With three spacious rows of seats, the 2023 GLS-Class is an SUV that can allow the whole family to enjoy Mercedes level suite while rewarding its driver with amazing agility. The entry-level engine is a 362-hp turbo inline-six that’s awfully smooth and very powerful, but if you want more, the GLS580 swaps the six for a twin-turbo V-8 with 483 ponies. Of course, fuel economy drops significantly with a larger engine. All models are equipped with four-wheel drive and adjustable air suspension. The ride is smooth when you want it to be, but setting the drive mode selector to Sport provides tight body control that rivals such as Land Rover Range Rover and Lincoln navigator. Mercedes has dropped a ton of tech features into the GLS’s cabin, including a massive dual-display dashboard that digitizes just about everything from the SUV’s instruments to the infotainment system. Despite its almost over-reliance on screens, the GLS’s controls are fairly easy to use while driving, which we think most buyers will appreciate.

What’s new in 2023?

In 2023, the GLS-class received two minor changes. The GLS450 now comes with metallic paint and all models now come with a panoramic sunroof as a standard feature.

Pricing and which one to buy

The Executive Rear Seat Plus package transforms the second row into a Sybarite area with massaging seats, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a tablet controller for the GLS infotainment system and plusher headrests. It also improves safety with side impact airbags. To order this package, you have to shell out for leather upholstery, which surprisingly isn’t standard.

Engine, transmission and performance

Two models are offered — six-cylinder GLS450 and eight-cylinder GLS580— and both have some hybridization. The GLS450’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six is ​​as smooth as polished granite and makes 362 horsepower. The GLS580 is much more powerful, with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 making 483 horsepower. At our test track, the GLS450 managed a brisk 5.5-second sprint to 60 mph and stopped from 70 mph in a short 154 feet. Despite its dimensions, the GLS-Class is easy to carry on a twisty road, but not too sporty. All models come with air suspension as standard, but Mercedes also offers a trick-or-treat system by the name E-Active Body Control. It uses a front-facing camera to look for bumps and adjusts the suspension accordingly so that riders are less sensitive to road imperfections. It’s cool technology, but it’s expensive, and we think most buyers will find that the stock setup gets the job done.

Fuel economy and real mpg

EPA fuel economy estimates for the GLS-Class aren’t great. The GLS450 earns 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The GLS580 fares worse at 16 mpg, 21 mpg and 18 mpg respectively. In our real-world testing, the GLS450 performed slightly better than its rating, returning 24 mpg during our 75 mph highway test. In the same test, the GLS580 returned an abysmal 18 mpg. If fuel economy is a priority for you, then BMW X7 will be the best choice in the luxury SUV department. The six-cylinder X7 xDrive40i returned an impressive 28 mpg in our highway test, while the eight-cylinder xDrive50i returned 24 mpg. For more information on the fuel economy of the GLS, visit EPA website.

Interior, comfort and cargo

Borrowing the dashboard and cabin from the equally new GLE-class SUV, this generation of the GLS is much more modern than what it replaced. It holds up to seven passengers, but can be configured for six with additional captain’s chairs. Passenger space in the first and second rows is plentiful, and the third row, while not as spacious as the second, can fit an adult without much complaint – which is not the same for the way back in X7.

Infotainment system and communication

Two huge 12.3-inch digital displays take up most of the dashboard. One serves as a reconfigurable sensor display for the driver, while the other handles infotainment and runs Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX software, which features an iPhone-like virtual assistant. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, built-in navigation and an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard. All GLS models come with a 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound stereo system, but if that’s not enough for you, there’s an available Burmester 3D audio system with an insane 26-speaker arrangement.

Safety features and driver assistance

Mercedes-Benz offers several different types driver assistance functions on this SUV, but the highlights, like the semi-autonomous driving mode, cost extra. For more information on GLS-class crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute of Road Safety (IIHS) websites. Key security features include:

  • Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • A lane departure warning system with lane assist is available
  • Adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode is available

Warranty and maintenance

GLS buyers get a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty as standard, which is far from the best in the class. The Cadillac Escalade offers two more years of transmission coverage, and Lincoln navigator comes with four years of free scheduled maintenance when you choose the luxury Black Label model.

  • The limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • The transmission is covered by a four-year or 50,000-mile warranty
  • No free scheduled maintenance

Technical characteristics

Technical characteristics

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS450

front engine, four-wheel drive, 6-seater, 4-door station wagon

$96,835 (base price: $76,195)

3.0L DOHC Turbocharged Intercooled Inline Engine, 3.0L, 362hp, 369lb-ft + AC Motor, 21hp, 184lb-ft (362hp combined system) w., 369 lb-ft; 0.9 kWh lithium-ion battery )

9-speed automatic

Suspension (F/R): wishbones/multi-link
Brakes (front/right): 14.8-inch cross-punched ventilated disc/13.6-inch ventilated disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4 PNCS, F: 275/45R-21 107Y MO-S R: 315/40R-21 111Y MO-S

Wheelbase: 123.4 inches
Length: 205.0 inches
Width: 77.0 inches
Height: 71.8 inches
Cargo capacity: 17 cubic feet
Curb weight: 5,594 lbs

Deployment, 1 foot: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 5.5 sec
100 mph: 14.4 sec
120 mph: 22.6 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec
¼ mile: 14.1 seconds at 99 mph
Top speed (limited by governor): 129 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 154 feet
Road resistance, 300 feet in diameter: 0.92 g

Observed: 17 mpg
Highway driving at 75 mph: 24 mpg
Highway distance: 570 miles

Combined/city/highway: 21/19/23 mpg

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 4Matic

front engine, four-wheel drive, 7-seater, 4-door station wagon

$126,785 (base price: $98,795)

32-valve DOHC twin-turbo intercooled V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Water displacement
243 inches33982 cm3
483 hp. at 5500 rpm
516 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm

9-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 123.4 inches
Length: 205.2 inches
Width: 79.9 inches
Height: 71.8 inches
Curb weight: 5,973 lbs

Deployment, 1 foot: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 4.7 sec
100 mph: 11.7 sec
130 mph: 21.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.1 sec
¼ mile: 13.3 seconds at 106 mph
Top speed (limited by governor): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 166 feet
Road resistance, 300 feet in diameter: 0.90 g

Observed: 13 mpg
Highway driving at 75 mph: 18 mpg

Combined/City/Highway: 18/16/21 mpg


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