4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

S-Class luxury in SUV wrapping

Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV (19 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
Enlarge 85 photos

At a glance

New price £84,765 - £171,630
Lease from new From £1,202 p/m View lease deals
Used price £54,100 - £155,410
Fuel Economy 21.1 - 32.8 mpg
Road tax cost £490
Insurance group 47 - 50 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Excellent levels of comfort and luxury
  • Huge list of equipment available
  • Very easy to drive, with strong engines

CONS

  • Almost too big for UK roads
  • High-spec models are pricey
  • Costs a small fortune to run

Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

If you’re in the enviable position of considering a large, luxurious SUV as your next car, then rest assured that the Mercedes-Benz GLS warrants a prime position on your shortlist.

Rather boldly, Mercedes refers to the GLS as the 'S-Class of SUVs' - that's quite a claim and, in reality, only feels justified the higher up the range you go.­– as, besides offering three rows of seats, Mercedes is keen to let you know that this version is the ‘S-Class of SUVs’ – quite a claim.

This isn’t a car that’s simply been lightly refreshed in an effort to attract more well-heeled customers; this latest iteration of GLS is bigger in every direction than its predecessorbefore and features new underpinnings, engines and exterior styling.

It’s also packed with a range of advanced equipment, befitting of a flagship SUV with a three-pointed star adorning its nose – which should help Mercedes tackle rivals such as the Bentley Bentayga, BMW X7 and long-wheelbase Range Rover.

Restrained, handsome styling

You won’t miss the GLS out on the road, in large part due to its sheer size – it’s a whopping 5.2m long, making it longer than its key rivals, plus it’s over two metres wide. Driving around quaint chocolate box villages and urban multi-storey car parks alike only reinforce its enormity. 

Substantial footprint aside, the new second-generation GLS - or third-generation if you include the earlier GL-Class - features a completely overhauled exterior. Its styling is softer than its predecessor, resulting in a more restrained and dignified look, making the Mercedes a more subtle luxury SUV than the likes of the X7. To our eyes, it even looks a little more cohesive than the smaller GLE.

Limited engine range

Three versions of the GLS are available, all offering substantial performance at a minimum.

There is potential for confusion due to the way Mercedes operates with sub-brands, though, but thankfully each permutation only has one engine option.

Least costly to buy and run is the Mercedes-Benz GLS 400 d, powered by a 2.9-litre diesel engine producing 330hp.

If outright performance is more your thing, then you'll be drawn to the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63. At least 50% more expensive than the diesel, this version's 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine musters 612hp and can, once you've attended an AMG driving course, be capable of reaching a top speed of 174mph.

Most expensive - at over twice the cost of the cheapest model - is the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600. It also features the AMG's petrol engine, but detuned to just 557hp. It's still mightily quick, but the whole Maybach focus is on luxury, as becomes more obvious throughout the review.

Whichever GLS you decide to go for, 4Matic four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Luxury interior with space for up to seven

Benz and AMG versions of the GLS are the firm’s largest seven-seat SUVs, with space in all three rows for adults. The middle-row seats are electrically adjustable, easily allowing those in the third-row more legroom if required. Plus, all five rear seats fold conveniently into the floor when you need extra carrying capacity for cargo rather than people. 

Black 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 400 d dashboard wide angle

Maybach versions focus even more on the luxury side, something you can guess from the extrerior fittings alone, given how they drip in chrome. There's no third row of seats in te Maybach, instead the middle row is positioned further rearwards and given a much greater range of seat adjustability for those who prefer to be chauffeured. 

Equipment levels across the GLS range are high, but as ever with a Mercedes the options list is as extensive as it is expensive. That two-tone paint on the Maybach GLS? Expect to add £18,000 for that alone.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Mercedes-Benz GLS including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV rivals