The wraps have come off of the remade 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class which replaces the previous GL in the company's new nomenclature. Although the existing platform largely carries over, the 2017 GLS-Class boasts a more contemporary appearance that's matched by greater technical sophistication and enhanced dynamic qualities. Beyond that, more power and a richer equipment roster help this highline rival to the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80 and Lexus GX460 better live up to its "S-Class among SUVs" tagline.

Set to bow at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2017 GLS-Class initially will be available in GLS 350d, GLS 450, GLS 550 and AMG GLS63, all with standard 4Matic all-wheel drive. Up front, M-B's design approach employs more aggressive yet elegant lighting, grille and fascias. The rear has a tidier overall character set off by new full LED taillamps that frame a redrawn tailgate. Those seeking a bit more flash without going the full GLS63 route can opt for a Sport upgrade on the GLS 550 that kicks things up a notch with AMG-inspired body kit elements and 21-inch AMG light-alloy wheels. 

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Contemporary cabin

The cabin of the new GLS-Class displays a similar contemporary remake, gaining new trim elements on the standard and designo leather upholstery that complement a new instrument panel, 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel and redesigned center console. Infotainment/connectivity is handled by the latest version of M-B's Comand system that can be augmented with a new 8.0-inch Media Display screen and touchpad. Other features include Remote Start, rearview camera and power tailgate.

Safety continues to be a hallmark of the line and the 2017 GLS-Class bolsters its standard Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist, Brake Assist BAS and Pre-Safe with an optional Driver Assistance Package that includes Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assists, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, roll-reducing Active Curve System with and Pre-Safe Plus -- the last item only on the AMG GLS 63. Buyers also can fit upgrades like a full LED Intelligent Light System, heated adaptive wipers, Magic Vision Control and a new Night Package as well as an Off-Road Engineering Package that adds capability and confidence when the pavement ends with a low-range transfer case and a center differential lock.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

More power, efficiency 

Mercedes says the engines in all of these new 2017 GLS-Class models provide better performance and use mileage-enhancing start/stop technology. Although the 3.0-liter turbodiesel in the GLS 350d continues to make 255 horsepower and the biturbo 3.0-liter gasoline V6 in the GLS 450 carries over with 362 horses, the twin-turbo V8 in the GLS 550 sees its pony count rise from 435 to 455 and the force-fed AMG 5.5-liter V8 in the GLS63 has its output upped from 550 to 577. While the engine in the most potent GLS-Class is still backed by a 7-speed AMG SpeedShift automatic transmission, the powerplants in all other GLS variants are paired with a new 9-speed 9G-Tronic automatic. The Dynamic Select system features six program modes that let the GLS-Class deal with any type of surface conditions and its retuned Airmatic air suspension with active damping further elevates this slick SUV's overall ride and handling. 

Dealers will begin taking orders for the new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class in December with deliveries set to start here in late March. Pricing, EPA numbers and more details will be released closer to the actual on-sale date.

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