The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is a full-size luxury SUV with three rows of seating. There are two primary versions, the GLS 450 with a turbocharged inline-6 engine, or the GLS 580 with a twin-turbo V8. Two rarer models debut this year: the high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 and the ultra-exclusive, 2-row Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600. The
GLS 450 4Matic SUV ($76,900, plus destination fee) has an adaptive air suspension, 20-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, remote start, intelligent LED headlights with ultra-wide high beams, LED daytime running lights and taillights,
forward collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with exit warning, a self-parking feature for parallel and perpendicular spaces, front/rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system, a trailer stability feature, a powered tilt/slide sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, self-dimming rearview and driver’s-side mirrors, heated/ventilated power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, a 12.3-in digital driver information display, simulated leather upholstery, a Nappa leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, quad-zone climate control, power-folding third-row seats with 50/50 split, a power-adjustable steering column, a powered tailgate, a 115-volt outlet, multi-colored ambient LED cabin lighting, a 12.3-in infotainment touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth phone/audio, nine USB-C ports,
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, wireless charging up front, satellite/HD radio, a 13-speaker/590-watt Burmester surround-sound system, and a 2-way in-car communication system. The
GLS 580 4Matic SUV ($98,850) brings illuminated running boards, 21-in AMG-design alloy wheels, AMG cosmetic additions, soft-closing doors, automatic high beams, a gesture-controlled tailgate, heated/ventilated/multi-contour/massaging front seats, leather upholstery, and 5-zone automatic climate control. Many of the GLS 580’s standard features are available for the GLS 450 as options, such as the massaging/multi-contour front seats, soft-closing doors, leather upholstery, and larger alloy wheels. The GLS 580 can be had with massive 23-in wheels. Both models can be fitted with E-Active Body Control, powered by the 48-volt system. It reads the road ahead and adjusts settings to suit it, adopts a more composed attitude around corners and can even rock the vehicle out of a sand trap. At over $6,000 it’s expensive, but it’s a remarkable piece of equipment. The new
Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 ($132,100) starts with the goods of the GLS 580 and packs on a hand-crafted 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine tuned to make 603 horsepower and a host of performance upgrades that touch the brakes, exhaust, suspension, transmission and more. All three of these models can be configured with seating for six instead of the usual seven. A Driver Assistance Package Plus brings partial self-driving through adaptive cruise control with stop/go and active lane-keeping. It also includes evasive steering assistance, active blind-spot monitoring, automatic cross-traffic braking, and route-based speed adaptation. Other options include a heated steering wheel along with heated armrests in rows one and two, a cabin air-purification system, a leather-covered dashboard, heated/ventilated/massaging/multi-contour second-row seats, second-row side airbags, second-row wireless charging, Wi-Fi, navigation with augmented video, a head-up display, a rear-seat entertainment system and an even more powerful Burmester audio array that includes ceiling-mounted speakers for a fully immersive sound. Luggage space behind the third seating row is 17.4 cu ft. With the second and third rows folded down, maximum cargo space is 84.7 cu ft. The 2021 GLS can tow up to 7,700 pounds. For the rarified few who can afford it, debuting this year is the
Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 ($160,500). This GLS model will have two rows and seating for five or, even more exclusively, four. The latter setup features dual rear seats that are heated/ventilated, can recline and massage. Also included is the E-Motion body control, exclusive grille design, 22- or 23-in wheels, retracting running boards, rear-seat tablet-based infotainment system and opulent features inside and out. The Maybach even boasts its own scent. It is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that, while optimized for comfort, still packs a lot of power with 550 horses.
City MPG / Hwy MPG
GLS GLS 450 4MATIC SUV
$77850 / $73568
6 Cylinder Turbo
18 / 24
9-Speed Shiftable Automatic
Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 a Safe Car?
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS includes a host of standard safety systems that can do everything from automatically apply the brakes and monitor for driver drowsiness to warn of other vehicles in your blind spot. Yet more safety and driver-assist systems are optional, including adaptive cruise control and a system that detects if your hands have been off the steering wheel for a prolonged time. This new-gen Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class hasn’t been crash-tested yet by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That isn’t unusual, since many luxury vehicles are never put through these processes but often come with innovative safety features.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 vs the competition
2020 BMW X7 – The
X7 is now the biggest SUV made by
BMW and is similar to the GLS. There isn’t quite as much third-row space, though.
2021 Cadillac Escalade — All-new for 2021, the Escalade packs impressive technology, a much roomier interior, and its own sense of grandiose style.
2020 Lincoln Navigator — The
Navigator is massive, even for a full-size SUV. It’s totally worth considering, which says a lot about how far
Lincoln has come in the last few years.
Used Mercedes-Benz GLS – GLS models from 2019 or before are the prior generation, but even that model wasn’t exactly a pauper. You’ll still get a wonderful full-size SUV, and save tens of thousands of dollars in the process.
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