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Driving Notes

2018 Mercedes Benz GLS450 4MATIC

November 1, 2017

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Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS450 is the S class of SUVs. That’s expressed through Mercedes’ new nomenclature, which as of the 2017 model year carries the same levels across SUVs, sedans, coupes, and roadsters. Thus, the SUV family starts with the compact GLA and moves upward to GLC, GLE, and GLS (and the iconic G).

Aside from the nomenclature positioning, the GLS family received a facelift and engine upgrades for the 2017 model year that carry over into the 2018 model.

The GLS450 is a seven-passenger, three-row SUV. For a midsize SUV on a car platform, the third row is spacious enough for smaller adults, actually beating body-on-frame competitors Cadillac Escalade and Infiniti QX80 in legroom. Power switches flip the third-row seats up or down with ease.

We tested the GLS450 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which comes with the standard 3.0-liter V6 biturbo engine that produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, a 20-hp increase from the 2016 model. Like all GLS models, the 450 has an ECO start/stop function, which shuts the engine off at idle for extra fuel savings.

The 3.0L has adequate power, and nine speeds diminish shift lag for smoother acceleration. The GLS550’s V8 produces 449-hp — enthusiasts need only apply, not fleets. A diesel is available.

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

As with all Mercedes models today, the GLS has personalization options that are too numerous to mention. In terms of safety, Active Brake Assist, Crosswind Assist and Attention Assist (a personalized driver fatigue alert) come standard, as does a brake assist function, an electronic all-wheel drive traction system, and cruise control.

For an upgrade, the optional Driver Assistance Package includes a relative distance keeping feature, lane keeping, and blind spot monitoring features.

In the cockpit, the most useful function — safety or otherwise — is the optional 360 Degree View system, which provides a bird’s eye view of the vehicle as well as a bumper view along with digital grid lines to guide parking into tight spots.

While drivers look out over a sizable hood, the GLS is great around tight turns. The GLS450 marries a spacious interior for people and things with a comfortable yet nimble the ride of smaller crossover. And of course, it comes with the refinement and appointments of Mercedes.

Related Photos: Mercedes-Benz GLS450

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