With the GLS, Mercedes has completed the renaming of its SUV line-up. The GLS name aims to provide the car with some of the upmarket cachet already associated with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class saloon.
Along with the new name, the GLS receives a series of subtle exterior styling upgrades, a more luxurious interior with additional connectivity options, more efficient engines, a new nine-speed automatic gearbox and upgrades to its air suspension.
Most prominent among the exterior styling changes is the new grille treatment. It features an oversized three-pointed star and twin-blade adornment, giving the GL's successor a bolder appearance. There’s also a new front bumper, new headlight graphics, subtly altered tail-lights, a revised rear bumper and newly styled wheels.
The mild stylistic revisions continue to the interior where the GLS adopts an upgraded dashboard featuring a free-standing infotainment monitor in combination with a touchpad controller between the front seats, altered instrument graphics and a new three-spoke, multi-function steering wheel. The GLS comes with seven seats as standard.
The standard engine line-up includes both carry-over and upgraded petrol and diesel units. Each provides improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions due to the adoption of a new nine-speed automatic gearbox in place of the older seven-speed unit used by the outgoing GL.
On the petrol side (but not available in the UK) is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 developing 328bhp in the GLS400 4Matic, and a twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 in the GLS500 4Matic that produces 449bhp (an increase of 20bhp over its predecessor). The 3.0-litre V6's official claimed combined economy figure is 31.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 306g/km – an improvement of 2.3mpg and 19g/km on the old GL400 4Matic.