2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV

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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Review: Sinful Luxury At A Heavenly Price

With a starting MSRP of $70,150, the Mercedes-Benz GLS is not for the faint of heart, or budget. But the price tag isn't the only big thing about the SUV; a truly enormous chassis encompasses a spacious and luxurious interior. And neither the standard 362-horsepower nor the optional 449-hp bi-turbo engines are lacking in size or brawniness. Competing with the likes of the Audi Q7 and the new BMW X7, this stylish and well-appointed luxury SUV is holding its own. And despite its seemingly high price, it's still on the cheaper side versus the competition. With space for up to seven adults, a premium interior, and features out the wazoo, there really isn't much the GLS does wrong.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 6 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 6 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 6 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 7 /10
  • Value For Money 6 /10
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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2018 GLS-Class SUV?

Mechanically, nothing has changed for the 2019 GLS, and the same is mostly true when it comes to aesthetics. However, Mercedes has introduced a limited-time Grand Edition. This entails unique interior color schemes, lighting accents, and high-quality trims and floor mats. Grand Edition badging, active LED lamps, and larger, uniquely accented wheels encompass the exterior changes.

Pros and Cons

  • Luxuriously spacious interior
  • Plenty of available tech and safety features
  • Choice of two powerful engines
  • Less intimidating design than most large SUVs
  • Adequate trunk space
  • Standard features are not as extensive as rivals
  • Interior could be more plush for the price
  • Infotainment is a bit dated
  • Mediocre fuel economy

What's the Price of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV?

The starting price for the GLS 450 is $70,150. If you really want the punchier V8 engine, you will need to shell out an additional $25,600 for the pricier GLS 550. These are MSRP prices and do not take into account tax, licensing, registration, or Mercedes-Benz's standard $995 destination fee.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
4.7L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The large luxury SUV handles better than you would think at first glance. Despite its dimensions and weight, the GLS gets up to speed rapidly and, once there, handles maneuvers with remarkable grace. The steering doesn't offer much feedback, but it is light and offers quick responses to inputs, allowing the driver to guide the graceful giant around turns with only a modicum of body roll, despite the SUV's height.

Much like its predecessor, the GLS-Class, the new GLS benefits from a powerful and refined braking system, further shored up with multiple active tech features that ensure safety even when you push the vehicle a little too hard. As for handling… well, this luxury Mercedes doesn't disappoint. The air suspension easily absorbs all but the most devastating of road imperfections. And with a well-insulated cabin, you won't even hear the road, no matter how bumpy it gets.

With more than enough power to hop between intersections in town, or fly down the highway, combined with steering that gives this magnificent beast a surprising amount of nimbleness and comfort that is second to only a select few, the GLS promises a driving experience that, while not necessarily thrilling, is enjoyable and engaging.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV A Good SUV?

Few large SUVs rival the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, and none within its particular segment truly best it. With a remarkably low starting price for a luxury SUV and a sumptuous interior that few can come close to matching, the GLS stands proud and tall, despite its few shortcomings. If you really want to nitpick, the infotainment system is a bit dated compared to newer Mercedes models, and the base model GLS 450 is a bit sparse in terms of advanced tech and infotainment features - at least for the price you are expected to pay.

Nevertheless, if you are willing to fine-tune the SUV with the long list of available features, you will find yourself wanting for nothing, except perhaps a discount, as the price can quickly skyrocket as you equip the car to your tastes. Still, with two amazing engines to choose from, paired to a refined drivetrain, the GLS will get you where you are going quickly with no fuss or muss, and it will do so in style. The Mercedes-Benz GLS is a shining example of why the German manufacturer is revered the world-around for its automotive genius.

What Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Model Should I Buy?

Considering the luxurious nature of the car, even in its base trim, and the relatively high price tag, sticking with the GLS 450 might be the best bet. The $25,600 you save by not opting for the 550 can then be used to decide exactly what you want to add to the base model, without having superfluous features from the 550. Also, as a family-oriented vehicle, you don't really need the powerful V8 that comes standard with the more expensive trim. Rather custom-design your GLS 450 to meet your family's comfort and safety needs.

Check out other Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Styles

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV Comparisons

Audi Q7 Audi

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV vs Audi Q7

Although they hail from different vehicle segments, both the Merc GLS and Audi Q7 are popular SUVs. The Q7 is a bit smaller than the GLS, which naturally means that it cannot boast the same spacious interior. Nevertheless, unless you are expecting to fill all seven seats in each car on the regular, that shouldn't be a huge problem. The Audi comes equipped with top-notch tech features, and more of them than the GLS. The Mercedes can come just as well-equipped, but this requires you to tag on a lot of optional items, which quickly increases the car's price. When you consider that the Q7 starts off a lot cheaper than the Merc, and also offers better fuel-efficiency, it becomes clear which SUV is the better investment from a value perspective. So, unless you plan on regularly carpooling your entire hockey team around, the Q7 is the smarter choice here.

See Audi Q7 Review

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class SUV vs BMW X5

As with the Audi Q7, the BMW X5 competes with the Mercedes GLS across vehicle segments. As a mid-size SUV, the X5 is naturally smaller, lacking a third row of seats as standard. Still, the five seats it does provide are as comfortable as can be, with plenty of room for all five occupants. The smaller dimensions also mean that the X5 has less cargo capacity, both as standard and with the rear seats down. However, the BMW, being newly revamped, offers state-of-the-art infotainment and tech features as a significant discount to the more dated Mercedes. Combine this with fuel economy that is comparable to the Audi Q7, and you will start to see a pattern emerge. Once again, unless you really need the space, the BMW X5 should meet most, if not all, of your daily needs at a much cheaper cost than the Mercedes GLS-Class SUVs.

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