The new GLS gets more power, more space and more tech than before.
The Mercedes S-Class is one of the benchmarks in the world of luxury sedans. It makes sense, then, to call the enormous three-row GLS the S-Class of SUVs. That’s exactly what Mercedes is doing with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS, which just debuted at this year’s New York Auto Show. It’s been some years in the making, as the model’s last major overhaul came in 2013.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS gets revised front and rear fascias, with new LED headlight assemblies and taillights around the back. Despite the outgoing model’s gargantuan size, the new GLS is even bigger still.
Take the wheelbase, for example. It’s 2.4 inches longer than the old GLS, which does help for interior space. It’s also 3.0 to 3.2 inches longer than the old model, depending on which version of the GLS you choose. As is the way with modern cars, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is also 0.6 inches wider, although it’s an inch shorter in height than the old one.
Inside, the new GLS gets an updated interior in line with other revamped models like the GLE. There’s a new steering wheel with touch bad control buttons, as well as Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system. The new model also has a 50 percent larger panoramic roof area, and anywhere from 19 to 23-inch wheels, depending on trim.
Unlike the old version, you can also get the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS with six-passenger seating, rather than the traditional seven. Second-row captain’s chairs are an option, while the three-row setup is still the default layout.
There are two trim levels and two available engines for the new GLS. The base GLS 450 has a similarly-sized engine to before. However, the 3.0-liter engine in this GLS is an inline-six, rather than a V6 unit. Even still, it manages 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque — exactly the same power as the old model.
The higher-end GLS 580, however, manages more with less displacement. It has a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 under the hood. Thanks to two extra cylinders, it manages 483 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Both models mate up to a 9-speed automatic transmission, and 4Matic all-wheel drive comes standard.
Another addition for 2020 includes a 48-volt mild hybrid system to the GLS. Now, both engines have the EQ Boost feature, which adds 21 horsepower and up to 184 lb-ft of torque for short bursts. There’s no word yet on how that impacts fuel economy, as the EPA has yet to publish official figures on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS.
You would expect nothing less from the GLS than for it to be crammed full of technology. And you won’t be disappointed here. Like the revamped G-Class, this new GLS has dual 12.3-inch displays up front. One is for the driver, featuring a digital instrument cluster, while the other houses the MBUX system.
The Rear Seat Executive Package adds even more to the equation, like heated second-row seats, as well as 7-inch MBUX tablets to control functions in the second row. That package is further upgradable with things like heated and ventilated massaging seats and wireless charging.
A new function for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is its “carwash function”. That allows drivers to prepare their car to go through a wash at the push of a button. It raises the car to its highest suspension setting to narrow the track so it fits inside the guide rails and expose the wheel arches. It also folds in the mirrors, rolls up the windows, switches the HVAC system to recirculating mode and deactivates the rain-sensing wipers.
Safety technology abounds in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS. You get things like Active Distance Assist, Stop-and-Go Assist, Steering Assist, Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and a host of other features.
Pricing and availability
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS competes in a tough segment. It faces off against cars like the BMW X7, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80 and Lexus LX 570.
Mercedes has not announced pricing yet, but we expect it to cost at least a little more than the 2019 model’s $70,150 starting price. It will be available later in 2019, and is built at the Tuscaloosa County, Alabama assembly plant alongside the new GLE and C-Class sedan.
Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates from the 2019 New York Auto Show!