The X167 Mercedes-Benz GLS is making its launch debut in Malaysia today, with customers being offered a sole GLS 450 4Matic AMG Line variant. The “S-Class of SUVs” was first revealed back in April last year to fend off the G07 BMW X7 and Lexus LX 570, and will be priced from RM899,888 on-the-road without insurance, with a four-year/unlimited-mileage warranty.

According to Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, that sum is inclusive of the government’s 10% sales tax because deliveries of GLS here is only expected to start in 2021. As a refresher, the current sales tax relief on cars is only effective from June 15 until December 31, 2020.

With that out of the way, let’s talk specifications. In GLS 450 guise, the SUV is powered by a M256 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six that makes 367 PS (362 hp) from 5,500 to 6,100 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm.

The mill is augmented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system consisting of a starter-alternator, which provides a further 22 PS (21 hp) and 250 Nm over short periods via an EQ Boost function. Drive is sent to all four wheels via a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission and the carmaker’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

In terms of performance, the GLS 450 takes 6.2 seconds to get from a rest to 100 km/h and will hit a top speed of 246 km/h. The combined fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are rated as low as nine l/100 km (11.1 km/l) and 206 g/km respectively. Other driving-related items include an Airmatic air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus (ADS Plus), and 22-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels.

Design-wise, the latest GLS draws similarities to the smaller GLE, with an upright, octagonal-shaped grille at the front, flanked by a set of Multibeam LED headlamps that contain 112 diodes within each cluster. Along the sides, the squared-off wheel arches meet with softer surfacing than before, while the two-piece taillights at the rear feature graphics that are reminiscent of the GLE.

New dimensions accompany the revised shape, as the GLE now measures a whopping 5,207 mm long and 1,956 mm wide, making it 77 mm longer and 22 mm wider compared to its predecessor. Most of the added length goes to the wheelbase, which is now 60 mm longer than before at 3,135 mm – the height stays unchanged at 1,850 mm.

For our market, the GLS 450 comes with the AMG Line exterior package, so you get a sportier front bumper with slatted side “inlets” and a more subdued underguard, while the rear apron gets a more expansive chrome trim that encompasses the exhaust finishers. Other attachments include aluminium-look running boards with rubber studs and a powered panoramic sunroof.

On the inside, you’ll find dashboard that is shared with the GLE, with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system taking centre stage with its dual 12.3-inch displays. As always, accessing the system can be achieved by way of the touchscreen in the middle of the dash, the Touch Controls on the steering wheel, the touchpad on the centre console or with voice commands using the “Hey Mercedes” trigger phrase.

Available functions include a wireless charger for devices, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, your standard run of media playback options and Mercedes me connected services, the last of which is achieved via the onboard LTE communications module.

For those in the second row, there’s the MBUX rear-seat entertainment system that includes two 11.6-inch touchscreen fitted to the back of the front seats. Each screen displays the content selected by the individual user, be it movies or music, web browsing, or from their own devices. For audio, a Burmester surround sound system is standard, along with two wireless headsets for the rear-seat entertainment system.

As for the rest of the cabin, which is decked out in Exclusive trim, it comes with an ambient lighting system, powered sunblinds for the rear doors, Thermotronic four-zone climate control, a Nappa leather steering wheel, AMG floor mats, an Artico man-made leather dashboard, powered seats with memory function for those at the front, an interior chrome package and high-gloss anthracite lime wood trim.

Given the GLS is a seven-seater by design, getting in an out of the third row has been simplified thanks to the standard Easy-Entry function, so you just need to push a button to get the second row to fold and move forward for easier ingress and egress.

Additionally, should you need to put both the second- and third-row benches down for the full 2,400 litres of cargo capacity, there are dedicated controls in the boot that will do it for you electronically. These controls also allow you to lower the car by approximately 50 mm via the air suspension for a more accessible load floor when dealing with heavy items.

On the safety and assistance front, the GLS gets Mercedes-Benz’s Pre-Safe system, Keyless-Go, Easy-Pack tailgate with hands-free access, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic, a 360-degree camera, exit warning function, Magic Vision Control wipers and a tyre pressure monitoring system and driving assistant package.