2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS

The S Class of premium SUVs

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 1920 1280 Jack

In an era where SUVs continue to become one of the most dominant forces in the current car market. Mercedes brings to you for 2020, the brand new king of its range: the GLS.

The GLS, as the name hints pretty well at, is marketed as the ‘S-Class of premium SUVs’, and features many of the luxuries and tech you’d expect to find in the high-end saloon. Starting from £75,040, it’s a direct rival to the BMW X7.

The interior has become something of a trademark for Mercedes models of recent times, with a curving minimalistic dashboard dominated by two hi-resolution LCD displays for the MBUX infotainment and gauge clusters. Arguably, the interior isn’t quite up to scratch of the S-Class (the air vents in particular look oddly low-rent), but this is most likely a conscious decision by Mercedes to give the GLS a bit more of an SUV rugged feel. It’s huge, too, with up to a monstrous 2,400 litres of boot space with the back two rows of seats folded flat.

Speaking of the seats, you can spec your GLS in one of two configurations. You can get a conventional 7-seat layout, with two at the front, three in the middle and two at the back. Alternatively, you can get a 6-seat layout, which sacrifices one seat in the middle row for a far more luxurious experience that more closely resembles an armchair over conventional car seats.

The outside, too, carries on the theme of being an obvious member of the Mercedes family without really any major new advances for the design language. The imposing and slightly glitzy front grille remains, as does the familiar rear tail design. For those who are fans of the Mercedes range, this will tick many boxes, but for others it does look like a copy-paste job from the GL range.

Whilst the interior and exterior may be slightly safe and predictable, and not quite up to scratch with an actual S-Class in terms of design and quality, the GLS does carry over some impressive technology from its saloon cousin. E-Active Body Control can be selected as an option on the GLS, which uses road scanning technology to ‘prepare’ the suspension for bumps, and actively counterbalances the forces given by uneven surfaces for an impressively undisturbed ride. It may have a different name, but this is a very similar concept to the S-Class’ well-praised Magic Body Control system.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper SUV without some form of off-roading capability, and thankfully Mercedes has included several tricks up the GLS’ sleeve to make it competent. All models receive the ‘4-Matic’ all-wheel drive system mated with a 9-speed automatic gearbox. The multi-plate clutch allows full flexibility of torque distribution between the axles, from 0 to 100 percent.

In the UK, only one drivetrain is offered at the moment: the 400d. It comes with a 2.9-litre inline six with 325bhp and 516lb/ft torque. It will officially return 37.2MPG and emit 201g/km of CO2. Three trim levels are available: the AMG-Line Premium, the AMG-Line Premium Plus, and the AMG-Line Premium Plus Executive. What a mouthful!

For those wanting more power, the semi-skimmed GLS 53 (using a mild-hybrid engine) and full fat GLS 63 (with a twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre petrol V8) AMG performance models are expected to arrive later on in the year.

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