New 2019 Mercedes GLS: flagship SUV revealed in New York

The third-generation Mercedes GLS SUV arrives to take on the BMW X7 and Range Rover

This is the all-new Mercedes GLS, the German manufacturer’s flagship SUV that has been officially revealed at this year’s New York Motor Show. Pitched as a rival for the new BMW X7 and Range Rover, the third-generation GLS arrives in dealers this summer priced from upwards of £75,000. 

Now longer and wider than before, the new GLS is one the largest cars on sale at over 5,200mm long and almost 2,000mm wide - only a Rolls-Royce Cullinan beats it against the tape measure. An additional 60mm has been added to the wheelbase, now 3,135mm, which Mercedes says has significantly increased space for passengers inside.

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The GLS is a seven-seater as standard but for the first time Mercedes will offer European customers the option of a six-seat configuration, which sees the middle bench replaced by two individual seats with armrests. All seats are electrically operated, while each row features operation for the climate control and USB ports.

Mercedes has issued no figures for boot capacity with the second and third row of seats in place, but dropping them frees up a maximum storage space of 2,400 litres. That’s 100 litres more than the outgoing model and 280 litres more than the BMW X7. At the push of a button the GLS can lower itself by 50mm to make loading larger items easier. 

Elsewhere inside, the general cabin architecture has been adopted from the smaller GLE. That means a pair of 12.3-inch displays sits on the dashboard and gives passengers full access to all of the car’s central controls such as sat-nav, media and smartphone connectivity software.

Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system has been added and features artificial intelligence to learn passenger’s behaviors. For example, if a driver makes regular calls to a certain person at a particular time the MBUX system will offer the contact as a suggestion on the display. 

Marking the GLS out as the range topper in Merc’s SUV range are several optional packages. The first is called Rear Seat Entertainment, which adds two 11.6-inch displays for the second row passengers which features integrated web browser. On top of that buyers can spec the Rear Comfort package Plus, which adds a seven-inch Android tablet in is own docking station in the middle row. It also gives access to the cars climate control functions.

Engine options comprise three six-cylinder units and one V8 option, however, European customers are only expected to be offered six-cylinder diesel versions. The GLS 350 d 4MATIC makes use of a 285bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine that develops 600Nm of torque and returns up to a claimed 37mpg. The GLS 400 d 4MATIC makes use of a 325bhp version of the same 3.0-litre engine and develops slightly more torque at 700Nm. Mercedes says fuel economy is unaffected by the power increase.

Mercedes also claims comfort has been improved thanks to the addition of a new suspension setup called E-Active Body Control. Combined with air suspension the system is able to individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel to help smooth out the ride.

Click here for all the latest from the 2019 New York Motor Show...

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