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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Overview

While the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, a 3-row luxury SUV, was refreshed for 2017, it still looks and feels new. The 2019 GLS-Class carries over unchanged, though the limited Grand Edition offers a more elegant take on the GLS styling.

The exterior look and feel of the GLS-Class is pure Mercedes-Benz, distinguished by a bold grille and eye-catching wheel designs. The Grand Edition, available in GLS 450 and GLS 550 trims, adds exclusive badging, active LED headlights, and 20- or 21-inch wheels, depending on trim level.

The three trims gets all-wheel drive (AWD) and each trim gets a unique powertrain. The GLS 450, rated for 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, features a 3.0-liter biturbo 6-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic transmission. The GLS 550 boasts 449 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, powered by a 4.7-liter biturbo 8-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic. The top-tier AMG GLS 63, powered by a 5.5-liter biturbo 8-cylinder engine and 7-speed automatic, is rated for 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is best with the GLS 450 4matic, which is rated for 16 mpg city, 22 highway, and 18 combined. Fuel economy dips to 14, 19, and 16 with the 550 4matic and 13, 18, and 15 with AMG GLS 63.

The cabin of the GLS-Class features high quality upholstery, comfortable seating, and wood trim, though the AMG trim gets aluminum touches. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power-folding third row, a power liftgate, and a sunroof. Upgrades include Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated and massaging front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The Grand Edition gets Nappa leather in Porcelain and Espresso Brown, a Nappa leather dashboard, coordinating floor mats, wood trim, and ambient lighting.

An 8-inch display comes standard in the GLS 450, though buyers need to check some upgrade boxes or go up a trim level to access more infotainment features. The Mercedes-Benz COMAND system is optional, along with a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, and a rear-row entertainment system.

There isn’t much data available regarding the crashworthiness of the GLS-Class; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted just one test on the 2018 model and awarded it a Good score. Standard safety features include a reversing camera, the Pre-Safe system that prepares the vehicle for an imminent crash, driver-attention monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, and forward-collision warning. The GLS-Class offers a multi-view reversing camera, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active distance assist with active steering assist, traffic-sign recognition, and parking assist.

The GLS-Class is a solid choice for a 7-passenger luxury SUV, coming with enough standard equipment to satisfy most buyers. Still, the available upgrades are tempting, and add up to a truly impressive vehicle. It competes against other luxury 3-row SUVs like the BMW X7.


Cherise is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor with nearly 15 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Cherise loves writing about car culture and sharing common-sense car-buying advice. She owns a 2019 Subaru WRX Series.Gray, 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT, 2007 Genuine Buddy Italia 150, 2015 Honda Grom, and 1979 Boston Whaler Montauk.

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