By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
Since the S-Class is the Mercedes-Benz flagship sedan, it makes sense to re-brand its full-size SUV the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. The "S" is a little superfluous though, as the big Benz SUV is already a well-known leader when it comes to luxury, power and prestige. Whether you choose the eco-friendly diesel-powered GLS350d (delayed release), the pavement-devouring AMG GLS63 and its twin-turbo V8, or one of the models in between, there's little to deter anybody of means from considering this big Benz. The 2017 GLS also gets a new 9-speed automatic transmission (except for the AMG), air suspension, revised exterior styling and an updated interior. It all adds to an already extensive list of standard equipment, and at a price that's surprisingly fair for a prestigious luxury vehicle.
KBB Expert Ratings
In addition to the new name, the 2017 GLS-Class gets a new 9-speed automatic transmission, available air suspension, a revised exterior and a new interior. Also available are new Designo interior and exterior treatments.
We drove the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class in Austria both on and off the pavement. On the snow-blown roads in the Austrian Alps, the 2017 GLS made short work of the...
... slippery conditions, thanks to an extended Dynamic Select transmission, which includes a "slippery" setting. It was so good that driver over-confidence may be an issue. Select the off-road engineering package, and the Dynamic Select gets an Off-Road+ setting that enables a low-range gearbox and center differential lock for off-pavement driving, as long as it's not too demanding. Yet this is still a luxury vehicle, one that surrounds its seven passengers in the kind of leather-bound comfort you'd expect. There's plenty of power from the twin-turbo V8 in the GLS550 4Matic, and we love the new 9-speed automatic transmission. The 577-horsepower V8 in the AMG may be overkill, but it's a ton of fun.
BlueTEC DIESEL V6 ENGINE
This is an excellent diesel engine, offering smooth, quiet and clean power in the 2017 GLS350 BlueTEC. It offers more torque than many V8 engines, but still gets very good fuel economy.
SURROUND VIEW SYSTEM
There's no getting around the fact that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is a big SUV, but getting around in a GLS-Class is easier thanks to the available Surround View system, which gives you a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of your surroundings.
The spacious interior of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class manages to offer good legroom for all seven passengers, a rare treat even in big SUVs like this. There's not a huge amount of cargo space behind the third row, but fold the seats and it opens up tremendously. But beyond that, the interior gets a serious upgrade, incorporating a new 3-spoke steering wheel, and an all-new dash panel that includes a larger infotainment screen mounted much higher for better visibility. The gauges now incorporate a full-color info screen, and the interior is available in a wide variety of design schemes.
There's no mistaking the 2017 GLS-Class as anything but a Mercedes-Benz. While the styling updates don't amount to an all-new vehicle, they certainly give it an appearance that's more in line with the current design themes seen in other Mercedes vehicles. The grille, headlights and bumper in front are all-new, and resemble the smoother shapes we've seen on the smaller GLC-Class. In back, new LED taillights are larger and more modern, and the rear side glass has been subtly reshaped as well. New Designo paint schemes are available, as well as a range of different alloy wheels.
As befitting a luxury SUV with a starting price of nearly $70,000, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class comes very nicely equipped. Included are cruise control, a power driver's seat with memory, remote start, a rearview camera, and a power tailgate and power-folding mirrors. Dual-zone climate control is also standard, as is an audio system with a 6-disc CD/DVD changer and standard Bluetooth audio streaming. Mercedes' remote application mbrace is also standard, and comes with five years of complimentary service. Safety features include crosswind stabilization and systems that monitor for driver drowsiness or an impending collision.
Options largely are grouped into different packages. For example, the Driver Assistance Package adds blind-spot alert, brake assist, Pre-Safe anti-collision system, active cruise control and active lane keeping. A Premium package adds illuminated doorsills, push-button ignition, plus navigation and other features available in other option packages. An Active Curve System package adds adaptive shocks, and a curve-system stability control that is just about as close to autonomous driving as Mercedes's lawyers will let the engineers get. Individual options include leather seats with super-soft Nappa leather, and an upgraded Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system that's a must for audiophiles.
The 2017 GLS350d comes with a 3.0-liter diesel-powered V6 that offers up an excellent 455 lb-ft of torque, all while delivering fuel economy in the mid-20-mpg range. If you're more concerned about power than saving fuel, the GLS450 offers a more powerful V6, while the GLS550 comes with a 449-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine, a bit more than last year's model. All three come standard with an excellent new 9-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive. If the GLS550 doesn't offer enough oomph, there's the hold-on-to-your-hats 577-horsepower twin-turbo V8 in the AMG GLS63, which also comes standard with all-wheel drive but is connected to a still-excellent 7-speed automatic. All gasoline-powered 2017 GLS-Class models require premium fuel.
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 (GLS350 BlueTEC, delayed release)
255 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm
455 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-2,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A mpg
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (GLS450)
362 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg
4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (GLS550)
449 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/18 mpg
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (GLS63 AMG)
577 horsepower @ 5,250-5,750 rpm
561 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/17 mpg
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS350d starts at a lofty-but-reasonable $69,000 when you include the $925 destination charge. The GLS450 starts at about $71,500, while the GLS550 comes in at just under $96,000. None of that is cheap of course, but then again, this is a Mercedes-Benz. Besides, the prices are competitive against the likes of the Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover Sport, and even when you start adding options and push the price of the GLS550 to more than $100,000, it's still on par with the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Lexus LX 570. Prices for the AMG GLS63 haven't been set yet, but expect it to be around $122,000 before options. Check the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to see what others in your area paid for their GLS, and expect to have very good resale value, especially with diesel models.