Full sized SUVs were thought to be on the wane and on their way out of the market. Probably, with the mass intake of crossovers, many thought that the full sized SUV segment would completely crumble. However, at the dealers this perception has been proven false as the full-sized SUVs’ sales having being doing well, and even growing in some markets. Simply, the classic SUVs as we know them aren’t done just yet. Now a SUV that seems to be at the top of this segment is the Mercedes GLS, which quite clearly reminds why this category is not yet done and dusted. The GLS is a three-row SUV that seats seven. This is Mercedes flagship SUV, and it is placed above the M-Class/GLE-Class in its lineup.
What’s in a Name?
In its launch it was known as the GL-Class. It later changed its name to the current GLS in its second generation’s facelift. Basically, the GL is designated for Mercedes SUVs and crossovers, while the S is simply the SUV equivalent of S-Class.
Released as the GL-Class, the GLS made its debut in the 2006 North American International Auto Show. It came out at the same time the Audi A7 was being unveiled. The two became the first three-row, 7-seater SUVs from German automakers.
Currently, the GLS is in its second generation (X166) and it went on sale on September 2012 in America. Later, it won the 2013 Motor Trend SUV of the Year award. It’s bigger yet leaner, it has done this by trimming its weight by 100 kg while having a bigger size than its predecessor.
The Mercedes Benz GLS is available in a number of trims:
- GLS 350d
- GLS500 (GLS550 for American market)
- AMG GLS63
Powering the GLS is a pair of V6 and V8 engines. All the engines run on petrol except for the 3L V6 turbo diesel which belongs to the GLS 350d. This engine is able to conjure up less power than its petrol equivalent at 255 hp, however it does produce more torque than its petrol counterpart at 455 lb-ft. As for the most powerful performance it belongs to the AMG GLS63 which uses a bespoke 5.5L AMG V8 biturbo engine. For transmission all the engines utilize a 7-speed auto, with a special custom version for the AMG variant.
GLS has heated front seats, a reclining second row and a power-folding third row. Also, the third row has adult-sized comfort. To truly make the interior special you can acquire options like massaging front seats and a Panaroma roof.
The beauty of the GLs is that it doesn’t resemble the commonly overused boxy shape that other SUVs have. Taking nothing from Land Rover but most of their models look like boxes. Maybe if I may be a little cynical the GLS is the flavor of the week, considering it entered this segment rather recently. However, I really like its streamlined nature that makes its front fascia quite a delight to look at.
There are many around the world that believe that the S-Class sedan is the best car in the world. Taking a closer look, you can’t argue with them. This sedan has been coursing the future for saloon cars for decades. Now taking a look at its big brother the GLS, you’ve got to give Mercedes their props. This is a car that has crafted its own unique identity as a SUV. There simply isn’t a SUV that has as much breathtaking features, grace and style like the GLS. I’ll even go a step forward and say that this is the pinnacle of full-sized SUVs.
If you are interested in buying a Mercedes GLS, you should start budgeting from $ 67,050.
Would you agree that the GLS is simply a class leader in its segment or is it just a top tier SUV? Have your say, leave a comment.
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