The new Mercedes-Benz GLS has been revealed at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, ready to do battle with its fresh-faced foe, the BMW X7.
The latest-generation version of the GLS – which the Stuttgart-based firm describes as the “S-Class of SUVs” – is even larger than the outgoing model, growing in length by 77 mm (to 5 207 mm) and in width by 22 mm (to 1 956 mm), with an extra 60 mm slotted between its axles (for a wheelbase of 3 135 mm).
All three rows of seats are electrically adjustable, offering what Benz calls “a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort”. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase luggage space (up to 2 400 litres, says Mercedes), while the pews in the second row also fold flat. Interestingly, a six-seater variant with two “luxury individual rear seats” in the middle row will also be available.
And under the bonnet? Well, the new GLS580 4Matic was on the stage in New York, complete with an electrified twin-turbo 4,0-litre V8 petrol engine featuring a 48-volt system with integrated starter-generator. It boasts peak outputs of 360 kW and 700 N.m, with a further 250 N.m and 16 kW available via “EQ Boost” for short periods.
The GLS450 4Matic, meanwhile, features the same 48-volt system, but applied to a 3,0-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine. Here, the powertrain is worth 270 kW and 500 N.m of torque, again with benefit of the “EQ Boost” function.
Two diesel-engined GLS derivatives will furthermore be offered in some markets, powered by the brand’s latest six-cylinder in-line engine (OM656, for the engine anoraks). In the GLS350d 4Matic, it generates 210 kW and 600 N.m, while in the GLS400d 4Matic those figures rise to 243 kW and 700 N.m.
All variants of the new GLS feature the brand’s nine-speed automatic transmission, with an optionally available transfer case “specially configured for superior off-road driving characteristics”. Mercedes-Benz also says the new GLS ships standard with an "enhanced" version of the automaker’s air suspension system, complete with an adaptive damping system.
Inside, you’ll immediately notice the massive screen, which runs the latest version of the MBUX infotainment system. The cabin can furthermore be fitted with five-zone automatic climate control, while ordering the “Rear Comfort package Plus” adds a seven-inch Android tablet (in its own docking station) in the second row's centre armrest. Even the third row can be specified with heated seats and dedicated USB charging ports.
The MBUX rear seat entertainment system, meanwhile, includes two 11,6-inch touchscreens that allow passengers in the second row to enjoy movies or music, use the integrated web browser, or call up and input trip information.