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MSRP: $69,550 - 125,300

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS is a comfortable SUV with a quality ride and one of the most refined cabins in the class. For these reasons, it sits near the top of our rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Above-average predicted reliability rating
  • Handsome, spacious cabin
  • Smooth ride
  • Fewer standard features than some rivals

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLS a Good SUV?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS' attractive, well-built interior comes with three rows of roomy, comfortable seats. There’s also a generous amount of cargo space and numerous available features. On the performance side, this Mercedes also features a powerful group of engines, including a V6 that has better gas mileages estimates than many class rivals. In addition, it boasts composed handling with excellent road grip, and it delivers a comfortable ride. In short – yes, the GLS is a good luxury large SUV. However, some competitors offer more standard features.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz GLS?

The GLS is a great value with one of the lowest base prices in its class. However, there are some competitors that offer what the GLS doesn't. The Cadillac Escalade seats more people and has an available long-wheelbase model with a more cargo space. The Audi Q7 is a luxury midsize SUV with superior gas mileage and better agility than the Mercedes.

Compare the GLS, Escalade, and Q7 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz GLS?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS is part of a generation that began with the SUV’s debut for 2017. There are no major changes for 2018. That means you can save thousands of dollars by choosing a very similar used 2017 model over the new GLS. Check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017 and 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS »
We Did the Research for You: 38 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS review uses applicable research and data for this generation, which includes the 2017 and 2018 model years.

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How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz GLS Cost?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS has a starting price that’s just under $70,000. That’s one of the lower base prices in the luxury large SUV class. There are two higher GLS trims. The GLS 550 starts at around $95,000, which rivals or exceeds the price of most competitors’ highest trims. The top-of-the-line AMG GLS 63 costs about $125,000. In the class, only the Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz G-Class have trims that cost more.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz GLS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLS or Cadillac Escalade?

The Cadillac Escalade holds more cargo (particularly in long-wheelbase models) and offers seating for one more passenger than the GLS. The Cadillac also has a longer list of standard amenities than the Mercedes, including a more advanced infotainment system, a 360-degree parking camera, and automatic climate control. In the GLS, you have to spend a good chunk of change for these features. When it comes to performance, the Escalade delivers a smooth ride, and its V8 engine has plenty of get-up-and-go for most drivers. However, it fails to match the overall quality of the GLS. The Mercedes also has more maneuverability, better road grip, and much better predicted reliability. It’s the smarter pick.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLS or Audi Q7?

Despite being in the luxury midsize SUV class, the Audi A7 is a good alternative to the GLS. Though the Q7's engines are less powerful than the GLS' two available V8s, this smaller SUV is more fuel-efficient and nimbler than the Mercedes. The Q7 also comes with more standard features, including an easy-to-use infotainment system. That said, the GLS features more cargo space and a roomier third row. Still, both SUVs tout seating for seven and a top-notch cabin. Since either model is a good choice, cost will mostly likely be the deciding factor. With a base price that's roughly $19,600 lower than the GLS's starting price, the Q7 has a major advantage. For most people, the Q7 is the smarter choice.

Compare the GLS, Escalade, and Q7 »

GLS Interior

How Many People Does the GLS Seat?

The GLS seats up to seven people. Unlike some 3-row SUVs, the GLS provides comfortable seating for most adults in every row. The front seats are the most spacious and comfortable, however, and there’s excellent driver visibility.

GLS and Car Seats

There are four full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the GLS. The second-row LATCH connectors are problem-free. In the third row, however, the tether anchors are hard to find, and the lower anchors are set too deep in the seat.

GLS Interior Quality

The GLS has the look and feel of a luxury vehicle. The interior looks sleek and inviting, and top-notch materials cover every surface. This is one of the nicest interiors in the class.

GLS Cargo Space

Though it can’t match the long-wheelbase versions of the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade, the GLS has a good amount of cargo space. With all seats in use, you get 16 cubic feet of space, which is enough room for the family dog or a weekend’s worth of vacation luggage. Fold the second and third rows down, and you have almost 94 cubic feet of space, giving you the freedom to haul just about anything you can fit inside.

GLS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the GLS include a sunroof, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and an 8-inch display screen. Surprisingly, this Mercedes has a shorter standard features list than many class rivals, though many of the features you expect are available as options, including connectivity technology like a Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. You can also add the COMAND infotainment system. Though user-friendly overall, COMAND’s touchpad controller takes some getting used to.

Other available features include a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, navigation, and a Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen audio system.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

GLS Performance

GLS Engine: 1 for Each Trim

In this Mercedes-Benz, your engine depends on which trim you choose. The GLS 450 has a 362-horsepower V6. The GLS 550 has a 449-horsepower V8, and the AMG GLS 63 has a 577-horsepower V8. All three engines have twin turbochargers and all deliver more than enough power for most driving situations. The V8s, however, particularly the one in the AMG model, deliver significantly better acceleration.

GLS Gas Mileage: V6 Beats V8

With its base V6 engine, the GLS gets better fuel economy than most luxury large SUVs, many of which come standard with V8s. The GLS 450 gets 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. With its V8 options, the GLS’ gas mileage drops to around the same as many V8-powered rivals. The GLS 550 gets 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway, while the AMG GLS 63 gets 13/18 mpg city/highway.

Compared to a V8-powered rival like the Cadillac Escalade, you’ll save about $300 per year in gas money by driving the base GLS.

GLS Ride and Handling: Quite Comfortable

This Mercedes-Benz delivers outstanding ride quality, even over rough roads. The sharp steering contributes to a composed feeling when taking turns. And while not overly athletic, the GLS is maneuverable for its size. Standard all-wheel drive provides plenty of road grip in almost all situations.

Read more about performance »

GLS Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLS Reliable?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS has an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. Many luxury large SUVs receive scores above the industry-wide average of three out of five.

Mercedes-Benz GLS Warranty

The Mercedes-Benz GLS is backed by a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. Many other luxury vehicles offer similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

GLS Safety

GLS Crash Test Results

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

GLS Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include active brake assist, driver drowsiness monitoring, crosswind assist, a rearview camera, and Pre-Safe, which automatically tightens seat belts and rolls up windows before an impending collision or rollover.

Available features include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, speed limit assist, parallel and perpendicular park assist, a surround-view camera system, and Pre-Safe Plus.

Read more about safety »

Which Mercedes-Benz GLS Model Is Right for Me?

There are three trim levels to the Mercedes GLS, but most buyers will be fine sticking with the base GLS 450. Its engine delivers ample power for moving this big SUV, and while it doesn’t have the longest standard features list in the lineup, it's available with many features that come in higher trims. You can add plenty of features to the GLS 450 and still come in significantly under the GLS 550’s price tag.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

The GLS 450 has a base price of $69,550. Standard features include a sunroof, Bluetooth, an 8-inch display screen, mbrace Connect, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, driver drowsiness monitoring, crosswind assist, a rearview camera, and Pre-Safe.

Tons of features are available either individually or as part of an option package. These include a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, heated second-row seats, a Harman Kardon audio system, the COMAND infotainment system, a rear-seat entertainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, Pre-Safe Plus, adaptive cruise control, park assist, satellite radio, and navigation.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 550

The GLS 550 has a starting price of $94,950. The 550 features a 449-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 engine. In addition to the 450’s features, the GLS 550 comes with blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a surround-view camera system, park assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, ventilated and massaging front seats, the COMAND infotainment system, navigation, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Notable available features for the Mercedes GLS 550 include a Bang & Olufsen audio system, heated second-row seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, Pre-Safe Plus, and rear cross traffic alert.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS 63

The AMG GLS 63 starts at $125,300. This model features a 577-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, a seven-speed automatic transmission, and AMG high-performance brakes. Other standard features include Pre-Safe Plus, speed limit assist, a panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, and heated second-row seats.

The AMG GLS 63 comes standard with most of the features you can get in a GLS, but there are still a few things you can add. Options include a heated steering wheel, a Bang & Olufsen audio system, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS specs and trims »

The Final Call

Inside and out, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS is a fine vehicle. It’s comfortable, capable, and wrapped up in the luxurious package you expect when you hear the name Mercedes. With a lower base price than many competitors, the GLS represents not only a great vehicle but also a great value. It’s easy to see why this is one of the highest-rated vehicles in the class. If you're shopping for a luxury large SUV, it belongs on your shopping list.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If you simply want the best three-row luxury SUV on the market, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class should be on your short list. Offering first-class accommodations, the latest technology and a choice of four excellent engines, the GLS is a top contender in the full-size, luxury SUV category." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Whether you choose the eco-friendly diesel-powered GLS350d (delayed release), the pavement-devouring AMG GLS63 and its twin-turbo V8, or one of the models in between, there's little to deter anybody of means from considering this big Benz. … It all adds to an already extensive list of standard equipment, and at a price that's surprisingly fair for a prestigious luxury vehicle." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "All in all, face-lifting the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS is not enough to make it the S-Class of SUVs yet, but it is a leader in the full-size utility segment, and it should make for an interesting Big Test rematch against the Escalade." -- Motor Trend (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: August 16, 2018

Weakening Demand: So far in 2018, GLS sales have plunged 36.5 percent relative to the same period last year. However, it still is in the top three among luxury large SUVs in terms of sales this year.

Research more buying advice »
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