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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: First Look

  • Luxurious and spacious.
  • Revolutionary drivetrains.
  • Revolutionary suspension.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class represents an all-new generation for this full-size luxury SUV. The GLS has always been that relatively rare thing, an SUV that can accommodate seven adults comfortably. Now it offers even more comfort in the form of an optional pair of captain’s chairs for the second row, taking the occupant count down to six.

The new GLS recently unveiled at the New York Auto Show has a wheelbase that’s 2.4 inches longer than the outgoing generation, bringing benefits in passenger space. Second-row legroom stretches by 3.4 inches and Mercedes-Benz claims that the third row is suitable for people as tall as six feet five inches. But all this space is only one aspect of a truly impressive vehicle.

What’s so Impressive?

Let’s start right at the front with the standard multi-beam LED headlamps that contain 112 light-emitting diodes per unit. The coefficient of drag is reduced from the previous model’s 0.35 to 0.32 for greater aerodynamic efficiency. The range of alloy wheel sizes goes from 19 to 23 inches.

Inside, the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) features a high-tech dashboard housing two 12.3-in screens: one for driver information, the other for infotainment. A voice-controlled digital assistant and gesture control are also available. The cabin has no less than nine USB ports.

All seats are power-adjustable and heated, with power-folding second and third rows. Automatic climate control is offered in two, three or five zones. The new GLS also offers an Executive Rear Seat Package that contains a tablet for controlling various functions, and the plusher Executive Rear Seat Package Plus brings massaging seats.

In the trunk area, the load floor can be lowered electronically by approximately two inches. And with the touch of a button, a Carwash function prepares the GLS for entry into, you guessed it, a car wash.

These are just some of the remarkable features available in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. For even more, look under the hood.

What’s Under the Hood?

Mercedes-Benz has a whole new drivetrain that has already been fitted to the new-generation CLS 53 and AMG E 53 variants. It consists of a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine in an inline-six configuration (as opposed to a V6 that the company has been using for years). This is enhanced by an electric motor running off a 48-volt system (most automotive electrics are 12-volt setups). It’s not a hybrid exactly, but it does contribute to fuel economy and a more efficient delivery of power.

This setup, complete with a 9-speed automatic transmission and variable all-wheel drive (called 4Matic) as standard, is in the 362-horsepower 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic, the "entry level" model.

An inline six with the electric motor makes good sense from a packaging point of view. But with the 2020 GLS 580, an all-new variant, Mercedes-Benz has taken things further. The engine in this model is a 483-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, also augmented by an electric motor.

One major advantage to this 48-volt system is that it can power an optional adaptive suspension called E-Active Body Control. Each shock absorber is controlled individually. The new GLS can scan the road ahead and adjust settings to suit, providing levels of ride quality and cornering abilities that were not possible before now. It can also raise the ride height for off-roading adventures.

When Will It Go on Sale and How Much Will It Cost?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is due at dealerships toward the end of 2019. It’s too early yet for official pricing to be announced. For a ballpark figure, the 2019 GLS 450 4Matic starts in the region of $72,000. Find a Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class for sale

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More about Colin Ryan

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