Mercedes-Benz GLS450 4Matic: Grand Scales And Designs

A brisk brute with smooth and seamless power delivery and cavernous cabin comfort being its hallmarks, the Mercedes-Benz GLS450 nevertheless has an unexpected sporting side as such tall and heavy luxury SUVs go.

Photos by Ghaith Madadha, on location in Jordan

Pitched as the SUV interpretation of Mercedes-Benz’ often and consistently class-defining S-Class luxury saloon, the GLS-Class is a highly refined, extensively equipped and massively luxurious big brute that packs plenty of punch. A different sort of animal than Mercedes’ long-serving, iconic and more off-road oriented G-Class, the 7-seat GLS-Class is a significantly bigger and more luxurious endeavor that first launched in 2006. Mercedes-Benz’ answer to the full size Range Rover, the third generation GLS-Class arrived in 2019, and now counts the segment late-comer BMW X7 among its chief rivals.

As imposingly large as ever, the new GLS-Class is however the most elegant yet, with a more harmonious overall design that incorporates softer yet more defined curves and smoother surfacing than its predecessors. Employing more subtle bulges and creases than previous incarnations, the current GLS-Class is a more refined and somewhat more understated design. Nevertheless, the current GLS-Class evokes a more assertive and athletic impression with slimmer and more heavily browed headlights and a larger, taller and snoutier grille, while greater horizontal emphasis lends it a more grounded and potent stance.

More assertive with AMG Line exterior styling, the driven GLS450 4Matic featured twin slat faux side bumper intakes and a deep lower mesh pattern intake, and staggered alloy wheels shod with 275/45R21 front and massive 315/40R21 rear tyres for a wider and more athletic stance, and additional road-holding useful for low traction tarmac. Equipped with many mod cons, safety features and driver assistance tech, the GLS450 features a standard 48V mild hybrid system, which scavenges kinetic energy through regenerative braking and powers electrical and ancilliary systems to reduce fuel consumption.

In a model range that encompasses European market diesels and three V8 petrol engines including ultra luxury Maybach and high performance AMG GLS-Class versions, the GLS450 available in Jordan is effectively the mid-range variant, but is far from being a slouch. In fact, it is quite the authoritatively brisk mover. Powered by Mercedes-Benz’ new twin-turbo direct injection 3-litre engine – marking a return to a smoother, inherently balanced in-line ‘straight’ six cylinder configuration rather than the outgoing V6 – the GLS450 develops 362BHP at 5,500-6,100rpm and 368lb/ft throughout a broad 1,600-4,500rpm band.

Silky smooth and willing from tickover to redline, the GLS450’s straight-six engine spools swiftly and is responsive off the line, building swiftly to a muscularly versatile and easily accessible mid-range sweet spot. Seamlessly rising to redline to a distant but viscerally urgent staccato soundtrack, the GLS450 belies its hefty 2,445kg mass as it sprints through 0-100km/h in 6.2-seconds, en route to a 246km/h maximum. Discretely un-intrusive, well-integrated and near imperceptible in its efforts, the GLS450’s 48V starter/generator hybrid system meanwhile pitches in for short bursts of performance enhancement when necessary.

Developing a further 21BHP and 184lb/ft, the GLS450’s 48V hybrid system operates various systems to unburden the combustion engine, and allows for longer top/start capability and fuel savings that allow for comparatively restrained 9.9l/100km combined fuel efficiency. Channeling its power, the GLS450’s 9-speed automatic gearbox much improves on Mercedes’ outgoing 7-speed unit, with a broad range of rations and swift and smooth shifts. Driving all four wheels with a seeming rear bias for rear-drive agility under normal circumstances, the GLS450 can however apportion power between front and rear as necessary.

Best driven in its sport mode settings with air sprung ride height lowered and adaptive damper taking on a firmer profile, the GLS450 feels more hunkered down and settled thus, with less exaggerated lateral movement over choppy roads and harsh bumps and cracks. At first impression, the GLS450 feels big and heavy as it is, but driven with more intent with sport modes engaged, it starts to feel smaller, more agile and even lighter. Meanwhile its electric-assisted steering was light and accurate, if somewhat clinical regarding feel and texture.

Turning into corners with rear-drive like agility, the GLS450 was adjustable and even willing to briefly flick out the rear in its sportier, less intrusive driving modes to pivot weight, before its front wheels tenaciously dug back traction and catapulted it onto the straight. Well controlling its significant weight from leaning too much through corners, GLS450 felt more dynamically resolved and even more comfortable in its lower and sportier suspension settings, where a slightly firmer ride proved worth the cost for a more vertically buttoned down ride quality on imperfect local roads.

Comfortable despite its massive 21-inch alloys and low profile runflat tyres, the GLS450 is at home on the highway, happily crunching long distances with greatly reassuring stability and superb cabin refinement. Thoroughly equipped with almost innumerable gadgets, the GLS450 however usefully features an extensive driver assistance tech suite with active braking, blind spot assistance, 360° camera and parking assistance to maneuver easily. The GLS450 also features multi-zone climate control and huge configurable twin infotainment and instrument screens, panoramic sunroof and a terrific sound system.

Accommodating seven passengers, the GLS450 provides excellent front and luxury car like middle row space, in addition to useable third row seating. Driving position is highly adjustable while the middle row features electric slide and tilt adjustment. Spacious inside, the GLS450 allows for a minimum of 355-litres luggage volume with all seats in use, but expands to a cavernous 2,400-litre maximum when all seats are folded down. Classy and comfortable, its cabin is decked with quality leathers and trim, and well-padded soft textures. Design is luxurious but not overly ostentatious, and emphasizes width with its horizontal lines, layouts and orientation.

Specifications: Mercedes-Benz GLS450 4Matic

  • Engine: 3-litre, twin-turbocharged, in-line 6-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 83 x 92.4mm
  • Compression: 10.5:1
  • Valve-train: 24-valve, DOHC, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 9-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
  • Gear ratios: 1st 5.35; 2nd 3.24; 3rd 2.25; 4th 1.64; 5th 1.21; 6th 1.0; 7th 0.86; 8th 0.72; 9th 0.60
  • Reverse / final drive: 4.8 / 3.27
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 362 (367) [270] @5,500-6,100rpm
  • Electric starter/generator motor, power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 21 (22) [16]
  • Specific power: 120.7BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight: 148BHP/tonne
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 368.8 (500) @1,600-4,500rpm
  • Electric starter/generator motor, torque, lb/ft (Nm): 184.4 (250)
  • Specific torque: 166.7Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight: 204.5Nm/tonne
  • 0-100km/h: 6.2-seconds
  • Maximum speed: 246km/h
  • Fuel consumption, combined: 9.9-11.4-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 206-215g/km
  • Fuel tank: 90-litres
  • Length: 5,207mm
  • Width: 1,956mm
  • Height: 1,823mm
  • Wheelbase: 3,135mm
  • Track, F/R: 1,669/1,692mm
  • Overhang, F/R: 963/1,136mm
  • Headroom, F/M/R: 1,051/1,022/988mm
  • Shoulder room, F/M/R: 1,506 / 1,485 / 1,278mm
  • Loading height: 824mm
  • Boot capacity, min/max: 355-/2,400-litres
  • Cargo capacity: 785kg
  • Unladen weight: 2,445kg
  • Steering: Electric-assisted, rack and pinion
  • Turning circle: 12.52-meters
  • Suspension: Double wishbone / multi-link, air springs, adjustable suspension
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs
  • Tyres, F/R: 275/45R21 / 315/40R21