Prototypes for Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation GLS have been spotted again. They hint at a more fluid yet still imposing design for the automaker’s biggest SUV offering.
Mercedes was smart to get into the full-size SUV segment a decade ago with the original GL-Class. The second-generation model currently on sale was rebranded the GLS for the 2017 model year as part of a naming shakeup at Mercedes, so this new GLS represents the model’s third iteration.
The new GLS is expected to trail a new GLE by about a year, meaning we should see it on sale sometime in 2019, as a 2020 model.
Compared to prototypes for the GLE, the GLS is much higher and longer. The two vehicles also appear to share design traits, with Mercedes’ Ener-G-Force concept from the 2012 Los Angeles auto show looking like it was the inspiration.
Underpinning the vehicle is a stretched version of Mercedes’ MHA platform for SUVs sized from the GLC up (excluding the G-Class). The platform is closely related to Mercedes’ MRA platform found in most of the automaker’s sedans and coupes and made its debut in the GLC.
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Powertrains should include a 3.0-liter inline-6 and 4.0-liter V-8, both with mild-hybrid technology. A plug-in hybrid utilizing the inline-6 should also be offered, as should a GLS63 with over 600 horsepower on tap. A 9-speed automatic and all-wheel drive should be standard on most models in the range.
There will also be Mercedes’ latest tech including self-driving systems. The most advanced should be a feature that relies on sensors and map data to automatically slow the car for corners.
And finally, expect the lux factor to be dialed up considerably. We’re talking to S-Class levels this time around. And don’t be surprised if Maybach launches its own version of the new GLS, possibly with the the last two rows swapped out for a pair of executive-style seats. Such a design was previewed at the 2018 Beijing auto show by the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept.