Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450: The Brand's Flagship Three-Row Crossover

Highlight: In case of breaking weather, the GLS immediately alerts its occupants via audible and on-screen alerts of local conditions. Big brother is definitely riding along.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $77,835 (Base Model: $69,625)

Seating Capacity: 7

Standard Safety Features: all-wheel drive; airbags; a collision preventive assist system; a trailer stability assist system; an electronic brake hold feature; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a rearview camera with cross traffic assist

Standard Equipment: 19-inch wheels; a 9-speed transmission with shift paddles; a start-stop fuel savings engine system; a power sunroof; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a power tilt/telescopic Nappa leather steering wheel; power front seats with driver lumbar support and memory; heated front seats; power fold down third row seats; a variety of driving modes; standard adjustable suspension system based on road conditions; a power liftgate; power folding mirrors with the brand’s logo being projected at night; an 8-inch infotainment screen; and a remote start system via Apps

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a rear seat entertainment system; heated and cooled front cup holders; a driver assistance package, which included an active blind spot assist system, an active lane keep assist system, a collision monitoring system, and a blind spot assist system

Other Trims:

GLS 550

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an AM/FM/HD
CD with satellite

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder/362-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage:

Towing Capacity: 7,500

What’s New: Due to a name change, the second generation GL is now known as the GLS for the 2017 model year. With the new name, the GLS wears a new grille, a new exterior design and a $2,000 price bump.

Why: The new GLS is available in three trims and powertrains this model year, a 6-cylinder, an 8-cylinder and Mercedes-Benz signature high-performance AMG package. The all-new GLS is now powered by a smooth- shifting, more fuel-efficient 9-speed transmission. Besides a name change, the 7-passenger fullsize crossover is draped in a new interior and instrument panel design for the 2017 model year.

Moreover, the GLS continues to be one of the best road vehicles in its class. The luxurious ride, with its adjustable suspension system literally absorbs every bump in the road, making this vehicle a pleasure to drive. In our opinion, this crossover glides on air.

Furthermore, the easy-to-maneuver crossover also included a variety of driving modes, too. With the driver selections, one can easily navigate from comfort to sport to snow to rain mode, depending on the road condition, using the controller on the center console.

Added to that, the travel experience for both the buyer and their occupants can be enhanced by including the following options: a panoramic roof, an air infiltration system, a wood/leather heated steering wheel, active LED headlamps, an active curve control system, an 8-inch infotainment screen with an intuitive touchpad, a heated adaptive windscreen wiper system and heated and ventilated seats for the base 450 trim. Yes, these amenities can enhance the Mercedes-Benz ownership experience.

Lastly, drivers with a need to go off-road can opt for a package designed to do just that. The brand's off-road package includes a dual transfer case coupled with underbody protection.

But: Our 6-cylinder model lacked a number of features that we thought should be standard on a premium luxury vehicle. Some of the non standard features, which were options we had to pay extra, consisted of ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Conversely, we were also disappointed with the headlight system in our vehicle. We found the headlights to be quite dim at dusk. At times, it seemed as though the headlights were off. Mercedes-Benz lighting and engineering team needs to relook at this issue. We could have definitely used the optional LED Intelligent Light system. We’re not sure if this is a common issue with the GLS or an isolated case. Nevertheless, we suggest testing the vehicle’s headlights at night, before making a purchase.

And, for those attempted to slide into the rear, like with most third row seats, the legroom is severely impacted.

Lastly, it should be no surprise that with all of the bad press VW received recently surrounding diesel engines, Mercedes-Benz, like a number of automakers, have dropped their diesel engine from the lineup for 2017.

Verdict: So far, for the first third of this year, the all-new GLS sales have increased over 30 percent over the same period last year. So, while there are many three-row luxury truck-like SUVs, with a much higher towing capacity in this price point, there are only two crossovers, which offers a car-like ride, in this niche segment.  The all-new GLS seems to be going head to head with Audi’s Q7. Unlike the Audi, the Mercedes-Benz offers a rear wheel drive configuration aand an off-road package. Moreover, unlike the Q7, the GLS has the privilege of wearing the Mercedes-Benz badge.

Competition:  Audi Q7

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