It’s fair to say that the current Mercedes-Benz GLS is getting a tad long in the tooth. On sale since 2012, then named GL Class, it has served as the Stuttgart carmaker’s largest school bus (I mean SUV) for quite some time.
Fortunately for those seeking the ultimate in crossover luxury, an all-new version is just around the corner and it’ll truly be the S-Class of 3-row SUV’s. However, what will it look like and what features can we expect? Let’s take a spy shot-based, illustrative preview.
There’s no denying first impressions are that it’s BIG; however the look isn’t as imposing as some its Detroit-based rivals and is more akin to a larger GLE Class on growth hormones.
Frontal styling is dominated by a large two-bar grille with prominent Mercedes badge, smallish multi-beam LED headlamps with ‘upright’ DRL turn signatures and sizeable lower intakes. Side surfacing is much more organic with less hard creases than before, whilst the rear quarter window is now shorter, yet more rounded.
First Class Accommodation
Dominating the large and airy 7-seat cabin is a huge digital screen spanning half of the dash. It’ll feature a MBUX infotainment system with augmented sat-navigation, advanced massage options and ambient lighting with over 60 colors.
Positioned below this, is an array of four air-conditioning vents, climate controls and a new touchpad (located where the gear shifter would normally be) for controlling the infotainment system without touching the screen – think of it as the Mercedes interpretation of BMW’s iDrive setup.
Beneath The Skin
The reworked GLS will sit on the same MHA underpinnings as the smaller GLE. This means it’ll offer ride enhancements like the E-Active Body Control System, which uses a 48-volt electrical setup to adjust the air suspension’s dampers individually. In the event of getting bogged down off the beaten path, it’ll raise and lower the suspension to aid traction.
Also tipped to appear is a vast array of other driver aids like tailback assist, This function detects lines of slow moving traffic well in advance and actively helps the driver in stop-go traffic up to 60 km/h (37 mph). It does so by utilizing steering assist combined with the radar cruise stop-and-go function.
Power To The People
There will be an array of engine options (featuring mild hybrid technology) starting with a 286 hp (210 kW) and 600 Nm (443 lb-ft) turbo-diesel inline-six, a higher output version of the same unit should offer around 340 hp (250 kW) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft). The gasoline version of the 3.0-litre straight-six will pump out 362hp (270 kW) and 500 Nm of torque, while an extra 250 Nm and 22hp / 16 kW will be available via EQ Boost during short bursts.
Eight-cylinder fans will have an option of the familiar 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 and a thumping, higher output version in Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 guise. Power fill be fed to all fours via a 9-speed automatic transmission.
For those thinking that the regular GLS won’t be posh enough, good news is that an ultra-luxury Maybach version is rumored to appear, and which could offer an alternative to the Rolls Royce Cullinan.
We anticipate an official debut in 2019, possibly at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, though, an earlier release such as at the New York Auto Show in April hasn’t been ruled out yet. Sales are expected to begin before year’s end.
What do you think of Mercedes-Benz’s largest SUV? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes