NY LIVE: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
April 17, 2019
By: Drew Johnson
Billed as the S-Class of SUVs, the 2020 GLS boasts several improvements over its predecessor. The most obvious is size -- the GLS is a couple inches longer than the previous model, thanks in large to a wheelbase that has grown by 2.4-inches.
Mercedes turned that extra length into more cabin space. Mercedes says second-row legroom in the GLS is up by as much as 3.4-inches, while the SUV's third row has been made large enough to comfortably accommodate two adults over six-feet tall. All three rows in the new GLS are electronically adjustable.
The GLS will initially be offered in two different trims -- the entry-level GLS 450 and the range-topping GLS 580. Both models will come standard with Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
The 450 model is powered by an inline-six gas engine that develops 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque on its own. The mild hybrid system adds another 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque over short periods.
The 580 gets a gas V8 rated at 483 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Again, the mild hybrid can provide an extra 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque when needed.
Included in the GLS' standard all-wheel drive system is an electronically controlled transfer case that can send up to 100 percent of the engine's power to a single axle. The GLS 580 can be further outfitted with an upgraded transfer case that includes a multi-plate clutch and a reduction gear for off-road driving.
In order to further improve the GLS' off-road prowess -- along with its on-road comfort -- all models are fitted as standard with Mercedes' AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping Plus.
An E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL system is also available as an optional upgrade. Operating on a 48-volt system, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL can control the damping and spring forces on each individual wheel. The system also has a CURVE function that, like a motorcycle, leans the GLS into turns to help improve cornering. A ROAD SURFACE SCAN is also bundled into the package and can ready the suspension for any road imperfections detected ahead.
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