The GLS takes the place of the outgoing GL, with the new naming structure more directly aligning the full-size SUV with the S-Class limousine, following the lead of the GLA/A-Class, GLC/C-Class and GLE/E-Class.
Prices of the Mercedes-Benz GLS and Mercedes-AMG GLS variants are marginally higher than their predecessors (ranging from $116,900 to $217,900 plus on-road costs; up $1390 to $3390), though the brand has added in more equipment to make the new cars better value than before.
All models benefit from the exterior design changes revealed last month, as well as refinements to the cabin that include a revised instrument cluster, new three-spoke steering wheel, floating tablet-style 8.0-inch infotainment screen, and a redesigned centre console with Mercedes’ new touchpad controller.
All non-AMG models also upgrade from a seven-speed automatic transmission to a new nine-speed auto (the GLS63 retains its seven-speed unit).
In addition to these changes, the entry-level GLS350d gains 20-inch alloy wheels, five-mode Dynamic Select system, the Intelligent LED Light System, and the Comand Online navigation system with Apple CarPlay over the model it replaces.
Next up, the GLS350d Sport boasts a fresh AMG Line exterior package, the Active Curve System with active roll stabilisation, tyre pressure monitoring and metallic paint as standard. It also gains 21-inch AMG alloys, an AMG Line interior package and nappa leather over its predecessor.
As before, this pair shares a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that produces 190kW of power and 620Nm of torque.
The GLS500 retains its twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre petrol V8. Power from the tweaked engine rises 15kW to 335kW, while torque carries over at a meaty 700Nm. In addition to the equipment added to the GLS350d, the GLS500 gains a panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated luxury front seats, heated second-row seats, a digital TV tuner, and an anti-theft protection package.
The flagship Mercedes-AMG GLS63 also packs a little extra punch from its twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8, with power growing 20kW to 430kW, and torque remaining at 760Nm. Over the specification of the GLS500, the GLS63 adds the AMG driver’s package (which boosts the car’s top speed to 270km/h), 40:60 rear bias for the all-wheel-drive system, a Sport+ driving mode for the Dynamic Select system, 22-inch AMG wheels, AMG sports suspension and high-performance brakes, power-closing doors, and the Air Balance package.
MY16 GLS models are also available with the optional Off-Road Engineering pack, which adds Off-Road+ mode to the Dynamic Select system, while the Airmatic suspension boasts expanded functions that allow ground clearance to be boosted to 306mm and wading depth increased to 600mm.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLS pricing (before on-road costs):
GLS350d $116,900 (+$2390)
GLS350d Sport $135,900 (+$1350)
GLS500 $161,900 (+$2390)
2016 Mercedes-AMG GLS pricing (before on-road costs):
GLS63 $217,900 (+$3390)