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Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the GLS. Its aesthetics are based on the confident presence that its impressive dimensions alone create (length 205.2 in, width 77 in). The wheelbase of 123.4 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than that of its predecessor, makes the vehicle beneficially longer and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasized by the understated, elegant side design. The GLS follows the design strategy of Sensual Purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favor of generously sculptured surfaces.
The front section of the GLS exudes a powerful presence: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated under guard in the front bumper with the bone- shaped air inlet grille, and the hood with two power domes. This striking appearance is emphasized day and night by the distinctive headlamp design. The GLS is equipped with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 2,000 feet (650 meters). The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, too. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lamps, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The two- piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-caliber, three- dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated under guard.
The interior of the GLS is all about luxuriously elegant aesthetics, as evidenced immediately by the interior appointments that combine the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard’s design is an impressively sized screen unit embedded in a distinctive dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element extends to meet the doors.
The prominently wide, raised center console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the center console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sun blinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the driver’s seat. Very fine chiseling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces showcase the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sport steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV’s interior.
The GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (123.4 in, an increase of 2.4 in). This creates more space, especially in the second seat row, which can also be adjusted. Legroom here is increased by 3.4 inches when the seats are in their rearmost position, which also makes it easier to get into the vehicle.
The high aspirations of the Mercedes-Benz GLS are also clearly apparent in its engine line-up. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the comfort and effortlessly superior power that suit the characteristics of this luxurious vehicle.
The introduction of the GLS 580 4MATIC® will mark the world premiere of a new, electrified V8 gasoline engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter generator. It has an output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated starter generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
ISG eliminates the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design of the in-line engine, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for close-coupled exhaust after treatment. The 48 V on-board electrical system serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air- conditioning compressor, but also the integrated starter-generator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC® is also available with a six-cylinder in- line engine electrified with 48-volt technology. This sophisticated engine produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods.
4MATIC® variable all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off- road. In all variants of the new GLS, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears from one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is also fitted as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles.
The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Upgrades compared with the A-Class, in which the revolutionary system made its debut, include two large 12.3-inch screens as standard. The information on the digital instrument cluster and central media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. The presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver’s and front passenger’s hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the center console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the driver’s hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
In addition, there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror, for example. Furthermore, the driver and front passenger can each store personal favorite functions such as “navigate home” or “call office.”
A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next. For instance, anyone who often calls their mother on Tuesdays during their drive home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
Also available is a next-generation full-color Head-up Display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.
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