Mercedes-Benz GLS Review & Prices

The Mercedes GLS is the largest SUV Mercedes makes. It’ll seat seven people with ease and is crammed full of the latest tech, but its interior quality is mixed

Buy or lease the Mercedes-Benz GLS at a price you’ll love
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RRP £108,190 - £181,895
Carwow price from
Cash
£108,190
Used
£61,772
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wowscore
7/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Proper seven-seater
  • Massive boot
  • Very comfortable

What's not so good

  • Hit and miss quality inside and out
  • Can rock back and forth over bumps
  • X7 is more fun to drive

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz GLS

Is the Mercedes GLS a good car?

With more and more people driving around in high-riding 4x4s, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to look down one’s nose at the general public from the back of large luxury saloons. The Mercedes GLS solves this first-world problem – it’s gigantic in every way, and it’s essentially the Mercedes S-Class of SUVs.

It’s a bit like a Gucci handbag compared with a Gucci purse; both are very posh and very expensive, but one is a bit bigger and more practical than the other.

But just how gigantic is it? Well, the GLS is longer than a BMW X7, though it’s about the same as a full-size Range Rover. You also won’t mistake it for either of those, because it has a Mercedes badge the size of a dinner plate on its grille – now even larger courtesy of an update in 2023 – between LED headlights and above large air intakes.

At the side are huge alloy wheel options up to 23 inches, box wheel arches and illuminated running boards, while at the back, you’ll find a roof spoiler at the top and LED rear lights.

It's all very big and imposing, but there's not a huge amount of difference compared with pre-update models. What's more, our test car had gaps between some panels and a boot that was misaligned, as well as condensation in the headlights. Annoying in a family hatchback, disappointing in a luxury SUV...

Group test: Mercedes GLS v Tesla Model X v BMW X7

Subtle updates inside don't change the fact that the GLS has a more visually engaging interior design than a BMW X7 or Audi Q7. For starters, it has a huge one-piece screen for the instruments and infotainment flanked by two massive air vents.

Below that sit four further squared vents set into wood or metal trim. It’s not all good news, though – some of the car’s switches feel too flimsy for a car at this price level and there are some cheaper-feeling plastics at the bottom of the dashboard and doors. A Range Rover feels much more posh inside.

Still, Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system is one of the best on sale, and the introduction of the latest version only cements its place atop the podium. It’s also one of the coolest-looking setups around, with two huge screens that merge together to form one wide wraparound display through which you control everything from the climate control to the built-in sat-nav.

There are no issues with interior space, though. The Mercedes GLS is a proper seven-seater, meaning two adults will be comfortable in all three rows, and even three sat side-by-side in the middle row won’t complain too much – though an X7 is roomier with seven on-board.

The GLS’s boot is massive, too, whichever configuration you have it in; even with all seven seats in place, there’s more space than a Mercedes A-Class, and in five-seat mode it has more than an X7 or Range Rover.

Mercedes calls the GLS the 'S-Class of SUVs' and it's comfy and quiet enough to live up to that billing. It's just a shame it doesn't feel as high quality inside in places

You can choose between a petrol or a diesel engine with the standard GLS, while the high-end Mercedes-Maybach and AMG versions feature high-powered petrol engines. It's a shame there's no plug-in hybrid version for company car buyers.

Regardless, both engines offer punchy power that comes in handy for sprinting down motorway slip roads to join traffic, and once the GLS is at a cruise it proves extremely quiet and comfortable for the most part – though the air suspension can feel like it's almost skipping over bumps from time to time.

On country roads, the X7 is a more agile SUV, but there isn’t much in it and nobody is buying these cars for the way they go around corners. No, you’ll be more likely to see the GLS creeping around town, where its light steering, standard 360-degree cameras and parking aids make it easier to manoeuvre than you might think.

So, the Mercedes GLS is the S-Class of SUVs in terms of its size, technology and wonderfully comfortable driving experience, if not quite its interior quality. Even so, if you’re convinced, make sure you check out our Mercedes GLS deals for the best prices. You can also browse the latest used GLS models or see what other used Mercedes are for sale. Need to sell your current car first? You can do that through Carwow, too.

How much is the Mercedes GLS?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS has a RRP range of £108,190 to £181,895. Prices start at £108,190 if paying cash. The price of a used Mercedes-Benz GLS on Carwow starts at £61,772.

Our most popular versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLS are:

Model version Carwow price from
GLS 450d 4Matic AMG Line Premium + 5dr 9G-Tronic £108,190 Compare offers
GLS 450d 4Matic Business Class 5dr 9G-Tronic £118,190 Compare offers
GLS 450 4Matic AMG Line Premium + 5dr 9G-Tronic £110,190 Compare offers

When a car is referred to as the ‘S-Class of SUVs’ you know it ain’t gonna be cheap, and that’s certainly true of the Mercedes GLS. Prices start at around £108,000 for the regular model, but if you go for the truly opulent Maybach version, you’re looking at £180,000-plus. Performance-focused AMG models split the difference at around £150,000.

Ignoring the AMG and Maybach, the GLS is fairly well-priced compared with the Range Rover. Both start at just over £100,000, though it's fair to say the Range Rover feels more posh for the money. However, the 2023 update for the GLS has seen its price increase comfortably above the BMW X7, which starts at just under £90,000, while the Volvo XC90 is a bargain at £60,000 (though considerably less fancy).

Performance and drive comfort

The Mercedes GLS is impressively comfortable on the motorway, but a BMW X7 is more fun in corners

In town

Comfort is one of the GLS’s key selling points so we’re pleased to report that it is indeed a comfy beast. But beast is the operative word, because it feels very big on the road. An X7 shrinks around you a bit more, but the standard-fit 360-degree camera system is excellent and makes manoeuvring in a tight spot much easier. Even without the cameras, the large windows and big door mirrors mean all-round visibility is great.

However, while the air suspension is generally comfortable and gives the car a luxurious feeling, there's the occasional side-to-side rocking sensation if you hit a bump with one wheel, which is odd. It's a minor blemish, but a bit of a shame given the price and luxury image.

On the motorway

Out on the motorway the GLS is much happier, though. Here, its size is less of an issue and you can sit back, relax and enjoy the drive. This is where it feels closest to the luxury smoothness of an S-Class, though there is a bit of wind and road noise.

On top of this, sometimes when you go over rough roads or some undulations it feels like it rocks from side to side like an old-school off-roader before settling down, just like it does in town. On top of this, occasionally you will hit a sharp bump and the rear almost feels like it skips before regaining its composure, which is annoying for a luxury cruiser.

On a twisty road

The GLS is no sports car, and while the BMW X7 handles a bit better, the Mercedes certainly doesn’t embarrass itself. With that clever air suspension fitted as standard, the GLS doesn’t lean too much in corners so it has a hint of sportiness to encourage you to have fun. There is a sport mode, but it doesn't make much difference, so you're better off keeping the car in comfort.

So the GLS is capable, but its limits are pretty low, so don’t get too carried away. Particularly if you’re carrying six passengers who might find car sickness accelerated with some hard cornering...

Space and practicality

The Mercedes GLS is incredibly spacious inside and has a big boot, but the rear seat cushions are pretty firm

Unsurprisingly, given the fact that this is a bloomin’ massive SUV, there’s loads of space for those sitting in the front. For the driver, there’s plenty of adjustability in the steering wheel and seat so it’s easy to get a good driving position.

You will also find a good-sized cubby hole in the centre console, a space in the lower centre console and a hidden tray beneath the big screens. The door bins are a good size, and the two cupholders can be heated or cooled at the press of a button.

Space in the back seats

People in the back should be happy as well, because the GLS has a cavernous second row with loads of headroom and legroom. You even get electric adjustment to move the seat and can carry three abreast without having to get too cosy. The seat cushions are a bit firm, though.

Usually this would be the bit where we say the third row of seats in a seven-seater are only made for young children – or adults you’re not fond of – but actually you can even transport tall people here without too much issue. It gets a bit cosy with seven on-board, though – a BMW X7 is better in this regard – and moving the second-row seats forward is a painfully slow process.

Fitting a child seat is easy enough thanks to all that space, but the flap that covers the ISOFIX points folds away awkwardly and can get in the way.

Boot space

With seven seats in place there’s 355 litres, which is about what you’d get in a small hatchback. In five-seat mode you get 890 litres and with the second row folded down you get a massive 1,470 litres.

That’s a good chunk better than the Range Rover, which only has 229 litres in the long wheelbase seven-seat version, or 725 litres in five-seat mode. A BMW X7 is closer to the Mercedes at 326 litres in seven-seat mode, but its five-seat capacity lags behind at 750 litres.

You can fold both rows electrically in all but the base model, which requires you to manually fold the third row. There's a button to lower the rear end and make it easier to access, and you get underfloor storage with a specific space for the load cover.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Mercedes GLS interior is high-tech and looks fantastic, but there are cheap materials to be found

Mercedes has got the look of its interiors well and truly sorted, so it’s no surprise to see that the GLS has a stylish cabin with two large screens dominating the dashboard. It manages to squeeze in lots of funky details, like the square air vents and illuminated grab handles, without looking too fussy.

Those screens are both 12.3 inches and have the excellent MBUX software, which can be controlled by touchscreen, touchpad or voice. One particularly neat feature is the augmented sat nav, which shows a display of the road ahead with superimposed arrows so you know exactly where to go.

Although there are plenty of high-quality materials to be found, one disappointing aspect is that there are some scratchy plastics lower down in the cabin. We also found some of the switches quite cheap and flimsy, which you don’t expect from such a posh car. The Range Rover gets a more upmarket cabin overall, though the upgraded Nappa leather upholstery in the GLS is lovely.

If you go for the Business trim, you get a tablet in the rear armrest that can control various functions, as well as a screen attached to the back of the seats in front that comes with wireless headphones. The Maybach model is available with a four-seat configuration that gives you business class-style seats to travel in ultimate comfort.

MPG, emissions and tax

There's one petrol and one diesel engine available with the regular GLS, both coming with nine-speed automatic gearboxes and all-wheel drive.

The 367hp 450d diesel will be the best option for most, because it has a powerful engine that will be better on fuel than the petrol option. That said, although the official figure is 32mpg, we only saw 23mpg in our time with the car.

The 450-badged petrol makes 381hp, but even the official economy figures are up to just 25.2mpg. You would probably be lucky to see 20mpg in the real world.

If you want the most performance possible, you should take a look at the AMG GLS 63, which has a V8 petrol engine that makes 634hp. The ultra-luxurious Maybach model uses the same engine, but with a lower output of 579hp.

Regardless of the GLS you end up buying, it'll be an expensive car to tax. Both regular models fall into the second-highest first-year Vehicle Excise Duty band, while the AMG and Maybach are comfortably in the highest. It's difficult to recommend the GLS as a company car, because there's no plug-in hybrid to provide a lower benefit-in-kind rate.

Safety and security

Being a tech leader, the GLS has a huge list of safety kit and driver assistance systems. These include the typical parking aids (front and rear sensors with 360-degree cameras) and stability control, but you also have crosswind assist to stop the big SUV get blown out of its lane, adaptive cruise control to maintain your distance to the car in front in traffic, and a steering assistant to help you avoid obstacles.

The Mercedes GLS has not been safety tested by Euro NCAP, but the slightly smaller GLE was given the full five stars around the same time the GLS was launched. It scored 90% and 91% in the child and adult occupant sections respectively, which is impressive. Given the GLS’s similar structure and extensive assistance kit, it would be reasonable to assume it would score similarly highly.

Reliability and problems

There have been no major recurring issues with the GLS specifically, but Mercedes doesn’t have a great reputation for reliability and this is a very complex car, so there is a risk that you could face some problems.

Fortunately, the German firm offers a three-year unlimited mileage warranty on its cars that will give some peace of mind when buying new. You can also buy an extended warranty of 12 months, 24 months, or a one-month rolling contract.

Buy or lease the Mercedes-Benz GLS at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £108,190 - £181,895
Carwow price from
Cash
£108,190
Used
£61,772
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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