

If you’re thinking the Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV looks familiar, that’s because the car is actually a facelift of the model introduced in 2013 as the GL-Class.

Back in 2015 the firm began the process of changing the way it named its cars. All SUVs – barring the iconic G-Class – have a GL prefix, while the third letter – the S in this case – signifies that it sits alongside the S-Class at the pinnacle of the line-up, above GLAGLC and GLE models. Pity it doesn’t feel like an S-Class inside.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d front static
Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d front static

It’s a rival to large seven-seat SUVs such as the Audi Q7, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90, although of those the Audi feels like its most natural alternative.

With that in mind, it’s comfortable, spacious and easy to drive; all traits that’ll appeal to the sort of buyer who usually goes for cars like this – wealthy folk after their new family car for the school run. It’ll cut it on the rough stuff too, though.

Limited Mercedes-Benz GLS engine range, all-wheel drive standard

Most GLS customers will be drawn to the more economical of the two powerplants – the diesel. Badged GLS 350 d, it’s powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged engine producing 258hp and mated to a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox. Officially it returns 35.3mpg, but the real-world figure is closer to 30mpg.

Topping the line-up – with a performance chasm between it and the GLS 350 d – is the 6.2-litre V8 petrol engined Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. With an astonishing 585hp, the 2,580kg brute can still scorch to 62mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

A responsive seven-speed automatic transmission conduits the power for the GLS 63.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d rear badge
Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d rear badge

Whichever you opt for, Mercedes’ 4Matic four-wheel drive system is standard, as is Airmatic air suspension further assisting the GLS’s off-road prowess, varying the ride height to suit the conditions of the terrain.

The firm’s Dynamic Select system comes as standard offering various driving modes, all engaged using the rotary control behind the gear lever. Pay for the Off-Road Package if you want the ultimate in terrain-tackling talents, though – it features an Off-Road+ mode for the Dynamic Select system along with a locking centre differential and low-range gearbox – real hardcore off-roading kit.

Small Mercedes-Benz GLS line-up, but a plethora of options

There were two trim levels for most of the GLS’s life-cycle: AMG Line for the 350 d and the full fat Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. Joining the range in 2018 was the luxuriously appointed Grand Edition, but only with the diesel engine.

Of course, being a Mercedes there is a vast array of options to further personalise your car. Many interior themes are no-cost options, so you have the freedom to tweak your car to your liking without having to spend a fortune.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d dashboard
Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d dashboard

There’s an 8.0-inch multimedia screen atop the centre console, which features a touchpad for controlling the standard Comand Online infotainment system – both work intuitively, but the display is looking dated now compared with newer, widescreen Mercedes displays.

We found the seats to be amazingly comfortable, and fit-and-finish in the cabin feels impressive. Unsurprisingly, it’s a very similar design to the previous GL-Class with a couple of tweaks, but still feels like a premium proposition.

What it doesn’t feel like is an S-Class – comfortable, spacious and luxurious, yes – just not as special as the Saloon alternative.

That said, given its build quality, we suspect the GLS will prove to be one tough customer in terms of reliability and safety performance. We experienced few issues with the old GL-Class and have no reason to suspect additional ones now.