The Mercedes-Benz GLS, often hailed as the ‘S-Class of SUVs’, has received a mid-cycle facelift for 2024. Known for setting high standards in the luxury SUV segment, the GLS now arrives with a refreshed look, enhanced features, and technological advancements. I had the opportunity to spend a day with the petrol variant, the GLS 450, to evaluate whether this updated model elevates the GLS legacy or merely glosses over it.
The GLS facelift was globally unveiled in April 2023 and has now made its way to India as a 2024 model.
Design and Styling
The GLS has always been admired for its imposing yet elegant design. The latest facelift, while retaining its fundamental character, introduces noticeable changes. The front now boasts a bolder grille with prominent silver slats, housing a large three-pointed star – a design choice that some might find a tad aggressive compared to the more understated elegance of the previous model.
The new LED headlights, featuring an updated daytime running light signature, enhance the SUV’s visual appeal. However, their nighttime performance could be improved. Side profiles remain largely unchanged, save for new wing mirrors with logo projection and soft-closing doors. At the rear, the LED taillamps now carry a distinct 3-point signature, complementing the less chromed, cleaner bumper design.
Interior and Cabin Features
Inside, the cabin takes cues from the GLS Maybach, showcasing an opulent dashboard with fine chrome accents. The new steering wheel, shared with some of the latest Mercedes and EQ models, adds a touch of sophistication with its glossy black elements and touch-sensitive controls.
While the overall luxury quotient has increased, I found myself partial to the previous design’s charm. The front seats offer power adjustability with memory, ventilation, and heating functions, but the absence of massage seats in a vehicle priced north of Rs. 1.5 crore is noticeable. Seat kinetics for the front seats is a thoughtful addition for comfort during long drives.
The second-row experience remains spacious and luxurious, now enhanced with powered privacy blinds and access to the panoramic sunroof. The third row, best suited for children or pets, remains a tight spot for adults.
Boot space is adequate at 355 liters with all seats up, expanding to a generous 2400 liters with seats folded. The convenience of a gesture-controlled tailgate adds to the practicality.
Infotainment and Tech
The dual 12.3-inch screens continue to dominate the dashboard, offering a seamless blend of infotainment and digital instrumentation. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are welcome additions. Rear passengers now enjoy 11.6-inch multimedia displays as standard, along with a personal tablet for controlling various functions.
Safety remains a priority, with 9 airbags, 360-degree cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and a suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), ensuring a secure driving environment.
Engine and Performance
The GLS 450’s 3.0-liter in-line-6-cylinder petrol engine, complemented by a mild hybrid system, delivers robust performance. The 9-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel-drive system ensure a smooth and responsive drive, though the suspension setup could be more forgiving on rougher roads.
GLS 400d Diesel
3-litre six-cylinder turbo-petrol
Despite its size, the GLS manages body roll effectively, offering a surprisingly sporty driving experience. The AirMatic suspension, with adjustable height and ground clearance, adds versatility to its on- and off-road capabilities.
Verdict and Price Expectation
While the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS facelift brings forth significant visual enhancements and tech upgrades, the changes feel more evolutionary than revolutionary. Its closest competitor, the BMW X7, poses a strong challenge in terms of value and features. The success of this facelifted GLS in India will largely depend on its pricing strategy, which needs to be competitive to sustain its position as a segment leader.