Comfort, styling and attractive features are what make the 2017 Mercedes GLS turn heads. With seating for seven, it has the space for busy families taxiing kids to soccer, hockey and dance classes, and the build and power to take it off road for exploring all the places small cars cannot go. It has the style Mercedes is known for, desired standard features and plenty of pined-for options. The S-class starts with a MSRP of about $67,975, but the price point increases incrementally between models.
Although redesigned from last year’s GL450, there have not been too many significant changes. New for the 2017 model are the bumpers, front and rear lights and alloy wheels, and LEDs light now up the taillights and daytime running lights. The interior’s overhaul is a little more pronounced with updates to the console, upholstery, multi-functional steering wheel, behind which sits an all-digital display unit. The biggest changes are its more powerful engine, smoother transmission shifting and quieter ride.
Classified as a large SUV, the GLS has more of a square-shaped body than some of Mercedes’ classic vehicles and fits a wider grille on the front end, with larger air intake inlets. Protruding out slightly are its bullet-shaped headlights on the sides and taillights, with LEDs in line with the side of the body at the rear. The bumper is streamlined, adding the a more aerodynamic look. The sporty exterior rolls on large, twenty-one inch AMG wheels, and the new Night Pack paints the mirrors and lower lip black.
Mercedes does not skimp when it comes to standard features, including cruise control, a rearview camera, and five Dynamic Select drive modes to make driving easy. The driver, sitting in a power-adjustable memory function seat, has quick access to the GPS and connectivity suite above the dashboard, home of the COMAND interface. Along with the standard air springs in the seats, Mercedes offers a long line of options like massaging and ventilated front seats and technology bundles, plus ambient lighting and power tilt steering on a three-spoke steering wheel.
New to the 2017 S-class is an intuitive touch-screen display on the COMAND infotainment center for traffic, device and Bluetooth needs. Controlling voice, steering wheel and knob instructions can be done with a swipe or tap of the finger. A premium packaged, adding nearly $4,000 to the price tag, includes SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and a proximity key to name a few high tech items, while a $1,290 Parking Assist package brings self-parking and a surround-view camera on board.
Upgrades under the hood will make the power-hungry driver happy. Although the GLS450 shares the same 362 horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with last year’s counterpart, the GL450, the next levels up are a force to be reckoned with. The GLS550 and GLS63 AMG both boast powerful eight-cylinder, 4.7-liter, twin-turbocharged engines with up to 577 horsepower. Fuel economy has been increased by 1 mpg, to 22 mpg, on highway driving, thanks to a new, quicker transmission with two additional gears, but city driving remains steady at 17 mpg.
Safety features start with the Dynamic Select drive modes. In second gear, acceleration is smoother for slippery conditions and off-road driving while Sport mode tightens steering. Transmission, suspension and engine can each be tweaked depending on conditions. The Crosswind Assist helps mobility in severe winds and a heated windshield wiper ensures clear visibility. Standards include standard airbags, as well as knee and side-curtain, Pre-Safe, Attention Assist, cameras and electronic stability control. To increase safety and confidence, additional options include blind spot and lane keeping assistants.