The 2017 GLS450 has found the G spot




I hate Mondays, and Wednesdays aren’t far behind.  Most people agree that heading back to work after the weekend makes the first day of the workweek the least favorite.  As for the middle of the week some will argue like the glass half full, that Wednesday means we are halfway to the following weekend. The glass half empty people ( I include myself in this category when it comes to weeks) will bemoan the fact that we are only halfway through the week and there are still two full days to go. This doesn’t even account for the remainder of Wednesday which can add even more torturous hours depending on when the actual “oh my lord it’s only Wednesday” thought occurred.

None of this matters however, when you drive a Mercedes.  Just about any model will do.  That’s because like the old saying “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work”, driving a Mercedes is better than just about anything else one can do.  In fact, wheeling a Mercedes is like finding the perfect driving spot, the G spot of the road if you will. Everything else is merely searching for it.

This premise was reinforced recently when I was delivered the 2017 GLS450 for a week.

The GLS class is making its debut for 2017.  Think of it as a slightly updated GL class, which is no more.  There are styling tweaks, a touchpad-operated infotainment system with a larger screen, and nearly all the engines in the class get a bit more horses, and all (except the AMG GLS 63) get a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The S designation is the top of the line in luxury for Mercedes. Thus, the GLS is the upper crust of the SUV line for Mercedes. King of the hill, the pinnacle, the Big Kahuna, the Mighty Quinn. Well you get the idea.

What the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is, is a large seven-passenger SUV available in four models: GLS350d, GLS450, GLS550 and AMG GLS 63.

The only separator between the 350d and 450 are the turbocharged engines; the 350d is a diesel V6 (255 hp), the 450 a gas powered V6 (362 hp).

Both “base” models are luxuriously appointed with heated front seats, a 10-way power driver seat with four way power lumbar adjustments,  a power-adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, and driver memory settings. There’s also real wood trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, the COMAND infotainment interface (with HD radio) with both a control knob and a touchpad, an 8-inch central display and a rearview camera along with Bluetooth, two USB ports and a 115-volt household-style power outlet.

All this rides on a self-leveling air suspension with automatic headlights and wipers, LED running lights and taillights, roof rails, and power folding auto dimming side mirrors. There’s also rear privacy glass, a sunroof and a power liftgate, all atop 19-inch alloy wheels.

Mercedes is famous for their packages. The Premium package adds a power front passenger seat with memory settings, a navigation system, keyless entry/ignition and some added safety features like blind spot monitoring, and lane assist.  There is also the Lighting package with adaptive LED headlights and automatic high beams. The Parking Assist package gives you front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel-parking system and a surround-view camera system.  Stand alone options include three-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, a 13-speakerHarman Kardon sound system with a CD/DVD player, an SD card reader and “multicontour” front seats that add a massaging feature and adjustable side bolsters and shoulder supports.



The GLS550 starts with all that as standard and adds a V8 engine (449 hp) and 21-inch alloy wheels.  There are also adaptive suspension dampers, upgraded interior trim, soft close doors, and a few sporty exterior trim touches.  The optional Night package changes the wheels to black and adds gloss-black exterior trim.

Stand alone options for all three models include heated second row seats, “designo” diamond-quilted leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof and the Driver Assistance package with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot and rear cross traffic monitoring.

The GLS450 and GLS550 are eligible for the Off-Road package with an upgraded multimode terrain selector, a dual-range transfer case and front underbody protection; on the GLS450, it also adds the GLS550’s standard adaptive dampers.

As with all Mercedes, the AMG badge is performance oriented. The AMG GLS 63 starts with most of the above, but adds an even more powerful V8 (577 hp), a sport exhaust, unique 21-inch alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. There are also upgraded brakes, adaptive stabilizer bars (Active Curve System), AMG-specific styling elements inside and out, enhanced bolstering for the front seats, upgraded leather upholstery and a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel.

My tester for the week was the GLS450 with the Premium, Lighting, Off-Road, Driver Assistance and Active Curve System. I also had massaging front seats, which is easily one of the best add-ons ever.

During my week, I tried to find any sort of fault with the Mercedes, as a good car reviewer should.  However, the power under the hood was perfect, the nine-speed transmission shifted effortlessly, and the ride was smooth.  The interior allowed little in the way of the outside world to intrude, and every time I grew even a little tense, a few turns of the control knob soon had the massaging seat whispering , “everything is just fine.”

And indeed it was.

In the world of three row large luxury SUVs the GLS class has climbed to the top of the hill. It sets the standards for others to attain.  And on the final Monday morning I had it, my coworkers trudged by me in the parking lot heading to the office. I, however, was reclined in the front seat enjoying one last massage, and for once enjoying a Monday morning.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 4MATIC
MSRP: $68,700
MSRP (as tested): $96,250
Engine:  3.0-liter twin turbo V6, 362 hp @ 5500 rpm, 369 ft-lbs. torque @ 1700 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 17 city, 22 highway, 19 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions):  23 mpg
Curb Weight: 5,370

Exterior Measurements (in)
Height:  72.8
Length: 201.6
Wheelbase: 121.1
Width:  84.3

Interior measurements (in)
Front headroom: 41.2
Front legroom: 40.3
Front shoulder room: 58.5
Rear headroom: 40.0
Rear legroom: 38.5
Rear shoulder room” 58.3
Maximum cargo capacity: 93.8 cu.ft.
Maximum towing capacity (When adequately equipped): 7500 lbs.

All specs can be found here

Greg Engle