Supremely Comfortable. Three-row luxury SUVs have gained a lot of traction over the years, as consumers look for opulent vehicles for the entire family. Despite the increasing number of options in the class, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class continues to shine as one of the more comfortable choices in the segment. The GLS is basically an oversized S-Class, but with seating for up to seven, a larger body, and some extra ground clearance.
Just like Mercedes’ iconic sedan, the GLS boasts a lush cabin with gorgeous materials and a modern design. The large seats provide passengers with a generous amount of support, offer a large number of adjustments, and can be fitted with high-end convenience features for added comfort. The GLS’ interior is a nice place to be stuck in a traffic jam, while features like massaging seats, acoustic windows, five-zone automatic climate control, and an air purification system may have you wishing for more traffic so you can get a little more time in the SUV.
Interior space, as one would expect for an SUV that’s as big as the GLS, is excellent. The first two rows of seats are downright spacious for passengers, especially when the SUV is outfitted with the available second-row captain’s chairs. Space in the third row, while it isn’t as large as the first two rows, is still adult-friendly with 34.6 inches of legroom. Regardless of where you’re sitting, the GLS is as comfortable as a first-class seat in a jumbo jet.
For an even more opulent experience, there’s the Maybach GLS 600. While it costs as much as a modest house, it comes with power-reclining rear seats, a separate air conditioning system for the rear, soft-close doors, and power sunshades. The range-topping SUV can be fitted with things like folding tables, a refrigerator box for the rear cabin, and handcrafted silver champagne flute holders.
Technological Powerhouse. Every GLS trim comes with two 12.3-inch displays that dominate the dashboard. Not only do the screens give the GLS a modern design, but they also highlight just how advanced the large SUV is. One 12.3-inch display acts as a touchscreen, while the second one is a digital instrument cluster. The displays are part of the automaker’s MBUX infotainment system that has a dizzying amount of features and functionality. The system has a “Hey, Mercedes” function that lets passengers control some of the vehicle’s functions through the advanced voice command system.
In addition to the advanced screens, the GLS also comes with a Burmester audio system, a two-way in-car communication system, and natural language understanding as standard. Available tech features for the GLS include a 9.5-inch head-up display, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and an interior assistant with gesture control.
Mercedes offers the GLS with a lengthy list of standard safety features, with optional features including adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, front and rear cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, evasive steering assist, and Pre-Safe Plus to prepare the vehicle for an impending collision.
Powertrains For Everyone. In a confusing move, Mercedes took the GLS SUV’s V8 engines off the table in August 2021. Now, they’re reportedly back. Mercedes isn’t providing a lot of information on the situation, so we don’t know if shoppers will be able to spec their GLS with a V8 or not. Since the latest reports indicate that the V8 engines are back, we’ll cover all of the SUV’s engines.
The GLS starts off with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that has a mild-hybrid setup. With 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, the standard engine in the GLS 450 feels peppy enough for the majority of people, while being silky smooth. For peppier acceleration, the GLS 580 brings a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine with a mild-hybrid setup that brings 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.
For sports car performance, there’s the AMG GLS 63. It features a more powerful version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 to produce 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. The engine provides the large SUV with blistering acceleration. Unfortunately, the updated suspension and massive wheels bring a firm ride that spoils the purpose of the SUV.
The range-topping Maybach GLS 600 comes with the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 as lower trims, but in this state, it’s been tuned to 550 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. The engine feels plenty peppy for a full-size barge and delivers an ultra-luxurious driving experience.
Sedate Design. For a vehicle with this much performance, luxury, and technology, one would expect the GLS to have a high-end design to match. The exterior design of the SUV doesn’t translate any of its strengths like its rivals do. Take one look at the Cadillac Escalade and you get the idea. With broader lines and massive quad exhaust outlets, the AMG model brings some aggressive touches to the SUV. With extra chrome, unique touches, and elegant colors, the Maybach GLS 600 has the opulent design we’re looking for.
The GLS’ design won’t grab anyone's attention on the road, but the SUV’s price tag will certainly raise some eyebrows. The SUV starts below $77,000 but can top out at over $161,000. Along the way, Mercedes offers some insanely expensive packages that can raise the price of the SUV to eye-water levels.
Final Thoughts. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS combines luxury, comfort, and technology in a way that few others in the class can. The SUV spoils its seven passengers in opulence and a ride that borders on being sublime. With the V8 engines coming back, the GLS offers a level of performance for everyone. As with other products with a Mercedes badge, the GLS is incredibly expensive.
The BMW X7 is the GLS SUV’s most obvious competitor with a comfortable ride, a bold design, similarly powerful engines, and high-tech features. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is massive, has a cavernous interior, dazzling features, and a serene ride.
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