The new Mercedes GLS has been spotted testing in Germany, heavily disguised. Can it match the luxurious Range Rover?
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- Mercedes GLS spotted in camouflage
- Aiming for Range Rover and upcoming BMW X7
- Will be lighter and have more space
- Range-topping GLS 63 AMG will have more than 600hp
- On sale 2019
The new Mercedes GLS seven-seater SUV has been spotted testing in a camouflage wrap and body mouldings designed to hide the details of the car. It’ll be larger yet lighter than the current car, with a luxurious interior and hybrid power.
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GLS 63 AMG
The hot, AMG-tuned range-topper has also been spotted testing in the snow. The GLS 63 will have north of 600hp – around 20hp more than the current car – and will offer bonkers performance even in a large car like this. It’ll deploy a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that’s more modern and more efficient than the 5.5-litre V8 used at the moment, although it’s unlikely potential customers are too worried about running costs.
You’ll be able to spot the 63 by its flared wheel arches, two huge exhausts and bigger wheels. Oh, and by the massive new grille that’s borrowed from the AMG GT R supercar. The noise from the V8 engine means you’ll probably hear it coming too. It’s expected to go on sale in 2020 – a year after the standard GLS.
Despite the camouflage disguise, it’s clear that the aging GLS has been completely redesigned. The headlights are slimmer and the grille is even larger than the current model’s, giving it even more presence.
These spy shots make the new GLS look lower than the outgoing model, but it’ll be longer and just as wide. Through the camouflage a couple of sharp body creases are noticeable, but otherwise the bodywork will be smoother and cleaner than the boxy current car. At the rear, the boot opening looks wider and the brake lights get the same slimline treatment as those at the front of the car.
With the GLS aiming at luxurious rivals such as the Range Rover and soon-to-be-revealed BMW X7, the interior will feel very premium. It’ll be very similar to the interior of Mercedes’ flagship S-Class model, with a clean, luxurious design and lots of soft-touch materials, quilted leather seats and the futuristic dual-screen setup set to be rolled out across the range.
It’ll feature the very latest technology including self-driving ability, auto emergency braking and gesture control. The infotainment screen will be fast to load and will have super-sharp graphics, and a 24/7 concierge service could also be available to deal with a customer’s individual needs. The leather seats will be ventilated and heated and massage functions are sure to be an option.
The next GLS will be slightly longer than the current car, despite bus-like proportions already. The extra few millimetres in length, coupled with a completely new platform, should mean it has noticeably more space in the first, second and third rows.
Engines and driving
The new platform is also much lighter than the current model, spelling improvements in fuel economy, handling and acceleration. That said, it certainly won’t be a featherweight, and these photos suggest a lot of body lean – to be expected in such a large car.
Four-wheel-drive will be standard, and there’ll be one diesel and one petrol choice – a 3.0-litre diesel V6 and a stonking V8-powered AMG GLS 63 model. Both will see improvements in fuel economy (although the AMG 63 will still cost a fortune to run) and performance, with the AMG 63 set to produce more than 600hp. There’ll also be a plug-in hybrid version that should manage around 20 miles of silent electric-only running.
Price and release date
Judging by these photos, a production version is a fair way off yet. Expect it to go on sale in 2019, with prices starting from around £75,000 and rising to almost £120,000 for the AMG model.
The GLS is also expected to get a super-posh version by Mercedes’ luxury brand, Maybach, to compete against the Bentley Bentayga and long-wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography. With a few options ticked, that may well cost almost £200,000.
Mercedes GLS latest news (updated October 2017)
- Upcoming seven-seater SUV spied heavily camouflaged
- Looks sleeker than current GLS – but still huge
- Straight-six petrol and diesel engines
- V8-powered AMG model coming later
The next-generation Mercedes GLS seven-seater SUV has been spotted testing in heavy camouflage before its official release in 2019, when it will be up against the Audi Q8, BMW X7 and Bentley Bentayga. The GLS is one of a number of new SUVs coming from Mercedes in the near future, including an updated GLE and a completely new GLB small SUV.
While you wait for the new GLS to arrive, why not have a look at the outgoing model – there are impressive Mercedes GLS deals available on carwow. Click ‘login’ in the top-right-hand corner to sign up and configure a new car or browse our extensive range of new, nearly new and pre-reg stock cars.
Our spy shots are taken fairly early in the new GLS’s testing period, so it’s very heavily camouflaged. However, no amount of cladding can disguise the bluff front end, which will give the GLS an imposing look, similar to what BMW and Audi are planning with the design of the upcoming X7 and Q8.
From the side, the new GLS retains the same boxy shape of the outgoing model, but expect it to have sleeker body panels and swooping lines similar to those on the E-Class and S-Class. Expect it to have more passenger space in the third row of seats despite the swooping roofline.
Around the back, it’s an even bigger mystery as to how the production model might look – even the tail lights are covered up. That said, it’s fairly easy to spot the swooping rear bumper that looks similar to the current Mercedes GLC‘s rear bumper. The boot door, even with all that cladding, appears to be less vertical than the BMW X7 Concept one so the BMW might have an edge in boot capacity over the big Mercedes.
We’ve not seen photos of the GLS’s interior, but expect it to mimic that of the S Class limousine – after all, the ‘S’ in the GLS name denotes flagship status for Mercedes. What that would mean is large expanses of soft-touch leather surrounded by high-quality metal or wooden inserts.
The button-heavy dashboard of the outgoing GLS, which still has an archaic phone number pad, will most certainly make way for a couple of large screens – one for the infotainment system and one in place of the traditional dials. Expect to control the system via a rotary dial mounted between the front seats or voice commands which, ultimately, is a bit less advanced than BMW’s gesture controls.
The new GLS will be built on a new platform that focuses on hybrid drivetrains and more passenger space than before. If you’re more concerned by opulence than the number of people you can carry, then it’s worth waiting for the rumoured Maybach GLS that might have two reclinable chairs in the back in place of the three-seat arrangement of the regular GLS.
This is another area where nothing has been confirmed but it’s safe to make a few assumptions. The new platform of the upcoming GLS is perfect for Mercedes’ new range of inline-six petrol and diesel engines. Expect power to be in the 200-350hp range, similarly to the outgoing model. The new platform will also be suitable for hybrid and even fully electric versions of the GLS so expect them later in the model’s life.
If you want to transport your passengers even quicker, it’s a good idea to wait for the AMG 63 model that will probably use a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine making more than 600hp. That output makes it competitive next to the 6.0-litre Bentley Bentayga W12 but the smaller engine in the GLS can’t match the mountain-moving torque in the big British bruiser.
Prices and release date
The new Mercedes GLS isn’t due for at least a year, so expect it to be revealed at the 2018 Paris motor show, with UK deliveries in early 2019. Expect it to cost around £75,000 for an entry-level model and easily pass six figures if you want a Maybach or an AMG model.