Mercedes-Benz GLS, (X 166), FL 2015

Following a recent brochure leak, Mercedes-Benz has finally revealed its refreshed seven-seater SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Essentially a renamed GL-Class, the new SUV takes its place in the range as the largest of its kind, or as the Stuttgart outfit calls it, the “S-Class among SUVs.”

On the agenda for this facelift is an updated look, more power and more equipment than the previous GL. For starters, the front end of the Mercedes-Benz GLS has been treated to a new headlamp design, a bolder double-bar radiator grille with a super-sized central Three-Pointed Star, and a reworked bumper.

The changes around the rear are even more subtle, with only a new taillight design and a few revised chrome bits to note. The rear bumper has also been tweaked, along with its integrated exhaust tips.

Mercedes-Benz GLS, (X 166), FL 2015

The interior of the car is largely similar to what we’ve seen available on the E-Class-based GLE SUV. The dash gets the same treatment of a larger eight-inch free-standing infotainment screen, while the instrument panel has also been updated with a colour Media Display feature which brings to it better graphics. The buttons on the dash have been redesigned, now flattened to appear more stylish.

The new three-spoke, multifunction steering wheel seen in most new Mercedes-Benz models is also present, and so too is the new palm rest cum touchpad controller on the centre console. Trim elements can be had in black piano lacquer, or a variety of woods, while customers can also choose from five different interior colour concepts available in genuine leather — black, ginger beige/espresso brown, saddle brown/black, crystal grey/black or ginger beige/black.

The SUV is also available with an AMG Line interior package, which brings sports seats in Exclusive nappa leather. There’s also a three-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel in a black Exclusive nappa leather finish, upgraded instrument dials in a checkered flag look and brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs.

All new variants of the GLS will drop their seven-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission for a new nine-speed 9G-Tronic torque converter automatic as standard (except for the GLS 63, which we’ll get to below). The GLS 350d is first up to get this, itself carrying forward its 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel engine, delivering 255 hp (15 hp more) and 620 Nm of torque.

Switching over to petrol power, the GLS 400 is up next, with a 328 hp/480 Nm 3.0 litre V6 biturbo engine. Mercedes-Benz claims that the variant is good for a fuel consumption rate of 8.9 litres/100 km, based on the NEDC test cycle. Level up from there, and you’ll arrive at the GLS 500, which also continues its use of the 4.7 litre biturbo V8, delivering a massive 449 hp (20 hp more than before) and 700 Nm of torque.

If that’s still not enough for you, there’s always the GLS 63, fitted with a 5.5 litre biturbo V8, delivering 577 hp and 760 Nm of torque — the SUV maintains its AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic automatic transmission. The hottest variation of the GLS is also fitted with all the right AMG-specific fitments, including a signature A-wing front bumper with larger air intakes, quad exhaust tips, and larger multispoke wheels.

Mercedes-Benz GLS

Of course, it’s not all about power and no control. Several new driving modes have been made available to complement the GLS’ versatility — Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Individual and a new Off-road mode. Specific for the GLS 63 is a Sport+ mode, of which we imagine requires very little explanation.

All but the GLS 63 variant can opt to have the Off-road Engineering Package, which brings to the SUV a further Off-road+ driving mode, and a new low range gearbox and centre diff lock. The optional pack also gives the GLS the ability increase its ground clearance on the fly by up to 306 mm, allowing for a water wading depth of 600 mm.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS’ standard-included Airmatic air suspension has also been tweaked, receiving an upgrade to the damping system for better driving dynamics — essentially, Sport mode induces a more aggressive suspension, while Comfort mode improves ride quality even further. There’s also the option of an Active Curve System, which uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles to reduce body roll under hard cornering.


GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz GLS AMG Line

GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG GLS 63