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Mercedes has the Range Rover in its crosshairs

Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV (19 on) - rated 0 out of 5
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PROS

  • Promises to be the S-Class of SUVs
  • Brand’s largest SUV focuses on comfort
  • Orderable now; rivals include new BMW X7

CONS

  • Good luck finding a parking space large enough...

PROS

  • Promises to be the S-Class of SUVs
  • Brand’s largest SUV focuses on comfort
  • Orderable now; rivals include new BMW X7

CONS

  • Good luck finding a parking space large enough...

Verdict

If you’re in the market for a luxury seven-seat SUV then put the new Mercedes-Benz GLS on your shortlist ­– as, besides offering three rows of seats, it’s reportedly the brand’s largest and most luxurious SUV yet.

This isn’t a car that’s just been lightly freshened up in an effort to attract more buyers, mind; the new third-generation GLS, which was revealed at the 2019 New York Motor Show, is bigger than before and features new underpinnings, engines and exterior styling.

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

Mercedes-Benz GLS: more restrained styling

You won’t miss the GLS out on the road, in part due to its sheer size – it’s a whopping 5207mm long, making it longer than both the rival BMW X7 and long-wheelbase Range Rover, and it’s almost two metres wide.

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 new BMW X7.

Mercedes-Benz GLS: limited engine range

Only one version of the GLS is initially available in the UK. Called the GLS 400 d, it features a stout 3.0-litre diesel that produces 330hp and a whopping 700Nm of torque, channelled to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic and Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.

Mercedes-Benz GLS engine

More versions are expected to be revealed later in the year, though, including petrol-engined mild hybrid derivatives and high-performance AMG variants.

How does the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS drive?

The GLS promises to be no slouch, despite its size and weight; Mercedes claims that its turbocharged straight-six diesel can propel it from 0-62mph in 6.3 sec and, where appropriate, that it can hit 148mph. Its economy is a little less impressive, though, with the hefty GLS recording a claimed average of 35.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 208g/km.

The GLS should prove a relaxing car to drive, nonetheless, thanks to new underpinnings that are designed to boost comfort. It comes with adaptive air suspension as standard, too, which adjusts its characteristics on the fly to suit the road conditions – and also keeps the car level, regardless of load. 

2019 Mercedes GLS: off-road ability

While it’s unlikely that any GLS will ever venture far off the beaten path, Mercedes has served up an upgrade that boosts the big SUV’s off-road capabilities. It’s called the Off Road package, which costs £1,495, and includes upgrades such as a low-range crawler gear, hill descent control and off-road calibration for the ABS.

Mercedes-Benz GLS: a focus on comfort

You’ll find an interior that’s reminiscent of an upmarket luxury saloon in the new GLS, with only elements such as the substantial grab handles and wide centre console giving away the 4x4 game. Even the entry-level AMG Line Premium specification comes with masses of kit, too, including a Burmester surround-sound system.

Mercedes-Benz GLS interior

The new GLS also adopts Mercedes’ most recent MBUX infotainment system and features two large 12.3-inch high-resolution screens. A vast array of functions is offered but, fortunately, accessing them is made easier by an advanced voice-control system and gesture recognition.

Mercedes GLS: interior and practicality

The third-generation GLS has a 3135mm wheelbase, which is 60mm longer than its predecessor. This increase in length has created more interior space, particularly for second-row occupants, bolstering both comfort and accessibility.

If you need lots of storage, you’re also in luck; the rearmost seats fold flat into the floor, and the seats in the second row folds flat, unlocking a whopping 2400 litres of storage space – 100 litres more than the second-generation GLS. You won’t have to faff to get the seats down, either, as all are electrically adjustable and fold away at the press of a button.

Comprehensive range of Mercedes GLS safety equipment

The 2019 GLS comes with an array of safety equipment, as you’d expect, even in the base AMG Line Premium specification. Standard features include a Driving Assistance package, parking assistance with a 360-degree camera, a head-up display and Trailer Manoeuvring Assist.

When can I buy a Mercedes-Benz GLS?

Customers in the UK can already order a new 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS, with prices starting at £73,995, but the first deliveries aren’t expected to take place until autumn.

Mercedes-Benz GLS rear

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