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Mercedes GLS revealed in New York

Mercedes-Benz has revealed a new, third-generation version of its luxurious seven-seat SUV flagship, the GLS at this year’s New York motor show.

Longer (+77mm) and wider (+22mm) with an extended wheelbase (+60mm), the new GLS features three electrically-adjustable seat rows, with the two third row seats claimed to be capable of accommodating passengers up to 1.94m tall.

The second and third row seats are both able to fold flat into the floor to maximise load space, and a special order six-seat version (standard configuration in the USA) is offered for the first time with a pair of individual seats in the second row.

Third row seating is said to be capable of accommodating passengers up to 1.94m tall.
Third row seating is said to be capable of accommodating passengers up to 1.94m tall.

Despite the car’s increased dimensions, a revised exterior design has resulted in a lower drag-coefficient of 0.32 (was 0.35), an exceptional number for such a large vehicle.

Petrol engine choices range across in-line six and V8, with the GLS 580 4Matic introducing an electrified V8 with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter-generator delivering 360kW/700 (with an extra 16kW/250Nm available via ‘EQ Boost’ for short periods).

The two in-line six-cylinder turbo-diesel engines in the launch line-up are claimed to comply with the Euro 6d (Real Driving Emissions) standard, which comes into force on 1 January 2020.

All variants feature a nine-speed automatic transmission, with drive going to all four wheels via the brand’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system. A full transfer case for hardcore off-road driving is available as an option.

The new GLS is equipped with Benz’s latest suite of active safety tech as well air suspension, ‘E-Active’ body control and (optionally) ‘Road Surface Scan’, which uses a stereo multi-purpose camera to scan the road surface so the suspension can prepare for irregularities in advance.

Mercedes-Benz Australia says it is expecting first deliveries of the new GLS in the fourth quarter of this year, with the local line-up, pricing and spec “confirmed in due course.” For context, pricing for the current (out-going) GLS range covers a close to $58k spread from the GLS 350 d at $118,729 to the GLS 500 Designo at $176,400.

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