Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – July 2021
If unlike me, you are the kind of person that owns a large corporation, and unlike me has a large family whom only travel business class, then you’ve come to the right place to discover a large seven-seating Mercedes-Benz which is arguably one of the most luxurious 7-seaters available anywhere on the planet.
Three-Pointed Star, Three Important Letters
The large front-end Mercedes three-pointed bonnet emblem represents that of a luxury automaker with so many firsts, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class represents a luxury saloon car which always is the go-to technological front map into the future. So what happens when you take S-Class levels of luxury and technology and embody them into a go-anywhere 7-seating SUV, well the Mercedes-Benz GLS is the result.
The letter “G” in Mercedes language represents the offroad capable division, the high riding SUV models in the line-up, while the letter “S” denotes a superior class of luxury, as for the “L,” well, I guess this is for long-wheelbase. All in all, this small paragraph sums up the latest-generation GLS Class in a nutshell.
Despite covering several postcodes with its enormous body size and presence, the GLS580 is powered by Mercedes Benz’s 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It’s good for 360 kW and 700Nm of torque, or a wave of power that makes this behemoth feel like a lightweight when out on the road. You can feel its hefty for sure but owing to the mass of power and effortlessness of its 9-speed automated transmission, the power delivery is buttery smooth.
Then there is the suspension. Riding on air suspension, the GLS irons over bumps and eats the kms of road approaching. This has to be one of the most comfortable large SUVs anywhere.
I keep mentioning the S-Class within this review because it’s ever so evident when you drive the GLS. It all starts with its ability to combine a home cinema, with a luxury road jet, a comfortable lounge with a light show, you name it, it can do it.
The seats are heated and ventilated up front and even heated in the rear. All the seats are electronically powered, and this vehicle is even fitted with one of the largest panoramic skylights anywhere in the auto industry. Once seated inside, you can choose your preferred massage, enjoy your favourite TV station, thanks to options such as a digital TV tuner, or soak up your favourite soundtrack through its Burmeister Audio 3D surround sound system. Every imaginable media source is supported and easily navigable through touch, central trackpad, or even full voice control thanks to Mercedes Benz MBUX.
The GLS is all about offering space, luxury, safety and comfort. Whether seated upfront, in the middle row, third row or even transporting a mass of luggage when you lower the electronically adjustable third and second row of seating, here you are getting a truly usable 7-seater.
Every imaginable safety system has been catered for, making this 5-Star Euro NCAP also one of the safest large suvs on the road. With the fully digital dashboard, instrument cluster and even options such as a night vision display camera system, from travelling a dark passage to tight town-based manoeuvrability and a dash of rock climbing in between, there is nothing to stop the GLS580 from taking on any adventure.
This is a vehicle built to cater for the discerning buyer, the kind of person who expects business-class levels of luxury, technology and sophistication all composed in such an elegant manner. A GLS580 with options comes in at around an R2million, but this is the price that one would expect to pay for a vehicle of its stature or something similar within this luxury segment. It’s of course backed by Mercedes Benz’s service plan, warranty and years of fine Stuttgart tradition.