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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Keith Buglewicz

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class leads the mainstream side of the Benz SUV lineup; the mil-spec-based Gelandewagen G-Class is something of a specialty item. Available with either a twin-turbo V6 or twin-turbo V8 engine, the GLS-Class offers the kind of luxury trappings one expects from a Mercedes-Benz SUV, but with a practical side that is right up there with a more mainstream crossover SUV. The GLS-Class can seat seven passengers in comfort, it can tow 7,500 pounds, and with the V6 it even gets an acceptable 22 mpg on the highway. Its generous standard equipment includes a 9-speed automatic and air suspension that aren't even available on many competitors, and its “Mercedes-ness” makes it an excellent Interstate companion. There's also a fire-breathing AMG GLS 63 model, which is covered separately.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class offers up big-league towing and 7-passenger comfort, all in a luxury SUV that doesn't share its underpinnings with a lower-end model, like the Cadillac Escalade/Chevy Tahoe duo.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you aren't quite so brand-conscious, competitors like the GMC Acadia and Jeep Grand Cherokee offer many of the same features you can get in the GLS for less money. Additionally, not only can the Cadillac Escalade tow more, it also comes in a long-wheelbase version with excellent cargo and seating room.

What's New for 2018

After a thorough update last year, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class carries over virtually unchanged, with the exception of additional wheel designs available on the GLS 450.

Driving It Driving Impressions

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is supremely confident on slippery roads thanks to the Dynamic Select modes on the drivetrain, which includes a Slippery setting. The settings are so good at controlling and maintaining traction that it may be too easy to forget that the laws of physics still apply; don't get overconfident. If you order the off-road package, Dynamic Select gets an Off-Road+ setting that enables a low-range gearbox and center differential lock for off-pavement driving. While it can't take on the truly rough stuff like you could in a Jeep Wrangler, it's better than a lot of other competitors. All the while, you're surrounded by the kind of leather-bound comfort you'd expect from a Mercedes-Benz. The twin-turbo V6 is more than adequate in terms of acceleration and passing, and of course the twin-turbo V8 is exceptionally satisfying. The new 9-speed automatic transmission remains a delightful companion to both engines.

Favorite Features

The Dynamic Select system adjusts the drivetrain in the GLS-Class to maximize traction depending on road conditions. If the pavement gets slick, a Slippery setting helps ensure maximum grip. The Off-Road+ setting makes this big SUV surprisingly capable in the rough stuff as well.

Big vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class can be hard to maneuver, but the available Surround View system makes it a lot easier. This 360-degree camera system gives you a bird's-eye view of the car, meaning there's no excuse for bad parking.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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