What is it?
This big beast is the third-generation version of the Mercedes-Benz GLS, née GL.
Mercedes likes to think of it as the S-Class of its SUV range, and in terms of the sheer size of the thing, it would seem Stuttgart hasn’t skimped on the brief. At 5.21 metres, it may not be quite as long as, well, a real S-Class, but it’s easily the largest SUV to wear the three-pointed star, full-on G-Class (a comparatively tiny 4.6m) included.
Earlier this year, we drove the new GLS for the first time in Utah, where its fairly ginormous footprint was, understandably, not much of a problem. Now, though, the flagship SUV has touched down in the UK, and its chances of blending in to its surroundings have been significantly reduced. Still, with the Range Rover, Audi Q7 and (to a lesser extent) BMW X7 now a fairly common sight on our cramped roads, the GLS won’t exactly be alone in its endeavours.
This particular GLS is the 400d, which, in the grand scheme of obnoxiously large SUVs, at least uses a reasonably sensible engine. It’s a 2.9-litre six-cylinder diesel, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission to deliver its 326bhp and 516lb ft to the road via all four wheels. Slightly less sensible options will arrive next year in the form of a six-cylinder petrol and an AMG GLS 63. No doubt the latter will cost roughly the same to run as a stately home.
Unlike the GLS 580 we drove in the States, UK versions of the GLS miss out on Mercedes’ trick E-Active body control system, opting instead for standard adaptive air suspension. Prices start at £75,040 for the AMG Line Premium model and move up £91,540 for the AMG Line Premium Plus Executive.