The new third-gen of the top-rung seven-seat SUV, the GLS class, comes to Singapore with a single variant for now
The most monstrous Mercedes (not counting the G-Wagen and its more ridiculous special editions) passenger car is here in Singapore.
The all-new model of the biggest sport utility vehicle (SUV) in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, the GLS, has debuted with a price of S$443,888 with COE.
As the third-gen model, this car runs on the MHA platform (‘high’ platform) derived from the MRA platform (rear-wheel drive) that bigger Mercedes models, like the C-Class upwards, use.
That brings with it a whole host of new technologies, most of which we’ve already seen and that have hit the market too.
For now, the sole model offered is the GLS 450 with 4matic all-wheel drive and an AMG Line exterior package and 21-inch AMG design wheels.
The interior receives the dual widescreen setup now familiar in large Mercedes cars, with two 12.3-inch display screens, one acting as the digital instrument panel, the other a touchscreen system for infotainment display.
Under the bonnet is the 3.0-litre inline six cylinder new-gen engine, with 367hp and 500Nm of torque, that works in conjunction with a 48V mild hybrid system. The latter has a 22hp/250Nm electric motor that boosts performance and recovers kinetic energy.
The more powerful GLS 580 with a 490hp 4.0-litre V8 will not be offered here, although the 610hp AMG 63 model with a twin-turbo 4.0 V8 is likely to arrive here later on.
The GLS 450’s gearbox is a nine-speed automatic and, as mentioned, the car has all-wheel drive. Air suspension (‘Airmatic’) and adaptive dampers are standard, as is the Mercedes Dynamic Select drive mode system.
This spells for a 0-100km/h time of 6.4 seconds, and top speed of 250km/h. Efficiency is 9.2L/100km, and the car nets a C2 VES rating – a $S20k penalty – the worst since it’s a huge, powerful SUV.
The new car is now 5,164mm long, which means it’s slightly shorter than an S-Class long-wheelbase, but around 800mm longer than the smallest Merc SUV, the GLA, and far taller than both at 1,823mm tall.
The GLS has grown only slightly larger than before in footprint, but its interior space seems a huge increase because the wheelbase has stretched from 3,075mm to 3,135mm, or some six centimetres.
It spells for a huge amount of room inside the car. As mentioned, the car is a seven-seater, but even the third row can fit people of up to 1.92-metres in height, Mercedes claims. The first two rows have electrically-adjustable seats, all rows have their own USB-C ports.
There is also five-zone air-conditioning – one zone for each of the first two rows, and one zone for the third-row, which also gets its own blower and temperature control. With all seats in play, there’s 335-litres of boot space, and with all seats down you can carry 2,400-litres of cargo, or enough toilet paper to last you until the heat death of the Universe.
Abroad there is a six-seat model with a more comfortable second row, but this is not offered for Singapore. There is however a ‘Rear Seat Comfort package plus’, for S$8,500, which adds an extended centre console with wireless charging dock, a widened centre armrest, and a removable MBUX tablet.
Parking this monster is made slightly easier by a 360-degree camera, and helping you to keep it on the straight and narrow are lane guidance/correction and blind spot monitors.
The cockpit receives the dual widescreen setup now familiar in large Mercedes cars, with two 12.3-inch display screens, one acting as the digital instrument panel, the other a touchscreen system for infotainment display. A 13-speaker, 590W Burmester sound system is standard.
The GLS was the only German car of this size/segment (the luxury super-big SUV segment) to be offered here up until last year, when BMW’s X7 joined the party. The X7 xDrive40i and the GLS 450 are both closely benchmarked in performance and size. Infiniti still offers its colossal, whale-like QX80 for a relative bargain at S$363,000 with COE – and it has a 5.6-litre V8.
If S$400-plus thousand is too rich for your blood, but you want a Mercedes seven-seat SUV nonetheless, the new GLB-Class is on its way to Singapore, and offers a decent amount of room for seven people at what we expect will be a more decent price of less than S$200k with COE.