Two versions of the overhauled 2020 Mercedes GLS have debuted, and the full-size three-row SUV will only be available as a mild hybrid. Not only has the SUV grown in size, but it also gets a new style and the latest new technology and safety features.
Making its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Mercedes GLS 580 4Matic is the first Benz to pair the excellent 4.0L twin-turbo V8 to EQ Boost, the brand’s 48-volt mild hybrid system. The mild hybrid system helps reduce fuel consumption, but also provides a boost of torque when needed and helps makes the stop/start system smoother. Altogether, this means this big SUV is going to be fast — it can accelerate to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. The V8 alone provides an already stout 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, but the EQ Boost system adds up to another 21 hp and 184 lb-ft.
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The Mercedes GLS 450 4Matic pairs EQ Boost with the turbocharged 3.0L inline six-cylinder, for a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds. The inline six outputs 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with EQ Boost adding the same 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. Both GLS models will get a nine-speed automatic transmission and AWD as standard, while the new E-Active Body Control suspension system, which is made possible by the 48-volt electrical system, is also available. This system is supposed to balance handling and comfort but also enhance off-road ability. You’ve probably seen videos of this tech in action on the smaller GLE — the suspension can bounce the SUV up and down to help it get traction if it’s stuck. An air suspension is standard.
This new SUV will be available with either six seats (with two second-row captains chairs) or seven (two bench-style seats), which doesn’t affect the price. The seats are all adjustable electronically and Mercedes says the third row should be able to fit an adult up to 6.4 feet tall. The third row is also heated for the first time.
Standard features include navigation, a Burmester surround sound system, 64 ambient lighting colors, wireless device charging, 115V AC plug, nine USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind spot assist, active brake assist, attention assist, active parking assist with a surround-view monitor, car-to-X communication, and more. A head-up display, augmented reality navigation, gesture controls, heated and cooled cupholders, executive rear seat package, heated and ventilated rear seats, driver assistance package with stop-and-go traffic assist, upgraded audio, five-zone climate control, and more, are also available.
The GLS will come with the latest version of Mercedes’ new infotainment system, MBUX, the highlight of which is a virtual assistant you can activate by saying “Hey Mercedes.” The AI system gets smarter the more you use it and drivers can speak to it quite naturally, not unlike how they interact with Siri or Google Assistant. The dual 12.3-inch widescreens (one is a touchscreen) will also come standard.
Built to compete with vehicles like the BMW X7 and Cadillac Escalade, the 2020 Mercedes GLS sits atop the brand’s SUV lineup as the largest and most luxurious model and will be available closer to the end of the year. The GLS will be built in Alabama.
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