2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS (nee GL) Receives Corporate Facelift
Range-Topping Family SUV Available as AMG, Diesel, Could Spawn Maybach
The range-topping Mercedes-Benz crossover SUV is getting a nip/tuck and a name change for the 2017 model year. What was formerly known as the GL-Class will now be called the GLS-Class, but it should still look familiar to devotees of the brand. The name change is motivated by MB’s desire to market the vehicle as “the S-Class of SUVs.”
Eagle-eyed consumers will notice the GLS’ new face, which takes more than a few cues from Mercedes-Benz’s other crossovers, the GLA, GLC, and GLE. A pair of headlights fit more closely into the grille’s contours, and a sculpted hood revives the twin power bulges seen on the first-generation GL-Class. Moving around the vehicle, a slightly updated tailgate and new LED taillamps give the GL-Class a freshened appearance, but the difference between the GL and GLS is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Inside, the GLS is a little more distinctive. A new dashboard and door panels greet passengers, with updated technology features appearing in the form of the floating touchscreen panel Mercedes is keen on spreading throughout its model line. The new look is very handsome, and we’re sure three-row shoppers will love it.
As with the GL before it, the GLS will be available in four model lines. The base GLS350d 4MATIC is equipped with a 3.0L turbodiesel V-6 making 255 hp and 455 lb-ft, while the gasoline lineup starts with a 362hp, 369–lb-ft 3.0L twin-turbocharged V-6 appearing in the GLS450 4MATIC. A 4.7L twin-turbo V-8 powers the GLS550 4MATIC, giving it 449 hp and 516 lb-ft. All of the aforementioned powertrains will come paired to a 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission, which is new for the model lineup. It should increase efficiency by a fair amount.
Those less interested in efficiency will want to consider the GLS63, branded not as a Mercedes-Benz but a Mercedes-AMG. That SUV will come with a fire-breathing 5.5L AMG V-8, twin-turbocharged for your pleasure. Making 577 hp and 561 lb-ft, the motor is paired to an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, routing power to all four wheels, natch.
Mercedes-Benz’s fixation on safety is in full swing in the GLS, as it comes standard with Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Pre-Safe collision mitigation, Crosswind Assist, and Attention Assist. Optional extras include Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control, which also includes Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with Pedestrian Detection, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist. Also optional is the Off-Road Engineering package, which should turn the soft-roader into a respectable bruiser. Benz’s off-road efforts paid off with the smaller, less powerful GLC-Class crossover, so we’d expect no less of the GLS.
Available to order in December, the first 2017 GLS-Class SUVs will make their way into U.S. consumers’ hands in March 2016. Pricing and efficiency numbers are still being finalized, but we’re confident both will be higher than their 2016 counterparts. Nevertheless, as much as we like the current GL-Class, the GLS should be an improvement in every respect over its predecessor.