2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Review
Pros & Cons
- Third row is large enough for adults
- Spirited acceleration with any of the three gasoline engines
- Quiet cabin with high-end trimmings and features
- Big price jump from the six-cylinder models to the V8-powered versions.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Compared to the GL-Class, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class benefits from suspension refinements that provide a more controlled, confident feel in corners. Nonetheless, it retains the quiet interior and absorbent ride over bumps for which the GL was known. Braking performance was a strong suit for the GL, and we expect it to remain one for the GLS, which stops with the drama-free ease of a much smaller vehicle.
Compared to other large three-row crossover SUVs, the 2017 GLS-Class is a joy to drive.
The three engines pour on the performance in increasingly concentrated doses. The GLS 450 is a fleet SUV in its own right, but the V8-powered models practically redefine what's possible for a large crossover with their effortless acceleration.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class will look pretty familiar inside if you've spent time in the latest GL. There's a smattering of updates, however, including a redesigned instrument panel and a new three-spoke steering wheel. Most notably, the infotainment system gets an improved 8-inch display screen (an inch larger than last year) and a touchpad that works in tandem with the default console-mounted control knob. This system continues to be one of our favorites due to its user-friendly menu structure and quick responses.
The dashboard of the GLS-class is a carryover from the outgoing GL-Class, and it shows in the relatively mundane styling and button layout.
Materials and design aren't quite in the S-Class league overall, particularly if you focus on the area between the climate controls and the dashboard display, where a flat plastic panel with a number of small buttons makes for a somewhat dated look. Make no mistake, though. This is an exceptionally nice interior by segment standards. The standard MB-Tex vinyl upholstery on GLS350d and GLS450 models does seem a bit low-budget for a vehicle at this price, but you'd probably be hard-pressed to tell it apart from the real leather of some other brands. Moreover, the availability of multiple wood inlays and even diamond-quilted leather upholstery make it easy to add an even higher-end look and feel.
Of course, the GLS' calling card is its roomy adult-size accommodations in all three rows. The standard front seats are agreeable enough, but the optional multicontour seats with heating, ventilation and massage functions are unquestionably the way to go if you can stomach the added cost. While the GLS 550 and AMG GLS 63 both come standard with the multicontour chairs, the latter gets an upgraded set with aggressive sport bolstering that underscores the added performance. Second-row passengers have plenty of room to stretch out, and although 6-footers will feel a bit cramped in the third row, everyone else should be just fine back there. It's one of the more accommodating third-row seats you'll find in any crossover.
When it comes to hauling cargo, the GLS-Class offers 16 cubic feet of space behind the third row, which is comparable to the trunk of your average midsize sedan. Folding those seatbacks down gets you 49.4 cubic feet behind the second row, while dropping both the second- and third-row seatbacks opens up a class-competitive 93.8 cubic feet of space.