Comfort, refinement, performance among 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS pros
Finicky infotainment, interior space among cons
Overall, the new GLS is a very solid buy in the segment
You won’t really find a full-size luxury SUV that will disappoint. The new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is the latest vehicle in a segment that’s seen a host of redesigns in recent years with the Merc’ being the latest model to get a refresh. More than a refresh, actually, as this GLS is all-new.
If it reminds you of the redesigned GLE, you can be forgiven. The front fascia, the rear end and the interior seem directly taken off the mid-size Mercedes-Benz SUV. The BMW X7 and X5 also share the same kind of similarities. The GLS also takes over where the GLE left off in the comfort department, but more on that in a second. There are two versions of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS on the market at the moment, the GLS 450 and the GLS 580.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 starts at $95,500 and features a 3.0-litre, turbocharged six-cylinder with 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It can tow up to 3,500 kg. The GLS 580 starts at $117,300, has 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from a 4.0-litre V8 and reaches 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. The GLS 450 does the same thing in 6.2 seconds. Both are quick, the GLS 580 will be quicker and sound better. Up to you to determine if you need that performance. Our take? Like in the BMW X7 M50i, you don’t need it but you’ll love it. Still, our GLS 450 tester delivered just fine on performance.
But is it enough to justify buying a 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS over the competition? Let’s take a look.
Why You Should Buy a 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
It’s more comfortable than the BMW X7 and every other full-size luxury SUV save the Range Rover. It feels like a big cloud going down the road, but it never feels disconnected. The GLS and Range are equal in the comfort department with the GLS having the upper hand in terms of interior design and luxury.
Taking place behind the wheel of the 2020 GLS is a rewarding experience. The large screens housing the instrument cluster and MBUX infotainment system deliver on tech while the fine materials add a real touch of old-world luxury to the interior. We love the look of the BMW X7 inside, the but GLS again has the slight upper hand in terms of overall elegance. The only full-size luxury utility vehicle that can compete with the GLS in terms of refinement inside, in our humble opinion, is the Lincoln Navigator. We said compete, not beat.
Nobody has mastered the perfect balance of comfort and performance in an SUV like Mercedes-Benz. The GLE is the best at doing that among mid-size SUVs, and the GLS is the best in the full-size SUV department. The performance of the GLS 450 inspires confidence, there’s always plenty of power under your foot and the steering and handling are beyond what you’d expect from a 5,500 pound three-row family vehicle. It feels smaller than it is and honestly, you don’t need the GLS 580.
The overall infotainment system is easy to navigate, intuitive, and packs one of the more advanced systems in the business with MBUX. It’s not all good (see below), but buyers wanting the latest tech will love it.
Despite a hefty price tag, the GLS is one of the better values in the segment when it comes to features for the money.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
It’s not the most spacious option for families. There’s 355 litres of cargo space when all seats are in place. The GLS and X7 are towards the bottom in the segment in interior space while the Lincoln Navigator, current and upcoming Cadillac Escalade, and the Range Rover are near the top. There’s a significant difference in space between the GLS and its American and British rivals, especially with all seats in place.
The MBUX system is impressive and the voice commands do work most of the time, but you know works all of the time? Using your fingers to change a setting or adjust the climate controls.
Getting one may be a problem. The GLS isn’t easy to find so getting the exact configuration and trim you want may be difficult. That may not be the case always, but it is as we are writing this.
Reliability can be an issue, but it’s a bit too early to tell.
Final Word on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is among the best in its class in performance, refinement, and interior design and luxury. It’s at the top in terms of comfort and value. Where it struggles a bit is in the space department. It does concede a bit of sportiness to the BMW X7, but not that much. If you can get one and the space works for you, don’t hesitate.