2019 GLS 550 New Car Test Drive
Traditional in design and appearance, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS is a direct descendant of the former GL-Class SUV. For 2017, the facelifted GL was renamed GLS, in accord with Mercedes-Benz' new model-naming scheme.
Audaciously big and boxy, the three-row GLS still exudes an offbeat, retro sense of beauty. Only one thing has changed for the 2019 model year. A new Grand Edition option for GLS 450 and GLS 550 models includes exclusive badging, “designo” Porcelain/Espresso Brown Nappa leather upholstery and dashboard, linden wood trim, and brown velour floor mats. GLS 450 versions get 20-inch black-accented wheels and active LED headlights; the GLS 550 rolls on 21-inch wheels.
Mercedes-Benz offers a trio of trim levels: GLS 450, GLS 550, and AMG GLS 63. Each gets its own engine.
The GLS 450 is powered by a twin-turbo V-6, rated at 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque and driving a 9-speed automatic transmission.
In the GLS 550, a 4.7-liter V-8 churns out 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet, using the same 9-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard on GLS 450 and GLS 550. An available Off-Road group adds a locking center differential and a reduction gear.
Topping the trio, the blazing AMG GLS 63 gets a 5.5-liter V-8 that generates 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet. A stronger 7-speed automatic is installed, to handle the extra power.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the GLS. Plenty of the latest safety equipment is available, either standard or optional. Standard features include automatic emergency braking and a driver attention monitor. Optional are blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control.
A redesigned GLS goes on sale as a 2020 model..
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
The GLS 450 4Matic V-6 ($70,150) has the 3.0-liter V-6 with 9-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes seven-passenger seating, synthetic leather upholstery, COMAND infotainment system, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, a power liftgate, air suspension, and power-folding third-row seats.
GLS 550 4Matic V-8 ($95,750) steps up to 4.7-liter V-8, also with all-wheel drive. Leather upholstery, adaptive LED headlights, and adaptive dampers are standard, as is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.
AMG GLS 63 4Matic V-8 ($126,150) holds a 5.5-liter V-8 with 7-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Adaptive cruise control is standard, along with an AMG sport air suspension and panoramic sunroof..