New Mercedes-Benz GLS cruises into town
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS has landed on SA shores. Larger than its predecessor (the wheelbase has grown by 60mm), this luxurious newcomer offers considerably improved interior space and comfort with a newly developed third row of seats that can accommodate people up to 1.94m tall. When not in use, this extra row of seats can be lowered into the floor to increase boot space by up to 2,400 litres.
Customers can also choose to specify the optional “Rear Comfort Package” that adds luxury head restraints with additional cushions plus a rearward-extended centre console between the front seats with cup holders. Ticking this box also gives you a seven-inch Android tablet with its very own docking station mounted in the second row armrest.
The tablet allows touch control of all the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seat rows, such as access to radio, media, phone and web browser. It can also be used to control the “Rear Seat Comfort” package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats.
Those seated behind the steering wheel can look forward to the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems including “Active Distance Assist Distronic” with route-based speed adaptation that allows the new GLS to recognise and respond to tailbacks or slow-moving traffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard.
When a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), Distronic reduces the speed to around 100km/h as a precaution. Once the tailback clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the preset speed.
“Trailer Manoeuvring Assist” is also available as an option for those not familiar with towing trailers, or more experienced drivers towing longer trailers.
Two models will be made available from the launch. The GLS 400d 4Matic is equipped with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 243kW and 700Nm worth of torque. Mercedes-Benz say that it will reach 100km/h in 6.3 seconds and a maximum speed of 238km/h. Those seeking a little extra pace will no doubt be more interested in the GLS 580 4Matic that's bolted to an electrified 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine making 360kW and 700Nm. An additional 16kW and 250Nm is also available temporarily via EQ Boost. This flagship reaches 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds and has a limited top speed of 250km/h.
In both variants power is sent to all four wheels via a 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.
Likewise, both models come fitted as standard with Mercedes' enhanced Airmatic air suspension system with “Adaptive Damping System Plus”. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimised for maximum ride comfort.
The off-road functions include recovery mode when coupled with the optional Off Road Engineering package: if the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, for example, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tyres and therefore improves traction — the GLS rocks itself free.
Available immediately, pricing for the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS range is as follows:
GLS 400d 4Matic: R1,842,000
GLS 580 4Matic: R2,025,000