A Class Of Its Own

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS India review, test drive

What is it? 

When they rebranded the former gen ‘X166’ GL-course to be known as the GLS halfway by way of its everyday living cycle, the concept was to cement its spot in the variety as the ‘S-course of SUVs’. Even so, as it was just a facelift dependent on older architecture, it was not quite up to the endeavor. Even so, with the new ‘X167’ GLS’s, there is a increased prospect of the major SUV reaching the limousine’s significant bar. That’s simply because this one particular was designed from the get-go to be more of a luxurious product and a nearer relation to its sedan counterpart. Just how does it realize that, nevertheless? Study on.

The GLS isn’t just major, it is a mountain of an SUV. It is a total 77mm for a longer period than the aged auto, 60mm of which has absent into the wheelbase, and it’s 22mm broader as nicely. At total off-road peak on its air suspension, the top rated of the bonnet traces up with my upper body. 21-inch wheels glimpse just the correct size, not comically huge as they could have a several generations ago, and their desirable five-spoke design is a marked enhancement on Merc’s generally meek wheel options. Moreover, there are the tyres – the 275-section established at the entrance are extensive, but at the rear you will discover a pair of 315/40 R21s, which are the form of quantities you’d have beforehand only browse on a Lamborghini’s tyres. It provides immensely to the road presence.

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Large 21-inch, 315-section rear tyres only include to its tank-like presence.


Its girth alone makes it easily identifiable as a GLS, but this is an entirely softer and rounder choose on the system. No more sharp creases defining the flanks, this one particular is all curves. The headlamps are a whole lot lesser, the tail-lamps slimmer – just about every with Mercedes’ new LED signature. Incidentally, all those adaptive LED headlamps are equipped with one thing known as ‘Ultra Array Superior Beam’, which we’re advised, is capable of lights up the road 650 metres in advance. Yet another Merc SUV signature is the impractical, but unbelievably blingy chrome skid plates at the entrance and rear, and there is lots more of the shiny stuff – on the tailgate, the bumpers and the window surrounds. 


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What is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS inside like? 

There are a whole lot of 7-seat SUVs on the market, but the GLS has normally been one particular of a important several in which an grownup would willingly undertaking into the 3rd row for a extended journey. The center row power folds (instead gradually) to allow you by way of, and thereafter, it’s a pretty straightforward clamber into the 3rd row. But, as the seat in entrance of me whirrs back again into spot, it commences to foul with my knees, which is uncommon, as I distinctly try to remember the former version’s 3rd row getting more spacious, with its have committed glass roof, which is now lacking. But, which is not to say you aren’t nicely catered to back again in this article, simply because you are – with committed cupholders, two of this car’s 11 USB charging ports (Kind-C, even so, so have your adapter) and even its have weather zone. The seats on their own are seriously nicely cushioned and positioned so that you are not folded up like a deck chair in storage.

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Sprint resembles a significant-conclude household leisure unit with its major screens and Burmester speakers. High-quality is tricky to fault.


The reason for this lack of place is, in its bid to be more like an S-course, the new GLS has sacrificed 3rd row house to provide even more in the center row, including 100mm of run fore-and-aft sliding, and correct now, it’s established all the way back again to total limousine mode. To accommodate 7, you will have to give up some legroom in the 2nd row, but much from the issue of getting uncomfortable. It is a compromise that makes sense, as most buyers will only hardly ever use their GLS as a seven-seater, and for most of the time, a limo-like center row for one particular passenger is what’s more important. The seat back again also reclines by thirty levels, but at total tilt, it’s not quite the lounge-like knowledge you will discover in an S-course. The seats on their own, as well, are a touch firmer than you will discover in the limo, and you do sit a minimal knees-up simply because of the way the seat foundation is reclined. 

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Seat slides by 100mm for outstanding legroom eats into 3rd row nevertheless.


Nonetheless, once you are snugly in spot, you will have minimal reason to complain. The pillows on the headrests return, and if you need to have a genuinely absurd sum of legroom, the entrance passenger seat can be sent forward from guiding. Sure, the center row is a bench so you could get a 3rd passenger in in this article, but they’ll have to place their feet astride the extended centre console concerning the entrance seats. In total limo mode, you will want to flip down the centre armrest, which reveals cupholders, a wi-fi charging pad and a detachable pill controller. You could use this as a regular Android pill, but it’s also a controller for things like the sixty four-color ambient lights, weather management, media and radio. But, as I fiddle all-around with it, I realise which is about it – it will not allow you perspective or operate the navigation, modify the seats or open the sun blinds or panoramic sunroof. You will possibly get a little bit more stuff to enjoy with if you include on the optional rear leisure screens. 

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Not as spacious as in advance of and center row demands to be moved in advance.


If you are travelling with 7 aboard, there is a prospect you will need to have spot for their luggage, and with 355 litres of house with all seats up, a weekend’s well worth of bags is no problem at all. There’s one particular button in the boot that lowers the air suspension for much easier loading, and an additional that can power-fold the 3rd and 2nd rows to liberate an incredible two,400 litres!

What machines and functions will you discover in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS?

So, the center row evidently is the emphasize of this SUV, but I’m advised the new GLS has a whole lot of love for all those sat up entrance as well, and which is in advance of you even turn a wheel. The lounge seats may possibly be in the back again, but the household leisure technique is up entrance – I stage in to be greeted by a tall, extensive dashboard with a seamless glass panel housing two significant-resolution 12.three-inch screens docked into it. These are, of class, the touchscreen infotainment technique and the instrumentation display screen, but the way it’s all place with each other seriously does glimpse like the elegant but significant-tech unit that residences the 4K flatscreen in your den. It is got the hi-fi to match, as well, with a 13-speaker Burmester audio technique, earning by itself acknowledged with its signature chrome speaker grilles peppered all-around the cabin. 

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Pano sunroof is welcome as ever, but no 3rd-row glass like the aged GLS.


All of this is wrapped with each other in what we have now occur to count on from Mercedes – high priced-feeling Artico fake leather-based, significant-gloss wood grain and interesting brushed metallic switchgear. You don’t have to have this product coloured upholstery if you think it’ll get as well soiled as well swiftly – black and coffee brown are also accessible. The four round AC vents in the centre of the dash have morphed into rectangular styles for this rugged SUV, just as in the lesser GLE. In actuality, aside from the use of polished instead than matte wood trim, the complete entrance cabin is identical to the GLE. 

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Digital instrument panel is wildly customisable Touchscreen looks remarkable and capabilities brilliantly.


The record of gadgets and gizmos is comprehensive, and it all revolves all-around MBUX – the brand’s latest infotainment technique, which is instead exceptional. The touchscreen is beautiful to behold, crisp and fluid to use, and in circumstance you don’t want to be distracted by making use of it on the shift, there is a touchpad concerning the seats and really intuitive controls on the steering wheel. It is no surprise in this working day and age that the GLS is a related auto with an onboard e-Sim, and that it has a husband or wife app that lets you keep tabs on the auto, commence and pre-interesting it, and even operate the home windows and sunroof remotely. But the connectivity goes a little bit even further, with the AI-guided voice assistant that responds to ‘Hey Mercedes’, and then taps into the cloud to deliver a much broader variety of responses and benefits than you count on. There are even interesting functions like seats that can guess your driving situation dependent on just your peak, and cabin lights that activate by using movement sensors. Soon after all this, the 360-diploma cameras, nine airbags and vehicle parking assistant come to feel a little bit everyday. But once again, all of this is accessible in the GLE as well, and maybe heated and ventilated seats – entrance and rear – would have established the GLS aside as the more deluxe one particular.

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Rear pill controller interesting but incredibly standard.


What is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS like to travel?

Contrary to the GLE, you will not discover a four-cylinder engine less than the hood of the major GLS, but the two 6-cylinder solutions are frequent to the two types. The 450 is a three.-litre straight-6 turbo-petrol which makes 367hp and 500Nm, which is paired to a 48v mild-hybrid technique that provides an additional 22hp and 250Nm of electric powered increase less than tricky acceleration, while the 400d uses a three.-litre straight-6 turbo-diesel with 330hp and 700Nm.  

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The 48V hybrid technique on the petrol GLS 450 provides 22hp and 250Nm of e-increase less than tricky acceleration.


As I prod the starter button in the 400d, the diesel engine fires up with a mild murmur and then… it’s all but absent. I have to examine the tachometer to make positive it’s essentially turning more than. The refinement is just incredible! It is the new-technology OM656 diesel engine that we have also observed in the S 350d and G 350d, but as the identify suggests, this 400d is more strong, so at the initially signal of an open road, my initially intuition is to floor it. The explosive acceleration I expected does not occur. Instead what you get is, initially a little bit of hesitation as the nine-speed computerized shifts down to the correct gear, and then a nice extended-legged surge of torque with no allow-up, and a muted straight-6 growl to boot. That’s just as nicely for this deluxe, two.five-tonne diesel behemoth. A quick look down to the speedo reveals we have quietly slipped nicely into the triple digits, and a tricky slam on the brakes tells me that maybe they can come to feel a little bit overwhelmed by all that speed and pounds put together. 

While it disguises it nicely, the tempo is all there, with -100kph coming up in a scant seven.48 seconds according to our screening gear – incredible taking into consideration the mass at operate! The twenty-80kph and 40-100kph periods of 4.75sec and six.22sec respectively are also impressive, but I come to feel they could’ve been much better continue to if the gearbox was a minimal faster to react.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS acceleration figures
GLS 450 GLS 400d
-20kph .93s 1.03s
-40kph 1.96s two.06s
-60kph three.27s three.43s
-80kph 4.90s five.17s
-100kph seven.15s seven.48s
-120kph nine.76s ten.41s
-140kph 13.35s 13.91s
-160kph seventeen.68s eighteen.27s
-180kph 23.68s 24.12s
-200kph 31.62s 32.92s
twenty-80kph (in kickdown) 4.35s 4.75s
40-100kph (in kickdown) five.33s six.22s

If the diesel model is refined, the 450 petrol is silent as a tomb. Urgent the commence button and leaving it at idle does not make a audio, and even on the shift you can hardly explain to it’s switched on, right up until you prolong it past about three,000rpm, and what you get then is a audio which is more satisfying than the one particular in the diesel. And if you thought the diesel was quick – this one’s even faster. The e-increase from the mild hybrid technique is seriously nicely calibrated, partaking and disengaging imperceptibly, masking any semblance of turbo lag and allowing for you to launch the major SUV to 100kph in just seven.15sec. There’s no interruption in the stream of power, and it will pull quite strongly right up until it’s time for the future gear. Intellect you, this model of the nine-speed vehicle can also get caught out easily by a sudden kick-down on the accelerator. You will not pass up the lack of a Sport mode in the 400d, but in this petrol model you just could. It is undoubtedly the sprightlier and more interesting powertrain of the two.

On a major motorway, the GLS excels, getting unassumingly quick, silent, relaxed and fairly secure. It does not come to feel fully tied down and the legislation of physics make me acutely aware of this car’s peak and pounds. As I turn off in direction of lesser, rural roads, cautiously plotting it by way of my initially toll booth, I’m a minimal concerned. At initially, I’m constantly aware of its size, but the straightforward steering shortly offers me the self-assurance to steer the major SUV by way of traffic. If you reside in a city like Mumbai exactly where house of any sort is at a high quality, even so, you will have to be prepared for how major the GLS is. You will need to have a even larger than average parking spot which is straightforward to travel into, not undertaking onto streets that are as well narrow, and keep an eye out for other automobiles that are all now lesser than yours. And even nevertheless U-turns don’t come to feel as well complicated thanks to the mild steering, they will demand a whole lot of house simply because of the 12.52m turning circle diameter.  

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It rides flat and legitimate on a clean freeway, but can get unsettled more than bumps.


As the monsoon’s very best potholes get even larger and sharper, all those major wheels and tyres do make on their own felt, and the auto does rock all-around quite a little bit on its comfortable air suspension. As things smoothen out and the roads enhance, so does the ride, with that generally plush feeling you get from air springs forming a giant cushion less than the auto.

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It is no surprise that this two.five-tonne, five.2m-extended SUV is not one particular for fast cornering.


Hard cornering? In these a major SUV, why trouble? As you’d count on, it rolls a whole lot and there is merely as well considerably mass to shift all-around at speed it’s considerably more pleasurable at a significantly less frantic tempo. Interestingly, like in the GLE, they’ve taken off the ‘Sport’ mode entirely, so while the suspension can be elevated for off-roading, it does not reduced or business up when you want to travel swiftly. Abroad, you do get energetic anti-roll bars as component of the e-Energetic Human body Command offer, which considerably improves things, but which is not on provide in India. The steering essentially surprises with a very good sum of opinions and pounds at speed, but it’s greatest to get pleasure from that at a slower tempo. 

Need to you acquire a 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS?

Alright so maybe the GLS isn’t quite as deluxe as an S-course limousine, but then how could it be? The easy actuality is the sheer size and practicality needs of an SUV – big mass, major wheels, tall ride peak, folding seats – make it more durable to excel as a luxurious auto. But then, and at Rs ninety nine.ninety lakh (ex-showroom), it also prices about Rs 38 lakh significantly less than the S-course. Probably then it’s greatest to contact it what it is – the flagship Mercedes-Benz SUV, as this is a job it performs to the T. It is got the glimpse and the road presence, which is fifty percent the struggle gained in this article in India, and there is a exceptional sum of place to extend out perfect for the chauffeur driven. It is equipped with a pair of powerful engines and an all-conquering, go-wherever capacity, and with correct, relaxed place for 7, your household will want to make journeys to the farmhouse each and every weekend. If you want one particular Mercedes that can do it all, the GLS is it.

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Also see:

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS video overview