Home / Reviews / Road Test / Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d Road Test – Gentle Giant

 

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d 4MATIC 1 web

Renamed, restyled and reinvigorated, the new GLS-Class makes its way to India at the top of the three-pointed star’s SUV stack. How much has changed? We take a closer look.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

 

Big forms are usually intimidating. In any folklore, giants have always been portrayed as humongous creatures with inversely proportional intelligence. How they figure that is beyond me. Left to the imagination, I’m sure most humans would portray themselves as the dashing members of society on the top of the food-chain they think they are. However, not all giants are big, bad, and dumb creatures who only get a kick out of clubbing. Some humans are that way too. Back to the giants. Some are actually really cool beings and they don’t look all that intimidating. Furthermore, they happen to be the nicest on the inside too.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d 4MATIC 2 web

The new Mercedes GLS-Class is one giant that fits the description. It’s 5.13 metres long, 1.93 metres wide and 1.84 metres high. It can swallow seven grown-ups, luggage and all, and can still get a move on rather quickly. In line with their nomenclature revamp, what earlier was the GL-Class now finds itself with another very special letter suffix: S. As the GLA is to the A-Class and the GLE to the E, so too is the GLS to the S-Class. And that means it’s got the spoils from the three-pointed star’s top shelf, some of which you can find in the S-Class. But the S will always be that much extra special. The Geländewagen’s larger but slightly lighter sibling (yes) may have an additional ‘L’ and ‘S’ that could very well mean different things to different people, but the essence is the same: off-road ready, tools all packed, adaptive air suspension, well-appointed interior, plush seating, and an air of quality all around. It’s a giant load of special. That about sums up the GLS 350 d 4MATIC in a nutshell.

Yes, the car we have here is the GLS 350 lower-case ‘d’, as with all new Mercedes models. The ‘350’ still refers to the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 with the same 258 PS and 620 Nm. The big change, however, lies in both the exterior face and the transmission under the skin. The GLS 350 d 4MATIC is a good 280 kg heavier than the equivalent GL 350 CDI 4MATIC was. The addition of even more choice material inside the cabin, more electronic driver aids, and a dual sun-roof all add to the weight. The new LED headlamps with DRL signatures look up-to-date and resemble the units on the S-Class and are joined by a pair of new LED tail-lamp clusters. The new front grille looks very sharp and seems like a modern-day rendering of the M-Class grille from a decade ago, the one which I, personally, like the most because it looks like a quality three-blade razor. But that’s nothing taken away from the styling. It’s massive, but the lines help mask its more than generous proportions well.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 d 4MATIC 3 web

A Mercedes cabin is always a great place to be in and the big GLS is no exception. Quality Artico man-made leather in a posh shade of brown cossets you no matter where you happen to be seated. The beige headliner and sun-blinds also add to the roomy feel. The sun-roof and twin sun-blinds — one for the front seat occupants and the other for second-row passengers — are also nice touches. Of course, the most important aspect is the luxury element it brings. The seats are extensively adjustable and offer great support. The second row is also spacious and affords good leg-room. Even the third row is good enough for average-sized adults and has good space. Getting them up or down is a breeze with two sets of buttons easily accessible from the rear door or the boot. The electrically-operated side windows, too, are a welcome touch. Furthermore, the auto climate worked brilliantly in the 40° summer heat to keep the cabin pleasant. Equipment upgrades include the COMAND Touch interface and Apple CarPlay.

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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