Test drive Mercedes-Benz GLSSeptember 1, 2019
The creators of GLS compared the new product with its predecessor, ignoring the direct competitor of the BMW X7. The new Mercedes SUV arrived just in time. It remains to find out who whom this time
You can understand the indulgence of the Stuttgart: the first Mercedes-Benz GLS appeared back in 2006 and actually formed a class of premium three-row crossovers. In the United States, he finds about 30 thousand customers a year.
The BMX X7 was introduced earlier, so involuntarily tried to outdo the previous generation of GLS. It succeeded in length and wheelbase, but in the luxury segment it is customary to measure not only dimensions, but also comfort. X7 already has a “air suspension” in the “base”, and for a surcharge, rear-wheel steering and active stabilizers, virtual instruments, five-zone climate control and many electronic assistants are available.
Another starting point for the new GLS is his younger brother GLE, with whom he shares not only a common platform, but also a half of the cabin, the design of the front of the exterior with the exception, perhaps, of bumpers, and most importantly, the innovative E-Active Body Control suspension, which is not from a Bavarian competitor.
The list of standard GLS equipment includes Multibeam matrix headlights, each of which consists of 112 LEDs, dual-zone climate control, an MBUX media system, heating of all seven seats, a rear-view camera and 21-inch wheels. For an extra charge, an entertainment system is available for second-row passengers (two 11.6-inch screens with Internet access), a seven-inch tablet in the center armrest of the second row to control all service functions, as well as a five-zone climate control, which until now only X7. True, passengers of the third row in the Mercedes for some unknown reason are deprived of the privilege of controlling their climate.
The GLS is based on the modular platform MHA (Mercedes High Architecture), on which GLE is also based. The front end of the crossovers is common, and the interiors are almost identical. Inside, traditional and high-quality materials are successfully combined with high-tech monitors and virtual dashboards. And if you consider such courage a blow to traditional values, then such a transition will require getting used to.
When I first met GLE, the new interior was questionable, but now, six months later, the interior of the new GLS seemed almost perfect to me. What are the reference virtual instruments and the entire interface of the MBUX system as a whole, especially when compared with the controversial in design and non-alternative devices X5 / X7.
The system’s pluses include the “augmented reality” function for a navigation system that draws arrows of direction indicators directly on top of the image from the video camera. You can’t miss the difficult end.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is longer by 77 mm (5207 mm), wider by 22 mm (1956 mm), and the wheelbase has grown by 60 mm (to 3135 mm). Thus, he walked around the BMW X7 in length (5151 mm) and wheelbase (3105 mm).
All for the convenience of passengers. In particular, the maximum distance between the first and second row is increased by 87 mm, which is very noticeable. The second row can be made in the form of a triple sofa or a pair of separate chairs. Thin armrests do not indulge in luxury comfort, but are regulated by screw washers from below. The proprietary control system for adjusting the seats on the doors allows you to customize the seat for yourself, including the height of the head restraint.
A full-size sofa of the second row gives even more comfort. The full-fledged central armrest has a separate built-in Android tablet on which the MBUX application literally launches – it helps to interact with car systems. The tablet can be obtained and used as a regular gadget. You can also order two separate monitors mounted on the front seats. Everything, as in the S-Class.
By the way, unlike the BMW X7, between the rear seats of the GLS you can get into the third row, which is also noticeably more spacious. The manufacturer claims that a person up to 1.94 m tall can fit in the back. Although I am slightly lower (1.84 m), I decided to check. When trying to close the second row seat, Mercedes does not carefully lower the back of the second row seat to the end, so as not to pin down the legs of those who are sitting behind. There is so much room at the feet of the passengers of the second row that it is quite possible to share it with the inhabitants of the gallery so that no one is offended. In terms of the interior space, the new GLS looks much more advantageous, claims to be a leader in the class and receives a “credit” in the “S-class”.
As for appearance, the GLS has become less aggressive, which for many at first glance may seem like a step back. I will not hide, from the first published photos GLS seemed to me asexual. This unisex is explained by the fact that in the main US market, a woman is likely to be driving this car. On the other hand, all my reproaches Mercedes managers went with a trump card: “Not enough aggression? Then take the version in the AMG body kit.”
The state of Utah, where the acquaintance with the new GLS was held, made it possible to evaluate the car in different conditions. The name “Utah” comes from the name of the people of Utah and means “people of the mountains.” In addition to the mountains, we managed to drive here along the highway, and on serpentines, and in impassable sections.
For the test, all modifications were available. Acquaintance began with the GLS 450 version. The in-line six-cylinder engine produces 367 liters. with. and 500 N · m of torque, and another 250 N · m of torque and 22 liters. with. Available through EQ Boost for short periods of time. Most likely, the GLS 450 will be popular in all “non-weekly” countries, including the United States.
Both engines are good. The start of the gasoline engine can not be heard thanks to the starter-generator, which makes this process almost instant. With all my love for diesels, I can’t say that the 400d looked somehow particularly advantageous. The cabin is quiet, but a typical diesel pickup at low speeds is not observed. In this regard, the 450th looks no worse. The difference, perhaps, will manifest itself only in fuel consumption.
GLS 580 with a V8 that delivers 489 liters. with. and 700 N · m paired with a starter-generator, receives another 22 additional hp and 250 Newton meters. Such a car accelerates to 100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds. Available in our market, the diesel version of the GLS 400d delivers 330 liters. with. and the same impressive 700 N · m, and acceleration to 100 km / h, although a little inferior, but also impressive – 6.3 seconds.
Unlike the GLE, the older brother has the Airmatic air suspension already at the base. In addition, Mercedes also offers the E-Active Body Control hydropneumatic suspension, which consists of hydraulic accumulators installed on each rack, and powerful servos that constantly adjust the compression and rebound levels.
We already met her during the GLE test in Texas, but then, due to the rather boring traffic situation, we could not try it out. Against the background of the E-Active Body Control and the usual air suspension seemed no worse. However, Utah’s mountain serpentines and rugged sections nevertheless revealed its advantages.
This suspension does not have anti-roll bars in the traditional sense, so it can be considered truly independent. Electronics help to simulate stabilizers – a similar algorithm sometimes helps to deceive the laws of physics. In particular, the Curve Control system counteracts rolls in corners by tilting the body not outward, but inside the bend, as the driver instinctively does. The feeling is unusual, but it looks especially strange when a car with such a suspension rides in front. There is a feeling that something is broken.
Another feature of the suspension is the Road Surface Scan system, which scans the surface at a distance of 15 m, and the suspension adapts, compensating for all irregularities in advance. This is especially noticeable on the roads, where we happened to be.
To test the off-road ability of GLS, a polygon for ATVs was chosen. The off-road vehicle with a length of more than 5.2 m on narrow paths was a bit cramped, but it was surprisingly easy to drive. Under the wheels – crumbly soil mixed with sharp stones. It was here that all the abilities of the E-ABC suspension appeared, which skillfully corrected all the flaws of the landscape. It was amazing to pass a hole without feeling it at all. There is nothing to say about the lateral buildup – usually on heavy off-road the driver and passenger swing from side to side now and then, but not in this case.
This pendant, although sometimes capable of deceiving the laws of physics, is still not omnipotent. Our colleagues from one of the Middle East countries were so carried away that the wheels still struck. Undoubtedly, all these electronic systems allow the driver a lot, but you need to break away from reality wisely.
By the way, Mercedes engineers showed us a beta version of a special application that is available in a multimedia system and still works in test mode. It allows you to evaluate the ability of the driver to drive on the road and accrues or deducts points depending on the result. In particular, the GLS does not welcome fast driving, sudden changes in speed, emergency braking, but takes into account the tilt angle of the car in all dimensions, analyzes data from the stabilization system, and much more.
According to the engineer, in the application you can score a maximum of 100 points. No one informed us of the rules in advance, so I had to study along the way. As a result, my colleague and I scored 80 points for two.
I suppose that many will be outraged by such a detailed story about the E-Active Body Cotrol suspension but times are changing. GLS in the First Class configuration with E-Active Body Cotrol will be specially delivered for connoisseurs.
After off-road, it’s time to drop by the sink, and for such cases, the GLS has a Carwash function. When activated, the side mirrors fold, the windows and the sunroof are closed, the rain sensors and parking sensors are turned off, and the climate system goes into recirculation mode.
Competition undoubtedly benefits both consumers and producers. With the advent of the Bavarian competitor, GLS will have to try harder to defend the title. So far he has succeeded. We look forward to the soon appearance of a super-exclusive version of GLS Maybach, for which the previous generation was not premium enough, and the new one just right.
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