2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

Performance


MSRP
$70,150
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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.6

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS has great performance thanks to a trio of powerful engine options and well-balanced driving dynamics. A comfortable ride quality and decent fuel economy enhance the GLS' appeal as a daily driver.

  • "GLS-class buyers are confronted with a choice between two powerful, competent powertrains, and either provides ample motivation for this Benz brawler. An adjustable air-spring suspension adds versatility and off-road credibility to the luxury SUV. … There's no competition. The GLS is the most refined, best-driving vehicle in this set." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "Despite what we perceive to be shortcomings within the interior, the GLS remains a refined, capable companion on a road trip of any duration. … What separates the GLS from its competition is dynamic finesse, especially on the highway." -- New York Daily News (2017)
  • "Behind the wheel, the GLS feels very much like it did when it was called the GL, but that's not intended as an insult. It retains its predecessor's soothing freeway demeanor, surprisingly sporty handling, and impressive powertrain smoothness." -- Truck Trend (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 comes standard with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The GLS 550 features a 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The AMG GLS 63 comes with a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine good for 577 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque, and it’s paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The GLS' base engine delivers good power for everyday driving, while both of the twin-turbo V8 options feel more muscular. Throttle response is excellent, and the nine-speed automatic pairs well with both the base engine and the midrange engine. The seven-speed automatic is an older transmission, but it pairs well with the AMG’s engine.

The 2019 GLS gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, which is above average for the class. The midrange engine returns an estimated 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway, and the AMG GLS earns 13/18 mpg city/highway.

  • "The twin-turbo V6 is more than adequate in terms of acceleration and passing, and of course the twin-turbo V8 is exceptionally satisfying. The 9-speed automatic transmission remains a delightful companion to both engines." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The big Benz feels quick despite its bulk, and the numbers back that up: The GLS450 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds in our testing. The throttle responds quickly to accelerator inputs, and Mercedes-Benz's 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is standard across the GLS lineup. This adds weight, but it helps the SUV deliver power to the ground even in slippery situations." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "Undoubtedly, my preference is the GLS63, but the … GLS450 … [has] more than enough power to satisfy daily driving requirements. Notably, a 9-speed automatic is now standard in the GLS450 and GLS550, while the GLS63 retains the outgoing 7-speed automatic. … Regardless of which engine you choose, the GLS feels powerful at any speed, with plenty more on reserve." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Mercedes-Benz GLS has balanced handling and driving dynamics, with accurate steering and controlled body motions. Critics note that steering response and feedback from the road could be better, though. Ride quality is excellent thanks to a standard air suspension. All-wheel drive is standard in every GLS model.

  • "The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is supremely confident on slippery roads thanks to the Dynamic Select modes for the drivetrain, which includes a Slippery setting. … The settings are so good at controlling and maintaining traction that it may be too easy to forget that the laws of physics still apply; don't get overconfident." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "By all rights, the GLS-Class should drive like a short bus, because that's approximately how large this SUV is, but Mercedes-Benz has worked some magic with the driving character, employing a light yet accurate steering system to great effect. Not that the GLS is nimble, but neither is it intimidating to drive, and that's the important thing." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "Thanks in part to its standard air suspension, the GLS-class rides like the luxury cruiser it is. Bumps and pavement imperfections melt away in the standard Comfort setting; the available adaptive shocks stiffen the pillowy ride when Sport mode is selected. The GLS isn't designed for hard cornering, so drivers will notice body roll when pushing it hard, but for everyday driving, it delivers the coddling ride we expect from a Mercedes. Steering is accurate and keeps this big ute tracking straight on the highway, but there's almost no feedback from the road, and reaction to inputs is somewhat lazy." -- Car and Driver (2018)
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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

MSRP: $70,150 - $126,150

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