The car to be, S-Class of SUVs – Mercedes-Benz GLS.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS is premium producers largest and most luxurious SUV has impressive dimensions, bigger than its predecessor. A longer wheelbase gives more interior spaciousness, especially for passengers of the back seats. All three seat rows are electrically adjustable and offer a generous amount of space and travel comfort. The third row folds into the floor to increase space for luggage, while the seats in the second row fold flat. There is also, a six-seater version with two luxury individual rear seats in the second seat row available. For the first time, customers can order an electrified V8 engine with a 48-volt starter-generator system. The active suspension combines comfort, handling and good off-road capability. GLS is fitted with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems giving continuous support to the driver. The new 4MATIC drivetrain ensures both on and off the road performance. But the key focus is the comfort of passengers, especially in the back of the car, there is a Rear Seat Entertainment System for movies, music, and internet with a tablet to control all functions including five-zone automatic climate control available.
For over two decades, Mercedes-Benz has been building luxury SUVs, first GL was launched a decade later, now GLS is the market leader in the segment. Currently, SUVs are a big part of the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio and contribute to the growth of the brand. Modern luxury, its aesthetics are based on the impressive presence combined with harmonious proportions together with elegant design. The front of the new GLS has the radiator grille in an octagonal shape, chrome-plated under guard and the bone-shaped air inlets. This modern appearance is stressed by the headlamps, the GLS has MULTIBEAM LED headlamps. The GLS looks imposing from the rear, as well as the front, this is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lights, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The new GLS is very efficient aerodynamically, that’s an improvement compared with its predecessor and one of the best cd marks in the large SUV segment. The excellent aerodynamics help to reduce fuel consumption and secondly limit noise. Special attention was paid to the underbody and the air flowing through the engine compartment, as these are areas susceptible to low-frequency airflow noise. A host of details was optimized with numerous tests in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.
The interior of the new GLS is all about luxury, it combines the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz saloon with the robust detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboards is an impressive size screen unit embedded in dashboard support. The prominently wide raised centre console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two grab handles on the centre console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent leather surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sunblinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block. The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the driver’s seat. Very fine chiselling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces show the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sports steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV’s interior.
The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (3135 mm, an increase of 60 mm). This creates more space, especially in the second seat row, which can furthermore be adjusted fore and aft. Legroom here is increased by 87 mm when the seats are in their rearmost position, which also makes it easier to get into the vehicle. As standard for the European market, the second row has a 60:40-split folding rear bench seat with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests. Alternatively, it is possible to order the American standard configuration with two luxury individual rear seats with armrests, between which it is possible to access the rearmost seats with ease. This is particularly useful when child seats are fitted in the second seat row. All seats are electrically adjustable as standard. The same applies to the EASY-ENTRY function, which makes it easy to get into and out of the two individual seats in the third row. For this, the seats in the second row move a long way forwards and fold forwards. The seats in the third row are fully fledged seats that are suitable for people up to 1.94 m tall and are heated for the first time. There are also separate USB charging ports here. If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control, the third row has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. This zone is supplied by its own, electrically powered heater and air conditioner.
Seats in the back can be folded down by a push of a button to make full use of the 2400-litre boot space in the GLS. Switches in the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. Another push of a button lowers the boot sill by approx. 50 mm to make it easier to load heavy items. Comfort in the new GLS is shared among all passengers, especially if the Rear Comfort package Plus is added. It includes a tablet in its own docking station that allows control of all the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions, such as access to radio, TV, media, phone and web browser. It can also be used to control the Rear Seat Comfort package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time, of course. The centre console also offers a wireless-charging for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear passengers are indulged further thanks to luxury head restraints with additional cushions and the rearward-extended centre console between the front seats with cup holders.
It is also available to order luxury seats with lumbar massage function and climate control as an additional option for the Rear Comfort package Plus in the second row. The MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System is available for all seating variants – for even more entertainment and convenience. It 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. Each screen displays the content selected by the individual user. In addition to the options offered by the MBUX infotainment system, users can also play their own media from a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. If the GLS is equipped with the optional MBUX rear tablet, this can also be used to control the MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System. The information on the instrument cluster and media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different functions by gesture recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver’s and front passenger’s hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the centre console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. In addition there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror. The driver and front passenger can store personal favourite functions, like “navigate home” or “call office”. A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next, for instance, anyone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays during the journey home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion. Also available is a next-generation full-colour Head up Display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.
The high aspirations of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are likewise clearly apparent in its engine line-up. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the motoring comfort and effortlessly superior power that suits the characteristics of this luxurious car. Shortly after the model series launch, the introduction of the GLS 580 4MATIC will mark the world premiere of a new, electrified V8 petrol engine with the 48-volt electrical system and integrated starter-generator. It has an output of 360 kW (489 hp) and 700 Nm of torque, with a further 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW/22 hp available from electric motor. The integrated starter-generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
The two diesel-engined GLS models are powered by the six-cylinder in-line engine from the current engine family. It is available with two ratings, the GLS 350 d 4MATIC with 210 kW (286 hp) and 600 Nm and as the GLS 400 d 4MATIC with 243 kW (330 hp) and 700 Nm torque In both versions, the powerful engine already complies with the Euro 6d- standard (RDE/Real Driving Emissions Step 2), which does not come into force until 1 January 2020 for new models and one year later for all vehicles, even in demanding driving conditions. This is achieved with, among other things, an additional selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converter with an ammonia slip catalyst (ASC) in the exhaust tract of the GLS. This allows dosing of the AdBlue reducing agent that is even more closely aligned with the individual driving characteristics because any excessive ammonia surplus in the second SCR converter is broken down further. The AdBlue tank has a capacity of 31.6 liters. As before, refilling is convenient via a separate pipe behind the fuel filler flap.
In all variants of the new GLS, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is likewise fitted as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles. Also new, and available as an option, is a transfer case specially configured for superior off-road driving characteristics. In addition to the controlled multi-plate clutch with torque-on-demand function, it also features a reduction gear for off-road driving. Also when driving on the road, and particularly when cornering, the two fully networked transfer cases with torque-on-demand function allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer.
The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems giving cooperative support to drivers. These systems further enhance the level of active safety. When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is activated, the new GLS is able to recognise and respond to tailbacks or slow-moving traffic with the help of information from Live Traffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. When a traffic jam is detected on the motorway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), for example, DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 100 km/h as a precaution. A new feature of Driving Assistance package Plus: When actually driving in a tailback on the motorway, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is substantially able to perform the tasks of keeping in lane and maintaining the safety distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 60 km/h. Moving off can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop. Once the tailback clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the speed preset for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation. If traffic signs differ from this, the signposted speed limit is automatically given priority. Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is available as an option for the GLS in Europe. This makes reverse manoeuvring easier for drivers who are not so familiar with towing trailers. And it is also of benefit to more experienced drivers when towing longer trailers.
The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition to this, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board. One new, standard feature is the Carwash function – which comes in very handy, especially for a large vehicle like the GLS. When this function is selected, the suspension moves to the highest position, which reduces the track widths due to the axle geometry. This makes it easier to drive into a carwash as well as remove any dirt remaining in the wheel arches from the last off-road trip. The Carwash function also:
• Folds in the exterior mirrors.
• Closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof.
• Suppresses the rain sensor information so that the windscreen wipers remain switched off in the carwash.
• Switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode and , after eight seconds, activates the 360° camera’s front image to assist the driver when driving into the carwash
• Deactivates these settings automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 20 km/h.
Even better ride comfort and agility plus new functions such as recovery mode are provided by the optional E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which is combined with the newly developed AIRMATIC air suspension. This is currently the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat. Together with ROAD SURFACE SCAN and the curve inclination function CURVE, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL makes an exceptional level of comfort possible, and supports the claim of Mercedes-Benz to build the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension. E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL operates with a voltage of 48 V, and is available as an optional extra. On poor road surfaces the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared with the preceding system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body, e.g. during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads. The off-road functions include recovery mode: if the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, for example, this can help to free the vehicle more easily in many such situations. If possible the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tyres and therefore improves traction – the GLS rocks itself free. Individual wheel actuation is another function for off-road driving. This allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the vehicle’s alignment on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted, for instance. This also helps to increase traction and the torque at the wheel. E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL in the GLS also has the curve inclination function CURVE: like a motorcycle, the GLS leans into bends and thereby allows cornering in three stages with practically no centrifugal force. If the GLS is equipped with a stereo multi-purpose camera, ROAD SURFACE SCAN becomes possible: the camera continuously scans the road surface, while the suspension responds in advance to any undulations before the vehicle drives over them and largely compensates for them. In this way, the GLS improves the perceived road quality.