Sitting atop the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup is the posh and powerful 2022 GLS-class, which earns its place alongside other high-end Benzes with a technology-and-luxury-laden cabin. A 362-hp turbocharged inline-six is assisted by a 48-volt hybrid system to deliver a silky-smooth experience, and the GLS’s handling is poised and fluid, which makes it surprisingly fun to drive. All-wheel drive and air suspension are both standard, and the GLS can be equipped with novel options such as a camera system that watches the road ahead for potholes. There’s room for up to seven—although optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce occupancy to six—and everyone should find the GLS’s interior to be spacious and comfortable. Fuel economy isn’t great, but it’s aligned with other large SUV rivals such as the Land Rover Range Rover and the Lincoln Navigator, neither of which can match the GLS’s athletic on-road demeanor.
What’s New for 2022?
Rumor has it that Mercedes-Benz has discontinued most V-8 engines from its lineup for 2022, which means the GLS580 model, which was powered by a 483-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, will no longer be offered. That leaves the GLS450 as the sole offering at the top end of Mercedes-Benz’s SUV lineup. The GLS580 may return for future model years, although its future seems uncertain at the moment. Elsewhere in the lineup, the GLS450 can now be equipped with an AMG Line appearance package as well as a blacked-out Night appearance package. Cirrus Silver is now an option, as is Espresso Brown with black leather upholstery. Buyers can also now order all-season floor mats.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Executive Rear Seat Plus package turns the second row into a luxurious zone with massaging seats, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a tablet controller for the GLS’s infotainment system, plusher headrests, and side-impact airbags. Ordering that package requires that you shell out for leather upholstery, which, surprisingly, isn’t standard.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The GLS450’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six is silky smooth and good for 362 horsepower; it also uses a 48-volt hybrid system. At our test track, the GLS450 managed a brisk 5.5-second run to 60 mph and stopped from 70 mph in a short 154 feet. Despite its size, the GLS-class is easy to hustle on a twisty road, but it’s not overly sporty or harsh over bumps. All models come standard with an air suspension, but Mercedes also offers a trick new system called E-Active Body Control. It utilizes a forward-facing camera to scan for bumps and adjusts the suspension accordingly so riders won’t feel those road imperfections. It’s a cool technology but expensive, and we think most buyers will find the standard setup does a fine job.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA fuel-economy estimates for the GLS-class aren’t great. The GLS450 earns 19 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. In our real-world testing, the GLS450 performed a little better than its rating, managing 24 mpg on our 200-mile highway loop. If fuel economy is a priority for you, the BMW X7 will be a better choice in the luxury-SUV department. A six-cylinder X7 xDrive40i managed an impressive 28 mpg in our highway test while an eight-cylinder xDrive50i delivered 24 mpg. For more information about the GLS-class’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Borrowing its dashboard and cockpit layout from the similarly new GLE-class SUV, this generation of GLS is far more modern than the one it replaces. It’ll fit up to seven passengers but can be spec’d for six with the optional captain’s chairs. Passenger space is generous in the first and second rows, and the third row, while not as spacious as the second, can accommodate an adult without too much complaining—something that can’t be said of the wayback in the X7.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Two huge 12.3-inch digital displays take up the majority of the dashboard. One serves as a reconfigurable gauge display for the driver, while the other handles infotainment duties and runs Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX software, which features an iPhone-like virtual assistant. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, in-dash navigation, and an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot are all standard. All GLS models come with a 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound stereo, but if that’s not enough for you, there’s an available Burmester 3D audio system with an insane 26-speaker arrangement.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Mercedes-Benz offers several different types of driver-assistance features on this SUV, but the most interesting bits—such as a semi-autonomous driving mode—cost extra. For more information about the GLS-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Buyers of the GLS-class receive a four-year/50,000-mile warranty as standard, which is far from the best in this class. The Cadillac Escalade offers two more years of powertrain coverage, and the Lincoln Navigator comes with four years of complimentary scheduled maintenance if you go for the luxurious Black Label model.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance