Reviews

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Walk Around


The 2017 change to the face of the GLS makes it look bolder, with a wider grille with two bars that look like a biplane wing, a bigger three-point star emblem, racier air dam, two long power bulges on the hood, and more aggressively sculpted fenders.

But it still looks dated, the same upright boxy shape with vertical tailgate that’s been there for five years. At least the styling shows more class and less chrome than some luxury SUVs.

The lights (front and rear), bumpers, and alloy wheels are also redesigned for 2017. Taillamps and DRLs are now LED.

The GLS 550 has fender flares around 21-inch wheels, while the AMG GLS 63 has its own body pieces. There are exterior packages that add things like aprons, running boards, and side flaps that don’t sound very Mercedes-like to us.

Interior

The cabin of the GLS cavernous, comfortable, and almost as versatile as a minivan while being far more luxurious. The textures and trim are tops. The interior palette ranges from black leather with piano black dash to Ginger Beige and Espresso Brown. Lighter shades of leather and trim make the cabin feel more airy, as does the optional glass sunroof that’s so big it extends over the rear seat.

The instrument panel, console, steering wheel and display screen have been redesigned. The screen now rises from the dash like other Mercedes cars and SUVs. There are two large all-digital instruments behind the steering wheel, separated by a smaller info panel. The COMAND system infotainment knob is on the center console. The metal-trimmed vents stand out for their rectangularity, as most new vehicles have round vents nowadays.

The front seats are supremely comfortable, with standard heat and eight-way power. Available comforts include four modes shiatsu-while-you-drive, from slow to fast and vigorous.

Wide rear doors make it easy to climb in and out. The second row flips and folds with a feature called Easy Entry, either a manual handle or power actuator that’s noisier than we would expect from a Mercedes. With the seats up there’s only 16 cubic feet of cargo seat in back, but with the third-row down there’s 49.4 cubic feet.

With the 50/50 split power-folding third row of seats up, the GLS has a modest 16 cubic feet of cargo space. Flip them forward and that rises to 49.4 cubic feet, and with both rows folded there’s a very spacious 93.8 cubic feet.

The GLS is quiet inside at 70 mph, despite its blocky aerodynamics. Even the open sunroof doesn’t add much wind noise.

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