The 2018 GLS-Class is the flagship SUV of Mercedes-Benz. It offers three different engines, a twin-turbo V6 (362 horsepower) on the GLS 450, twin-turbo V8 (449 hp) on the GLS 550 and a more powerful V8 (577 hp) in the GLS 63 AMG. All GLS models have a Mercedes-Benz all-wheel-drive system called 4Matic.
Of course, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is not just focused on performance. The GLS is designed to transport passengers and cargo with features such as second row seats with adjustable backs. In an emergency, seats can be folded and moved for flexible cargo. With optional features, all this can be done electronically with one touch button.
Thanks to a street-oriented suspension, the GLS is smooth on the road, giving passengers one of the quietest experiences in its class. But the available body roll control systems and sport-oriented suspensions can enhance the handling.
Some people may hesitate as soon as they see the price, especially in well-equipped models. And others may find the size and dynamics too big and too soft. But the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class level is above mid-sized SUVs and crossovers, and dominates the full-size segment by bringing the S-class into an SUV fight.
Trim and Feature
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is a seven-passenger large luxury SUV. It’s offered in three models: GLS 450, GLS 550 and AMG GLS 63.
Standard equipment for the GLS 450 includes a self-leveling air suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, LED taillights, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, a power liftgate, roof rails and Mbrace Connect remote vehicle access.
Inside, you’ll get dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power-adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, a 10-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, premium vinyl upholstery and genuine wood trim. Tech features include an 8-inch central display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, the COMAND infotainment interface, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, a sound system with dual USB ports and HD radio.
The optional Premium package adds blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, keyless entry and ignition, lighted door sills and multicolor ambient lighting, a power front passenger seat with memory settings, Apple CarPlay, voice controls, a navigation system with real-time traffic and satellite radio.
The Lighting package adds adaptive automatic high beams and LED headlights. The Parking Assist package adds a surround-view camera system, an automated parallel parking system, front and rear parking sensors.
Other option includes three-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, multicontour front seats with adjustable side bolster, shoulder supports and massaging function, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with an SD card reader and a CD/DVD player.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 550 get all of the above features plus sporty exterior styling cues, adaptive suspension dampers, 21-inch alloy wheels, soft-close doors and upgraded interior trim. The optional Night package adds gloss-black exterior accents and 21-inch black wheels.
Optional for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 and GLS 550 is a panoramic sunroof, diamond-quilted leather upholstery and heated second-row seats. The Driver Assistance package adds blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, front and rear collision mitigation. The Off-Road package includes front underbody protection, a dual-range transfer case, an upgraded multimode terrain selector and for the GLS 450 it also adds adaptive dampers.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS63 gets most of the above plus AMG-specific styling elements, a sport-tuned suspension, exclusive 21-inch alloy wheels, a sport exhaust, adaptive stabilizer bars, upgraded brakes, a flat-bottom sport steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery and enhanced bolstering for the front seats.
All the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS models can be equipped with a trailer hitch, rear side-window sunshades, a heated steering wheel, power-sliding second-row seats, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a rear entertainment system and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that produces 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The GLS 550 gets a 4.6-liter V8 that generates 449 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Every engine comes standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
In performance testing, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. EPA fuel economy rating for the GLS 450 at 19 mpg combined (17 city/22 highway), while the GLS 550 dropping to 16 mpg combined (14/18).
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS63 gets a powerful 5.5-liter V8 engine that delivers an astonishing 577 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. In track testing, the 2018 AMG GLS63 hit 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. EPA fuel economy rated at 15 mpg combined (13/18).
Properly equipped, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class models can tow a maximum of 7,500 pounds.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class interior will look familiar enough if you’ve spent some time in the latest GL. Overall, the design and materials are not as good as in the S-Class, especially if you focus on areas between climate control and dashboard screens, where plastic panels with a number of small buttons make the display out of date. But make no mistake, this is a very nice interior by segment standards. The standard MB-Tex vinyl coating on the GLS450 model seems a bit cheap for a vehicle at this price, but you may find it difficult to distinguish it from genuine leather from some other brands. In addition, the availability of some wood trim and even a diamond-coated leather upholstery makes it easy to add a higher look and feel.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class main strength is roomy accommodation in all three rows. The standard front seats are excellent, but the optional multicontour seats with heating, ventilation and massage functions are undoubtedly a high level of comfort. GLS550 and AMG GLS 63 both come standard with multicontour seats, the latter gets upgraded with an aggressive sport bolstering for spirit driving. Passengers in the second row have plenty of room to stretch out, and although 6-footer passengers will feel a bit cramped in the third row, everyone will be fine there. This is one of the most accommodative third row seats you’ll find on any crossover.
For cargo affairs, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class offers 16 cubic feet of space behind the third row, which is comparable to the average midsize sedan luggage space. Folding the backrest there was 49.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and folding the two rows opened up 93.8 cubic feet of space.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX 570 and Land Rover Range Rover.
Official pricing will starting at $70,545 (including $995 destination charges) for the GLS 450. The GLS 550 is priced at $25,000 more than the GLS 450 or about $95,945. The high-performance AMG GLS63 will start at $126,295.