The new Mercedes-Benz GLS: The S-Class of SUVs
The new GLS SUV is the largest and most luxurious SUV from Mercedes-Benz. It now offers more space, comfort and luxury than ever before. The new GLS boasts a confident exterior design, stemming from its impressive dimensions, which are even larger than that of its predecessor (length +77 mm, width +22 mm). A 60 mm longer wheelbase offers more interior space than ever before, which is especially noticeable in the second row. The GLS comes equipped with three fully electrically adjustable seat rows that offer ample space and comfort for all passengers. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the trunk capacity (up to 2,400 litres) with the seats in the second row folded flat. For the first time, a six-seater variant is available with two luxury individual seats in the second seat row.
A new electrified V8 engine featuring EQ Boost, a 48-volt system with an integrated starter-generator (ISG), will debut in the new GLS 580 4MATIC
E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension, available with the 48-volt EQ Boost engine offers outstanding suspension comfort, agile handling, and tremendous off-road capabilities. Like the model year 2020 GLE, the GLS features the latest generation of driving assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. The new 4MATIC system ensures greater agility on the road, and strong performance off the beaten track. The new GLS also offers impressive aerodynamics in its segment, with a Cd figure of 0.35. The GLS comes equipped with a new Carwash function, which prepares the vehicle for a carwash with the touch of a single button.
Known as the S-Class of SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers, especially in the rear seats, with the following comfort features:
- MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System: Two 11.6-inch touchscreens for movie, music and internet enjoyment
- Rear Comfort Package Plus: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats
- Electrically adjustable seats throughout the vehicle as standard
- Easy-Entry function, which makes it easy to get into and out of the third seat row, is also standard
- Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button
- Choice of either three-seater bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests for the second row seating
- Two full-sized seats in the third row (for passengers up to 1.94 m tall)
- Separate USB charging ports for the third row
- Five-zone automatic climate control
“The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like no other vehicle,” says Ola Källenius, the member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for corporate research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development.
“The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. “Powerful off-road design highlights combine with the elegance of a classic luxury sedan. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality, and digital high-tech. In our view, the new GLS offers the best of all these worlds.”
Since the introduction of the M-Class in 1997, Mercedes-Benz has been manufacturing premium SUVs in the USA – the main market for these vehicles worldwide. The full-size GL variant, which offered space for up to seven people was launched in 2006. In 2015, a facelift emphasized the luxury character of the large SUV. The second generation in 2015 also heralded the changing of the name to GLS. Similar to the S-Class sedan, the GLS is the market leader in its segment.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz offers seven models in the SUV segment: the GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS, and the G-Class. SUVs are a key pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand. To date, more than five million customers worldwide have purchased a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLS will be presented to the public for the very first time at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) from April 19th – 28th , 2019. It will arrive in Canadian dealerships in Q3 of 2019. The GLS is produced and assembled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Exterior design: Powerful presence
The design of the new GLS conveys modern luxury both on and off the road. On the exterior, its aesthetics are based on its impressive dimensions; the wheelbase is now 3135 mm, 60 mm longer than that of its predecessor.
The front section of the new GLS exudes presence and power, a design trait that is carried throughout the vehicle; from the radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation to the prominent chrome-plated front apron, and the two powerdomes featured on the hood. The vehicle’s striking appearance is emphasized by the distinctive design of the daytime and nighttime running headlights. The GLS comes equipped with MULTIBEAM LED headlights as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlight. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, with the brightness of the main headlights falling by 1 luxe after a distance of more than 650 metres. The daytime running lights with three LED bands underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
The GLS also cuts an imposing figure from the rear. Its powerful shoulder muscle extends from the rear doors to the tail lights. The two-piece tail lights are based on LED technology, and their high-calibre, three-dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are located much lower, giving the tail lights a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated underguard.
Aerodynamics: Exquisite fine-tuning
The new GLS achieves a Cd figure of .35, an impressively low figure in the large luxury SUV segment. Excellent aerodynamics help to reduce fuel consumption and limit wind noise.
The GLS’s hallmark SUV shape, with an upright front end and high ground clearance, makes the vehicle susceptible to low-frequency airflow noise. Because of this, special attention was paid to the underbody and the air flow through the engine compartment. A host of details were optimized via multiple computation loops, CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the Sindelfingen wind tunnel.
Interior design: Luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive
The interior of the new GLS combines elegant aesthetics with luxurious, exclusive trim elements. Furnished with standard leather appointments throughout, the interior of the GLS seamlessly melds the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the progressive styling of an SUV. Central to the dashboard’s design is an impressively sized screen embedded into a distinctive dashboard support. The support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element extends all the way through to the doors.
A wide raised centre console creates a dynamic contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, two grab handles are prominently featured 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. Controls with haptic and acoustic feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
A large touchscreen is an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system (MBUX) and enables comfort features to be controlled directly from the driver’s seat. The fine chiseling and pyramid-like structures of the trim surfaces underscore the desire for perfection, and the dedication to craftsmanship. The new multifunction sports steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the SUV’s impressive interior.
Interior: Spaciousness for second and third row passengers
The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (3135 mm, an increase of 60 mm). This creates more space throughout the vehicle, especially in the second row of seating. Legroom in the second row has increased by 87 mm when the seats are in their rearmost position – an update that makes it much easier to get in and out of the rear seats of the vehicle.
As standard, the second row of seating for the GLS has a 60:40 split folding rear bench seat with an adjustable 40:20:40 split backrest. There is also an optionally available ‘captain chair’ configuration, with two individual second row seats with armrests instead of a full bench.
All seats are electrically adjustable as standard. The GLS also comes equipped with the EASY-ENTRY function, making it easier to get in and out of the second and third row of seats.
The third row of seats are just as accommodating and comfortable as the first and second row. They are suitable for people who are up to 1.94 m tall. The third row of seating comes with its own USB charging ports, and its own climate control zone (if the GLS is equipped with five-zone automatic climate control).
The comfortable seating can be stowed away with the push of a button in order to make use of the 2400-litre trunk space in the GLS. The switches located on the left and right of the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. By pressing the “ALL” button, the second and third row seats can be simultaneously folded down. The carpet-trimmed backs of the backrests form part of a flat, practical load area. Another push of a button lowers the trunk sill by approximately 50 mm, making it easier to load heavy items.
Even more comfort in the rear: A tablet with MBUX
With the Premium Rear Seating Package, luxury in the new GLS is shared generously amongst all passengers. It includes a 7-inch android tablet in the second row’s centre armrest to control all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seat rows, such as access to radio, TV, media, phone and web browsers. It can also be used to manage the five-zone automatic climate control that comes with the Premium Rear Seating Package.
The centre console also offers a wireless-charging compartment for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear seat passengers benefit from luxury head restraints with additional cushions and a rear-ward extended centre console with cup holders at the ready.
For even more entertainment and convenience, the MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System is available for all seating variations. It includes two 11.6 inch touchscreens that allow passengers in the second row to enjoy movies or music, look up and input trip information, or use the integrated web browser. 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 through the system.
MBUX with interior assistant
The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system (MBUX). In comparison to the A-Class, the vehicle in which MBUX debuted, the GLS includes two larger 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens. The information on the instrument cluster and media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens.
With the optionally available MBUX interior assistant, specific infotainment functions can be operated without the need to physically touch them. The interior assistant can differentiate between driver and passenger, and can recognize certain hand positions and movements. When the interior assistant recognizes movement towards an operating element of MBUX, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. In the Radio and Media menu, the MBUX interior assistant reduces the number of operating steps. In the Navigation menu, the interior assistant will fade in the navigation as soon as it detects a hand moving to operate the touchscreen or touchpad. MBUX interior assistant can even control the reading lamp via a simple movement of the hand towards the button.
A unique feature of MBUX is its ability to learn through artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like to do next. For instance, anyone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays during their drive 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.
Powertrain: Integrated Starter-Generator and EQ Boost
Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines effortlessly deliver comfortable driving dynamics and superior power performance for the GLS.
The introduction of the GLS 580 4MATIC will mark the premiere of a new, electrified V8 gasoline engine with a 48-volt on-board electrical system and an integrated starter-generator (ISG). The GLS 580 4MATIC has an output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via the EQ Boost. The integrated starter-generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, and contributes to fuel savings previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
The ISG eliminates the need for a belt drive required for ancillary components at the front of the engine, and reduces the vehicles overall length. The slim design of the in-line engine, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for close-coupled exhaust aftertreatment. The 48 V on-board electrical system not only serves high power consumers, such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor, but also the ISG, which supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC, a six-cylinder in-line engine electrified with 48-volt technology, is only available outside of the EU. It offers 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods.
4MATIC all-wheel drive: On road agility, off-road superiority
All variants of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are equipped with the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears from one to nine allows for a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and contributes to a high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is equipped as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles.
New to the GLS, and optionally available, 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 features a reduction gear for off-road driving.
When approaching a corner, 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.
Driving assistance systems: Even better support
The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of driving assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. These systems support the driver, by further enhancing the level of active safety.
When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is activated, the new GLS is able to recognize and respond to traffic scenarios with the help of information from Live Traffic, even before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. For example, when a traffic jam is detected (and if the driver does not choose a different response) DISTRONIC will reduce the vehicle’s speed to around 100 km/h as a precaution.
When driving in traffic slowdowns, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, a feature of the Driving Assistance Package, ensures the vehicle is kept within the lane and a safe distance from the vehicles in front of it.
AIRMATIC air suspension
As an option, the GLS can be equipped with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus. 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 since the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. The air suspension also keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
Carwash function: Ready for cleaning
New to the GLS is the standard Carwash function feature. 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 ad 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 turned 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
Intelligent suspension: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL
The new GLS achieves an even higher level of ride comfort and agility with the optional E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension. Currently the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL 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 Mercedes-Benz’s mission to build the world’s most intelligent SUV suspension.
On poor road surfaces the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL system is able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared to the previous version of the system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body, such as during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.
The off-road functions include rocking mode. With this function, if the GLS is bogged down in a sand dune or any similar situation, this function can help to free the vehicle. If possible, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improves traction. The GLS effectively rocks itself free. Individual wheel actuation is another new 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 traction on rough terrain, for example when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted.
E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL in the GLS also features the curve inclination function CURVE. This feature allows the GLS to lean into bends, like a motorcycle, which allows cornering in three stages with practically no centrifugal force. ROAD SURFACE SCAN continuously scans the road surface and the suspension responds in advance to any undulations before the vehicle drives over them.
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Further information from Mercedes-Benz is available at media.mercedes-benz.ca.