Mercedes-Benz has refreshed their full-size, seven-seat SUV for 2016—and in the process, they’ve renamed it from GL to GLS-Class. It launches in Australia in May 2016.
The GLS officially debuts at the Los Angeles Motor Show, held later this month. It is the final SUV to align with the new Mercedes model naming system: GL denotes SUV, and the last letter indicates which passenger car platform it is associated with.
That’s a big call associating the four-year-old GLS with the incredible S-Class sedan—although we expect the next-generation GLS will step up to significantly more opulent levels of luxury.
Outside, new changes to the GLS-Class aren’t radical. There are new headlights that follow the S-Class style more closely, plus restyled bumpers and a larger new grille.
Inside, higher-quality Mercedes-designo nappa leather takes luxury up a notch. The GLS dash is also restyled in line with changes to the GLE—there’s a floating 8.4-inch screen paired to a touchpad and rotary COMAND dial. New instruments sit behind the new corporate steering wheel—though it’s not the uber-special version you see on the S-Class limo.
The three available engines largely carry over, though efficiency improves thanks to a new nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox.
The GLS 350d is the sole diesel—a six-cylinder turbo unit making 190kW and 620Nm.
The GLS 400 is a twin-turbo V6 petrol making 245kW of power and 480Nm, while returning under 9L/100km combined. A hybrid version, called the GLS 500e, pairs the V6 to an electric motor, for 4L/100km consumption.
The big-boy GLS 500 is a biturbo V8 making 335kW—fifteen more than previously—and 700Nm of torque.
The requisite Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 is undoubtedly on the horizon, too.
Though the average GLS will cruise the likes of Sydney’s eastern suburbs or north shore, an Off-Road Engineering Pack will also be available. Mainly, it increases ground clearance and wading depth modestly, to 306mm and 600mm apiece. However, the low-range transmission mod and locking centre differential won’t hurt at all.
Pricing and Australian specifications will be released closer to the May 2016 launch period, though we should know more by the end of the year.