2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS Grand Edition – High-Luxe for a High Price
Could “Grand Edition” Features Suggest a New GLS on the Way?
Mercedes-Benz will debut a new GLS-Class variant in Detroit next week, alongside the all-new G-Class. The 2018 GLS Grand Edition will bring exclusive interior trims and luxury features to Mercedes’ three-row SUV, but if previous Grand Edition vehicles are any indication, it could also suggest that 2018 will be the final model year for the current GLS.
If that’s the case, the GLS will be going out on a high note, as the Grand Edition comes with just about everything included. Available in GLS450 and GLS550 variants, the Grand gets designo Nappa leather seating with diamond-pattern quilting and something called “Budapest-design” piping. A Nappa leather dashboard adds richness, as does interior trim finished in open-pore brown ash with light stripes.
Outside, the GLS450 gets standard 20-inch wheels, while the GLS550 gets 21-inchers. Both models feature LED front lighting, presumably with curve illumination and automatic high beams. Both get “Grand Edition” badging, a subtle reminder to everyone else that you’re driving the best GLS that Mercedes-Benz has to offer. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but don’t expect it to cost one red cent less than a similarly equipped GLS450, which starts at about $78,000.
We suspect the Grand Edition might be the last hurrah for the current-generation GLS-Class, codenamed X166. In the past, Mercedes-Benz has trotted out European-market Grand Editions of vehicles it replaced the next model year, including on the 2011 GL-Class (the GLS’ predecessor). Does the 2018 GLS Grand Edition presage a new model coming next year? Hard to say, especially since the G-Class will be all new for 2019, and we’d assume Benz would want to focus all of its attention on that SUV.
On the other hand, not everyone is in the market for a six-figure, ultra-capable luxury SUV, and some customers like the third-row seat and on-road comfort that the GLS-Class offers. If the G-Class gets curious folks to visit their local Mercedes dealer, maybe a new-for-2019 GLS can convince them to go for a test drive and sign on the dotted line.