Buyer's Guide

2021 Mercedes-Benz Gls-class
Select a Different Model (4 Available): GLS450
Fuel Economy $ 20 / 24 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 17/85 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 7/7
Horsepower 362@5,500
See All Specs
Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Opulent, luxurious interior
  • Strong mild hybrid powertrains
  • Great handling

Cons

  • Suspension comfort tuning needs work
  • Frustrating MBUX infotainment
  • Slow access to third row

The GLS-Class is the largest, most luxurious SUV sold by Mercedes-Benz that displays what the automaker is capable of. Last year marked the debut of the redesigned, third-generation GLS-Class, and 2021 introduces two specialized variants: the ultra-luxe Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 and the 603-hp Autobahn special that is the Mercedes-AMG GLS63. The enormous Benz competes with other full-size three-row luxury SUVs including the Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, and BMW X7.

What's New

What We Think

The longtime flagship of the Mercedes-Benz stable has been the S-Class sedan, but the GLS serves luxury buyers who insist on an SUV. No surprise, this is an elegantly styled, generously appointed, properly luxurious three-row flagship. Even in the base trim, this cabin feels opulent. Third-row occupants will be a little cramped, though, and the second-row bench reclines forward for way-back access at a glacial pace.

Both the I-6 and V-8 powertrain options provide strong acceleration. The automatic transmission's shifts are more obvious than we'd like, though. Body control is excellent on the air suspension, but the GLS fails to deliver the magic carpet ride quality we'd expect from the S-Class of SUVs. The infotainment system can be tricky, too.

As a 2021 model, the GLS competed in our three-row luxury SUV comparison, finishing ahead of the BMW X7 but behind the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Although it was easily the sportiest and best-driving of the group, the Benz's competitors offered more luxurious-feeling cabins, there wasn't as much space as you'd hope, and its high price tag was hard to swallow.

Sure, there are areas for improvement, but the GLS' stable handling, great engines, and luxurious interior come together for a compelling (if expensive) package. Factor in the new-for-2021 proudly antisocial AMG athlete and ultra-luxe Maybach variants, and this is quite a lineup.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The GLS-Class offers twin-turbocharged six- and eight-cylinder engines, with multiple states of tune for the V-8. Both engines feature Mercedes-Benz's EQ Boost mild hybrid technology. Every model pairs its forced induction engine with a nine-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.

Model: GLS450 4Matic
Engine: 3.0-liter turbo I-6 mild hybrid
Horsepower: 362 hp
Torque: 369 lb-ft
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 19/23 mpg
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 5.8 seconds

Model: GLS580 4Matic / Maybach GLS600 4Matic / AMG GLS63
Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 mild hybrid
Horsepower: 483 hp (GLS 580) / 550 hp (Maybach) / 603 hp (AMG)
Torque: 516 lb-ft (GLS 580) / 538 lb-ft (Maybach) / 627 lb-ft (AMG)
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 16/21 mpg (GLS 580) / 14/18 mpg (GLS 63)
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 4.1 seconds (GLS63)

Safety

Mercedes-Benz includes a handful of driver-assist active safety features on its flagship SUV. Automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beams, automatic parking assist, and a 360-degree camera system are standard on all models. Adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic braking, autonomous lane changing, and road sign recognition are optional extras.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Most GLS models seat seven passengers across three rows, with a three-seat second-row bench and two passengers across the third row. The GLS580 and AMG GLS63 can be ordered with second-row captain's chairs, dropping capacity to six, and the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 is only available as a two-row with seating for four or five.

Legroom measures 40.3 inches up front, 41.9 inches in the second row, and 34.6 inches in the way back. In terms of cargo volume, the GLS provides 17.4 cubic feet behind the third row, but once you fold down the second- and third-row seats, that number swells to 84.7 cubic feet.

Technology

Every GLS features the dual-display dashboard implemented across the Mercedes-Benz lineup. In the GLS, it features two 12.3-inch displays for the instrument cluster and the touchscreen infotainment system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and integrated navigation are included on all models, as is a wireless charging pad. Audiophiles will be pleased with the standard 13-speaker Burmester audio setup, and those who go all-out can spring for the 26-speaker Burmester system.

Key Competitors:

2021 MERCEDES-BENZ GLS-CLASS SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
Engine Name
Engine: 6-Cyl Turbo 3.0 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, 9G-TRONIC 9 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Trim
GLS450
Class
Luxury Utility
Horsepower
362@5,500
Standard MPG
20/24
Body Style
SUV/Crossover
Drivetrain
AWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Premium
Seating Capacity
7/7
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
50,000
Maintenance Warranty Months
none
Corrosion Warranty Months
48
Powertrain Warranty Miles
50,000
Full Warranty Miles
50,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
48
Full Warranty Months
48
Roadside Assistance Miles
50,000
Maintenance Warranty Miles
N/R
Roadside Assistance Months
48
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated