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Mercedes-Benz GLS, 2019, smaragdgrün 

Mercedes-Benz GLS, 2019, emerald green

At a Glance: Meet the Mercedes-Benz GLS: The S-Class of SUV’s

At the recent media presentation of the SUV range from Mercedes-Benz, our editor Vuyi Mpofu briefly interacted with the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Here is a bird’s-eye-view of what the luxurious vehicle has to offer.

Mercedes-Benz’s largest and most luxurious SUV to dates now available in South Africa, offering more space, more comfort and more luxury than ever before. The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is even larger than its predecessor, with a 60 mm longer wheelbase that provides increased interior spaciousness, and combines striking looks with outstanding comfort, agile handling and a high degree of off-road capability.

South African customers will be able to choose from the new Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d 4M and Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4M, which marks the world première of a new electrified V8 petrol engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter-generator.

“The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like no other vehicle. In addition, it is the market leader in its segment – just like the S-Class Sedan,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.

The GLS 580 4MATIC’s new electrified V8 petrol engine has a displacement of four litres and produces an output of 360 kW and 700 Nm of torque, with another 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW of additional output temporarily on tap via EQ Boost. Combined fuel consumption is around 10.1-9.8 l/100 km. The GLS 400 d 4MATIC produces 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque, with combined fuel consumption of 7.9-7.6 l/100 km.

In both variants, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. 

The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like no other vehicle.

– Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa

A new standard feature is the Carwash function, which moves the suspension to the highest position, folds in the exterior mirrors, closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof and switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode. It deactivates automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 20 km/h.

Video credit: Opak Media

Exterior design: powerful presence 

The front section of the new GLS exudes presence and power, with a striking appearance emphasised with an upright radiator grille and distinctive headlamp design.

Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive 

The interior combines the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV.  There are three fully electrically adjustable seat rows 

The centre console offers a wireless-charging compartment for smartphones (Standard in the GLS 580) and standard additional USB ports. Rear passengers are further indulged with the optional Rear Comfort Package plus which includes luxury head restraints with additional cushions and the rearward-extended centre console between the front seats with cup holders.

The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader. It combines powerful highlights of off-road design & capability with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury sedan.


The Rear Comfort package Plus also includes removable 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row’s larger luxury centre armrest, coupled with wireless charging in the rear. The tablet allows touch control of all the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seat rows, such as access to radio, media, phone and web browser. It can also be used to control the Rear Seat Comfort package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time.

Driving assistance systems: even better support 

The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation allows the new GLS to recognise and respond to tailbacks or slow-moving traffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. When a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 100 km/h as a precaution. Once the tailback clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the pre-set speed.

Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is available as an option for drivers not familiar with towing trailers, or more experienced drivers towing longer trailers.

Suspension: AIRMATIC air suspension as standard 

The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. In addition to this, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board. The off-road functions include recovery mode when coupled with the optional Off Road Engineering package.

If the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, for example, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tyres and therefore improves traction – the GLS rocks itself free. Individual wheel actuation allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the vehicle’s alignment on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted, for instance. This also helps to increase traction and the torque at the wheel.

This is how the two GLS models compare:

 GLS 400 d 4MATICGLS 580 4MATIC 
Number of cylinders/arrangement 6/in-line V8
Displacement (cc) 2925 3982 
Rated output (kW)243 360 
at rpm 3600-4200 5500
Extra output from EQ Boost (kW) on take-off16 
Rated torque (Nm) 700 700 
at rpm 1200-3200 2000-4000 
Add. torque from ECO Boost (Nm) on take-off250
Fuel consumption combined (l/100 km) 7.9 – 7.6 10.0 – 9.8 
Combined CO2 emissions(g/km) 208 – 201 229 – 224 
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 6.3 4.7 
Top speed (km/h) 238 250 
Image courtesy of Motorpress

We will be in a better position give a more in-depth overview of the GLS once we get it on test.


Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d  – R1 842 000
Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 – R2 025 000

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