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All-New 2020 Mercedes GLS Arrives To Battle BMW X7

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Mercedes wants the new GLS to be the S-Class of SUVs.

Full-size luxury SUVs are becoming increasingly popular. The new BMW X7 is arguably the best in its class, but it now has some serious competition from a more established German rival. Meet the all-new 2020 Mercedes GLS, the automaker's largest and most luxurious SUV yet. Think of it as the S-Class of SUVs.

Aesthetically, the new second-generation GLS has a powerful presence and comes with Multibeam LED headlights as standard with 112 LED lights. Measuring 205 inches long and 77 inches wide, the new GLS has a 2.3-inch longer wheelbase than its predecessor, with the total length measuring 123 inches, resulting in considerably more interior space than before, especially in the second row. Legroom in the second row has increased by 3.4 inches when the seats are pushed back in their furthest position.

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As standard, the second row has a 60:40-split folding rear bench seat with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests, or it can be specified with two luxury individual rear seats with armrests. All seats are electrically adjustable as standard, while the third-row features fully-fledged seats suitable for people up to 6.4-feet tall and are heated for the first time. If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control, the third row also has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. With the second- and third-row seats folded, the cargo capacity expands to 84.7 cu-ft.

As expected, the dashboard has been borrowed from the smaller GLE. Like other new Mercedes models, the new GLS comes equipped with the company's new advanced MBUX infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, natural-speak voice activation, and a new gesture control system. All models also receive automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Other safety features include traffic-jam driver-assistance and lane-change assist.

Mercedes has even added a new Carwash function to prepare the SUV for a trip to the carwash at the push of a button. When activated, the suspension moves to the highest position to make it easier to drive into a carwash, the exterior mirrors are folded, and the side windows and sliding sunroof are closed.

In terms of engine options, the GLS 580 4MATIC packs a new, electrified V8 gasoline engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter generator. It has an output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC, on the other hand, is available with a six-cylinder in-line engine electrified with 48-volt technology. This engine produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. A new high-performance AMG GLS63 is also expected to arrive with around 600 horsepower.

All variants of the new GLS come with a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The standard transfer case with electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles. Mercedes also offers an optional transfer case with reduction gear specifically designed for superior off-road driving characteristics.

Further improving the ride comfort is an optional electronically-controlled suspension called E-Active Body Control, which is combined with the company's newly developed Airmatic air suspension. Mercedes says this is the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel. It also works with systems that monitor the road surface to predict how the suspension should be adjusted accordingly.

The new Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale in the US by the end of the year, with pricing to be confirmed closer to the sale date.

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