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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Detroit Preview: 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

      The oldest designed vehicle on the market finally gets a re-do.


    Mercedes-Benz released a preview of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class due to be released at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  The images, all of the interior, show a significantly updated G-Class with an interior now at the level customers expect from Mercedes-Benz.  Critics of the current G-Class point out the severely outdated build quality of the current model that does not fit its high price tag.

     

    The new G-Class gets the double-wide 12.3 inch displays found on other Mercedes-Benz models like the S-Class and E-Class. New steering wheel controls respond to finger gestures similar in operation to the screen of a smartphone. Much of the rest of the interior switchgear is lifted straight out of Mercedes-Benz's other models, while the seats and trim finally get the plushness expected at a $123,000 price level.

     

    If you're expecting the G-Class to look different from the current model, don't.  The exterior will largely look the same as the current model. The new G-Class will go on sale late 2018.

    Additional details will be released as we approach the North American International Auto Show in Detroit starting January 15th.

    Source: Mercedes-Benz Media Relations

     

    Press Release on Page 2


    It is an off-road legend and the ultimate benchmark for so many fans of cross-country driving: the G-Class. Since 1979 more than 300,000 vehicles have allowed their owners to experience adventures that would have been unachievable with any other vehicle. Outwardly, the "G" has changed very little. But in fact this  very  special  off-roader  has  constantly  reinvented itself. With its completely updated interior and numerous new features, the G-Class has now undergone the  most  significant  transformation  of  its almost 40-year career, in technical as well as stylistic terms - while staying  true to itself.

    Iconic elements continue to serve very specific purposes, now as then, and to give the G-Class its unique appearance. All these are still to be found in the new G-Class: the distinctive door handles and the characteristic closing sound, the robust exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the prominent indicator lights. It is extraordinary features like these that combine with the off-roader's angular lines to define its special look.

    Interior: as luxurious as it is authentic

    That this is a contemporary interpretation of a legend is also evident, for example, from the car's clear, geometric lines: climbing aboard the G-Class reveals styling elements from the exterior transposed into the interior. The shape of the round headlamps, for instance, which is reflected in the air vents on either side. Or the design of the iconic indicators, found again in the shape of the loudspeakers.

    Hallmarks of the G-Class include the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chrome-highlighted switches for the differential locks, positioned in clear view. Both have been meticulously optimized and retained as characteristic features.

    G-Class drivers are able to control the full infotainment system without taking their hands off the steering wheel. The touch-sensitive Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel respond to swiping motions in the same way as the surface of a smartphone. Thanks to haptic impulses and additional feedback from the onboard speakers, the driver can use the touchpad without looking away from the road. The input options are rounded off by shortcut keys in front of the Controller for frequently accessed operating tasks, and by the optional control array for the driving assistance systems above the rotary light switch. The driver sits up close to the windscreen and enjoys good all-round visibility from behind the wheel.

    The very clearly laid-out and completely redesigned instrument panel features timeless tube-look analogue dials as standard. In other words, fans of classic round instruments will certainly not be disappointed in the new G-Class. As in the new E and S-Class, an alternative instrument panel in the form of a large display screen showing virtual instruments in the driver's direct field of vision and a central display above the center console is available as an option. Two 12.3-inch displays blend visually into a wide-screen cockpit beneath a shared glass cover. Drivers can choose between three different styles for the displays – "Classic," "Sport" and "Progressive" – and also configure relevant information and views according to their individual needs.

    High-quality materials and added comfort

    With its unmistakable character and high-quality appointments, the G-Class has always managed to combine off-road capability and luxury in a particularly harmonious way. Even in its standard specification, the G-Class's timeless and authentic open-pore wood trim gives it an air of classical elegance. Its stylish details include the generous use of high-quality metal or carbon fiber trim, and its leather seats.

    "Every G-Class must be put to the test on the Schöckl." And this was the motto that headed the list of requirement specifications when it came to redesigning this classic among off-roaders. It refers to the Graz plant's local mountain, used by Mercedes-Benz for its hard – and some say even merciless - testing, and which each off-roader must be able to conquer. Which is why every "G" bears a certification mark in the form of a "Schöckl" badge at the base of its B-pillar.

    The doors are very solid, clear evidence of that hallmark "G" functionality. The stowage space concept has been thoroughly overhauled, with numerous new

    storage areas ensuring that everything has a home. Under the armrest, for example, is an illuminated compartment for small items. In front of the touchpad in the center console are two removable cup holders. The rear doors are each capable of accommodating a 1-liter water bottle. The rear bench seat has a freestanding backrest, so allowing maximum variability and better visibility through the rear side windows.

    The standard audio system features seven loudspeakers. The Burmester® surround sound system with 16 speakers and a 590 watt amplifier with Digital Sound Processing is available as optional equipment.

    The revised dimensions of the now larger G-Class do not only benefit the driver, but also the passengers in the second row.

    The most important data at a glance:

    Description

    Difference

    Legroom - front

    + 1.5 in (38 mm)

    Legroom - rear

    + 5.9 in (150 mm)

    Shoulder width - front

    + 1.5 in (38 mm)

    Shoulder width - rear

    + 1.1 in (27 mm)

    Elbow room - front

    + 2.7 in (68 mm)

    Elbow room - rear

    + 2.2 in (56 mm)

    The rear seats can be folded down to 60, 40 or 100 percent. The seats in the G-Class are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions such as the Memory function for the driver's seat, seat heating front and rear, and luxury head restraints in the front. As well as the special multicontour seats, features range from massage functions, climatized seats, fast seat heating and electrically adjustable lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger. The side sections of the seat cushions and backrests of the active multicontour  seats include integrated air chambers that fill or empty on a continuous basis according to the driving dynamics, so providing better support for the seating positions of driver and front passenger and, for example, offering more lateral support during cornering. The front seats of the Active Multicontour Seat package are recommended by experts from the German spinal health organization "Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.".

    Extras for the G-Class: two exclusive equipment packages

    There are so many variants for the new G-Class that it is extremely rare for any two cars to be exactly alike. This wide range of equipment options is made possible by the fact that features from the designo manufaktur range have already been integrated into the standard equipment variants.

    Passengers are accommodated on seats in Lugano leather in Black, Nut Brown or Macchiato Beige. There is furthermore a choice of two top-class equipment packages: Exclusive Interior and Exclusive Interior Plus. The Exclusive Interior is available in a range of seven colors. Three of these are elegant combinations of nappa leather in black and one of the designo manufaktur colors Platinum White, Yacht Blue or Classic Red. The package also includes a black designo roof liner in DINAMICA microfiber, along with air vents in silvershadow. The Exclusive Interior Plus comprises additional elements in Nappa leather such as the door trim, sections of the center console, the instrument panel and all the upholstery. A particular feature here is the seat design with dynamic diamond- pattern quilting. With this package, customers have a choice between the designo shades of Black, Espresso Brown and Classic Red. For the first time it is also possible to order a light-colored interior throughout, in Macchiato Beige – encompassing everything from the flooring to the roof liner.

    An off-road legend since 1979

    The G-Class is the top model among luxury off-road vehicles. It is not only by far the passenger car model series with the longest production run in the history of Mercedes-Benz, but also the forefather of all SUVs to bear the three- pointed star – this is why all Mercedes off-road models feature the upper-case G in their name.

    What began in 1972 with a collaboration agreement between the then Daimler- Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in the Austrian city of Graz is now a story peppered with superlatives and significant milestones. As it was back then, the G-Class is still built largely by hand in Graz.

    Right from the very first design, this was no ordinary cross-country vehicle. Product planners, designers and engineers designed a vehicle that offered a compelling combination of reliability, robust build and superb off-road performance, which nevertheless appealed to customers as a fully-fledged, comfortable and, above all, safe, exclusive automobile for recreational purposes.

    At the time of its market launch, in the spring of 1979, it was available with a choice of four engine variants covering a performance spectrum of 53 kW / 72 hp to 115 kW / 156 hp. Customers had the option of a Cabriolet with a short wheelbase or Station Wagon models with short or long wheelbase. In 1989, the vehicles in the model series 463 marked the beginning of an evolutionary process for the off-roader that was not just about keeping pace with technical progress. It was an evolution that also brought a steadily expanding fanbase and emphasised its character as an exclusive vehicle for any occasion. And, since 1993, a vehicle with an official name: the G-Class.

    The 25th anniversary of the G-Class was marked by the arrival of a very special model on the market, honed by Mercedes-AMG: the G 55 AMG Kompressor. Its eight-cylinder power unit (350 kW / 476 hp, 700 newton meters of torque) gave the robust off-roader an unprecedented level of performance and demonstrated  the tremendous potential of the G-Class.

    The G-Class's 30th birthday was celebrated in 2009 with a series of new equipment features, enhancing primarily the comfort and exclusivity of the interior. The ergonomically optimized front seats offered more support, while new designs and climatized seats made the veteran beast even more luxurious. Sales of the G-Class have increased continually ever since. Thanks to the  strong growth rates, the forefather of the SUV achieved a new sales record in 2016, with almost 20,000 units being sold within a year.

    New AMG engines, a markedly expanded range of appointments, an even higher-quality interior, careful exterior modifications and safety features such as DISTRONIC Plus as well as the parking aid PARKTRONIC ensured further enhancement of the off-roader in 2012. A year later, Mercedes-Benz expanded the product portfolio with the G 63 AMG 6x6: a three-axle off-road vehicle that combined the "best of three worlds", featuring as it did all the developments of the new G-Class generation, the robustness of heavy off-highway vehicles and the superior engine technology of Mercedes-AMG.

    The G550 4x4² added not only a luxurious interior to the equation, but also ground clearance of 45 centimeters and impressive on-road performance. Since 2015 designo manufaktur has offered customers the possibility to individualize their G with exclusive equipment variants. The extraordinary G 650 Landaulet made its own very special mark in 2017. It was the first of its type to emerge under the Mercedes-Maybach name and only 99 vehicles were built. With its superlative V12 engine, portal axles, electrically operated fabric top and exclusive equipment specification in the rear compartment, this  variant of the "G" was aimed at customers who want their open-top driving to be as exclusive as it is stylish.

    The summer of 2017 saw the 300,000th G-Class roll off the assembly line in Graz – a Mercedes-Benz G 500 in designo Mauritius Blue Metallic with black leather seats and contrasting white topstitching. Equipped with a range of off- road features including all-terrain tires mounted on black 16-inch rims and a sturdy roof rack, the anniversary vehicle embarked this summer on a new adventure. G-Class fans around the world determined the vehicle specification by voting for their favorite equipment and appointments on the official
    G-Class Facebook page. The future road trips of the 300,000th G-Class can also be followed on social networks.

    The new G-Class will be celebrating its world premiere at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and will go on sale in the U.S. by late 2018.

    Please note this information is preliminary; additional information will be provided at the time of the product reveal in January.



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    Nice, about time they dumped that 40+ year old interior with the cheap net bags and net cup holders all in plastic.

    Love that they took a page from escalade with a warm decent two tone coco Brown interior. Very nice for using a car dash in the SUV. :)

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    That looks gooooood.

    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Love that they took a page from escalade with a warm decent two tone coco Brown interior.

    They didn't take that from the Escalade at all... You could get a G in any color scheme you wanted today. 

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    7 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    That looks gooooood.

    They didn't take that from the Escalade at all... You could get a G in any color scheme you wanted today. 

    Warm coco brown was not on their pallet in the last few years, you could not get any color you wanted unless you went custom and paid a crazy price. Part of the standard colors available is what I was commenting on and that seems to now be part of their 2019 pallet.

    Interesting comparison of the 2018 Escalade interior dash to the 2019 G-Wagon dash.

    2018escalade2019gwagon.jpg

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    I know they're all "hidden" because the top of the page wasn't loading and finishing but they have multiple shades and combinations of colors available. Nothing from the G was taken from the Escalade's book. 

    Trying to build and Escalade I'm only seeing three interior color options and two on the Platinum trim. 

    G Interior.PNG

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    The G-wagon is more of a technical rugged off-road look.  The Escalade looks more sensual luxury.  Both designs have their place.

    Everyone here knows how much I've bashed the current G-Wagon... but this update looks pretty convincing to me and it might actually justify its pricetag now.  I'd like to see some updated powertrains, but the rest of the body shape could largely carry over and I'd be fine with it. 

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    41 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    Warm coco brown was not on their pallet in the last few years, you could not get any color you wanted unless you went custom and paid a crazy price.

    Everything pictured in the OP is available now. 

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    2 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Everything pictured in the OP is available now. 

    Crazy as I did not see them but really appreciate you posting them here. Thank you. Good to know they had it. :) 

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    Here's to hoping all the exposed screws & gaskets on the exterior are finally brought up to 1979 standards, nevermind 1939 standards.

    • Haha 2

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    Just now, balthazar said:

    Here's to hoping all the exposed screws & gaskets on the exterior are finally brought up to 1979 standards, nevermind 1939 standards.

    Maybe they will simulate the exposed screws & gaskets on the new one as a retro touch. 

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    1 minute ago, ccap41 said:

    Maybe I'm an idiot but I love the exposed hinges and screws. 

    It's retro but honest at the same time. 

    Kinda like the Ford Troller in Brazil.

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    1 minute ago, dfelt said:

    Kinda like the Ford Troller in Brazil.

    Or the Hummer H1...looked ancient by the 2000s.  Big price, but crudely put together. 

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    20 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Maybe I'm an idiot but I love the exposed hinges and screws. 

    It's retro but honest at the same time. 

    Hinges, sure.  exposed screw heads on the interior, definitely no.  On the exterior.. eh it depends where they are. 

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    I'm totally fine with them on the exterior but I can agree that the interior could have gotten cleaned up a little better.

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    9 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    I'm totally fine with them on the exterior but I can agree that the interior could have gotten cleaned up a little better.

    Totally agree that Bolts on the exterior like we see with the Wrangler, Hummer, Ford Troller is fine and a more butch off road type look. 

    Interior, they should have cleaned that up 10+ years ago.

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    Exposed hinges CAN have an industrial look to them, agreed. Even exposed screws -such as around fender flares, for EX- can 'work'.

    But too much of the G-wagon is just 50-yr old (or older) body hardware tech. Old MBs -and the G-wagon- are horribly outdated in body construction engineering. This is circa 1985, and on the flagship SL :

    0403111521.jpg

    Why is that thick rubber gasket so exposed? It's not 'rugged', it's slop.

    Edited by balthazar
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    It is a nice update, more leg and hip room, the new G-wagon is 5 inches longer, but that still makes it barely larger than a GLE or X5 and cut 350 lbs of weight, so all pluses there.  The interior looks much better than before, current decade styling and they kept the classic grab bar and locking diff switches, so the original DNA is still there.  

    This will probably be the #1 selling car in Beverly Hills and Dubai in 2018.

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    23 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    The G-wagon is more of a technical rugged off-road look.  The Escalade looks more sensual luxury.  Both designs have their place.

    Everyone here knows how much I've bashed the current G-Wagon... but this update looks pretty convincing to me and it might actually justify its pricetag now.  I'd like to see some updated powertrains, but the rest of the body shape could largely carry over and I'd be fine with it. 

    My thinking also.

    11 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    It is a nice update, more leg and hip room, the new G-wagon is 5 inches longer, but that still makes it barely larger than a GLE or X5 and cut 350 lbs of weight, so all pluses there.  The interior looks much better than before, current decade styling and they kept the classic grab bar and locking diff switches, so the original DNA is still there.  

    This will probably be the #1 selling car in Beverly Hills and Dubai in 2018.

    I would take it over a Navigator.

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    22 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    My thinking also.

    I would take it over a Navigator.

    Without a doubt! It's also probably a few feet smaller in like every dimension than a 'Gator so the need of the customer might be different but the current size of the G is perfect for me. It's not huge at all. 

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    1 minute ago, ccap41 said:

    Without a doubt! It's also probably a few feet smaller in like every dimension than a 'Gator so the need of the customer might be different but the current size of the G is perfect for me. It's not huge at all. 

    Thank you so much for taking this as a compliment on the Benz and not a slam on the 'Gator.  Would take the 'Gator over any BMW, Lexus, Acura, or Infinity SUV for sure.

    ...and being a few feet smaller also would be part of my buying calculus.

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    14 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Thank you so much for taking this as a compliment on the Benz and not a slam on the 'Gator.  Would take the 'Gator over any BMW, Lexus, Acura, or Infinity SUV for sure.

    ...and being a few feet smaller also would be part of my buying calculus.

    Personally, I'd probably take the smaller Benzes and BMWs over the Gator as well. I'm just not as comfortable driving things as large as houses, lol. GLE550e or GLE43 would be fine and over at BMW I'd like an X535i or 35d would be preferred. 

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      The GLS debuts a new engine with the GLS 580 4Matic. It is an electrified V8 with a 48-volt and EQ Boost, an onboard electrical system and starter-generator.  The base engine will be a GLS450 4Matic, a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 and EQ Boost. 
      As the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers in every way, especially those in the rear. Here are some key comfort features at a glance:
      Executive Rear Seat Package: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats Electrically adjustable seats throughout as standard, as is the Easy- Entry function, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row seats Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button Choice of either three-seat rear bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests in the second row Two fully fledged seats in the third row (for people up to 6.4 feet/1.94 meters tall) Heated seats and separate USB charging ports for the third row Five-zone automatic climate control available (standard on GLS 580) The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
      The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale by the end of the year. 
      Mercedes-Benz Press Release on Page 2


      The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is the largest and most luxurious SUV from Mercedes-Benz and, above all, offers more: more space, more comfort, more luxury. The confident presence of its exterior stems from its impressive dimensions, which are larger than those of its predecessor. One of the benefits of the 2.4-inch (60 mm) longer wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the trunk space, while the seats in the second row fold flat. Furthermore, a six-seater variant with two luxurious individual rear seat Captain's Chairs in the second row is available for the first time. Also celebrating its world premiere in the GLS is a new engine: the GLS 580 4MATIC will have an electrified V8 engine featuring EQ Boost - a 48-volt onboard electrical system with an integrated starter generator. The GLS 450 4MATIC will feature a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo engine with EQ Boost. The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLS will celebrate its World Premiere at the New York International Auto Show in April and will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.
      Also available on the new GLS, the sophisticated E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension paired with the 48-volt technology offers outstanding suspension comfort, agile handling and a high degree of off-road capability. Like the GLE, the GLS features the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The new variable 4MATIC system ensures great agility on the road and strong performance off the beaten track. The new GLS has impressive aerodynamics in its segment, with a global Cd figure of 0.32. It also has a new Carwash function, which enables the car to be prepared for entry into a carwash with a single press of a button.
      As the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers in every way, especially those in the rear. Here are some key comfort features at a glance:
      Executive Rear Seat Package: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats Electrically adjustable seats throughout as standard, as is the Easy- Entry function, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row seats Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button Choice of either three-seat rear bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests in the second row Two fully fledged seats in the third row (for people up to 6.4 feet/1.94 meters tall) Heated seats and separate USB charging ports for the third row Five-zone automatic climate control available (standard on GLS 580) "The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like almost no other vehicle," states Ola Källenius, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for corporate research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development.
      "The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "Powerful highlights of the off-road design idiom combined with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury sedan. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality and digital high-tech. In our view, the new GLS therefore offers the best of all these worlds."
      Since the M-Class was introduced in 1997, Mercedes-Benz has been building premium SUVs in the USA - the largest market for these vehicles worldwide. The full-size GL offering space for seven people was launched in 2006. In 2015, a facelift emphasized the luxurious character of this large SUV's second generation and also heralded the changing of the name to GLS. On top of that, the GLS is the market leader in its segment - just like the S-Class Sedan.
      At present, Mercedes-Benz offers seven models in the SUV segment (GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS and G-Class). The SUVs are a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand. To date, more than five million customers worldwide have purchased a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
      The new Mercedes-Benz GLS, produced in the U.S. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will be presented to the public for the first time at the New York International Auto Show.
      Exterior design: powerful presence
      Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the new GLS. Its aesthetics are based on the confident presence that its impressive dimensions alone create (length 205.2 in, width 77 in). The wheelbase of 123.4 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than that of its predecessor, makes the vehicle beneficially longer and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasized by the understated, elegant side design. The GLS follows the design strategy of Sensual Purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favor of generously sculptured surfaces.
      The front section of the new GLS exudes a powerful presence: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated under guard in the front bumper with the bone- shaped air inlet grille, and the hood with two power domes. This striking appearance is emphasized day and night by the distinctive headlamp design. The GLS is equipped with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 2,000 feet (650 meters). The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
      The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, too. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lamps, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The two- piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-caliber, three- dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated under guard.
      Aerodynamics: exquisite fine-tuning
      The new GLS achieves global cd figures as low as 0.32 - a clear improvement compared with its predecessor (cd 0.35) and an impressively low figure in the large luxury SUV segment. The excellent aerodynamics help to reduce fuel consumption and limit wind noise, one of the areas on which development work focused specifically.
      Special attention was paid to the underbody and the air flowing through the engine compartment because the hallmark SUV shape, with its upright front end and high ground clearance, makes these areas susceptible to low- frequency airflow noise. A host of details were optimized with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.
      Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive
      The interior of the new GLS is all about luxuriously elegant aesthetics, as evidenced immediately by the interior appointments that combine the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard's design is an impressively sized screen unit embedded in a distinctive dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element extends to meet the doors.
      The prominently wide, raised center console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the center console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sun blinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
      The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the driver's seat. Very fine chiseling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces showcase the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sport steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV's interior.
      Interior: generous amount of space in the second and third seat row
      The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (123.4 in, an increase of 2.4 in). This creates more space, especially in the second seat row, which can also be adjusted. Legroom here is increased by 3.4 inches when the seats are in their rearmost position, which also makes it easier to get into the vehicle.
      As standard, the second row has a 60:40-split folding rear bench seat with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests. Alternatively, it is possible to order the two luxury individual rear seats with armrests, between which it is possible to access the rearmost seats with ease. This is particularly useful when child seats are fitted in the second seat row.
      All seats are electronically adjustable. The same applies to the EASY-ENTRY function, which makes it easy to get into and out of the two individual seats in the third row. For this, the seats in the second row move a long way forwards and fold forwards.
      The seats in the third row are fully-fledged seats that are suitable for people up to 6.4 feet (1.94 m) tall and are heated for the first time. There are also two additional USB charging ports here.
      The new GLS has several climate control options: three-zone, four-zone or five- zone. If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control (as is standard with the GLS 580), the third row has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. This zone is supplied by its own, electrically powered heater and air conditioner.
      A push of a button is all that is required to stow away the comfortable seats and make full use of the trunk space in the GLS. The switches on the left and right of the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches on the front- passenger side in the C-pillar area allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. It is also possible to fold down all the seats simultaneously by pressing the "ALL" button. The carpet-trimmed backs of the backrests form part of a flat, practical load area. Another push of a button lowers the trunk sill by approximately 2 inches to make it easier to load heavy or bulky items.
      Even more comfort in the rear: MBUX served on a tablet
      Luxury in the new GLS is shared generously among all passengers, particularly if the Executive Rear Seat Package is ordered. It includes a 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row's larger luxury center armrest. The tablet allows control of all MBUX comfort and entertainment functions (see next section) from the rear seat rows, such as access to the radio, media, phone and a web browser. It can also be used to control the Executive Rear Seat Package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can seamlessly assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time too.
      The center console also offers a wireless charging compartment for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear passengers are indulged further still thanks to luxury headrests with additional cushions and the rearward- extended center console between the front seats with cup holders.
      It is even possible to order rear seats with a lumbar massage function and climate control as an additional option for the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus in the second row.
      MBUX with Interior Assistant
      The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Upgrades compared with the A-Class, in which the revolutionary system made its debut, include two large 12.3-inch screens as standard. The information on the digital instrument cluster and central media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. The presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
      The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver's and front passenger's hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the center console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the driver's hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
      In addition there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror, for example. Furthermore, the driver and front passenger can each store personal favorite functions such as "navigate home" or "call office."
      A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next. For instance, anyone who often calls their mother on Tuesdays during their drive home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
      Also available is a next-generation full-color Head-up Display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.
      Powertrain: all engines have an EQ Boost integrated starter generator
      The high aspirations of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are also clearly apparent in its engine line-up. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the comfort and effortlessly superior power that suit the characteristics of this luxurious vehicle.
      The introduction of the GLS 580 4MATIC will mark the world premiere of a new, electrified V8 gasoline engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter generator. It has an output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated starter generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
      ISG eliminates the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design of the in-line engine, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for close-coupled exhaust after treatment. The 48 V on-board electrical system serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air- conditioning compressor, but also the integrated starter-generator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.
      The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC is also available with a six-cylinder in- line engine electrified with 48-volt technology. This sophisticated engine produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods.
      4MATIC variable all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off- road
      In all variants of the new GLS, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears from one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is also fitted as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles.
      Also new, and available as an option on the GLS 580, is a transfer case specially configured for superior off-road driving characteristics. In addition to the controlled multi-plate clutch with torque-on-demand function, it also features a reduction gear for off-road driving.
      When driving on the road, and particularly when cornering, the two fully networked transfer cases with torque-on-demand function allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer.
      Driver assistance systems: even better support
      The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. These systems further enhance the level of active safety.
      When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is activated, the new GLS is able to recognize and respond to traffic jams or slow-moving traffic with the help of information from LiveTraffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. For example, when a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 62 mph (100 km/h) as a precaution.
      A new feature of the Driver Assistance package: when actually driving in a traffic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is substantially able to perform the tasks of keeping the vehicle in the lane and maintaining a safe distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 37 mph (60 km/h). In addition, restarting can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop. Once the traffic jam clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the speed preset for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation. If traffic signs differ from this, the sign posted speed limit is automatically given priority.
      Suspension: AIRMATIC air suspension as standard
      The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
      Carwash function: ready for cleaning
      One new standard feature is the Carwash function - which comes in handy, especially for a large vehicle like the GLS. When this function is selected, the suspension moves to the highest position, which reduces the track widths due to the axle geometry. This makes it easier to drive into a carwash as well as remove any dirt remaining in the wheel arches from the last off-road trip. The Carwash function also:
      Folds in the exterior mirrors. Closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof. Suppresses the rain sensor information so that the windshield wipers remain switched off in the carwash. Switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode and, after eight seconds, activates the 360° camera's front image to assist the driver when driving into the carwash Deactivates these settings automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 12 mph. Outstandingly intelligent suspension: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL
      Even better ride comfort and agility plus new functions such as recovery mode are provided by the optional E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which is combined with the newly developed AIRMATIC air suspension. This is currently the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat. Together with ROAD SURFACE SCAN and the curve inclination function CURVE, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL makes an exceptional level of comfort possible, and supports the claim of Mercedes- Benz to build the world's most intelligent SUV suspension.
      E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL operates with a voltage of 48 V. On poor road surfaces the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared with the preceding system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.
      The off-road functions include rocking mode. For example, if the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, this can help to free the vehicle more easily in many such situations. If possible, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improves traction and allows the GLS to rock itself free. Individual wheel actuation is another function for off-road driving. This allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the vehicle's alignment on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted. This also helps to increase traction and the torque at the wheel.
      E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL in the GLS also has the curve inclination function CURVE: like a motorcycle, the GLS leans into bends and thereby allows cornering in three stages with practically no centrifugal force. If the GLS is equipped with a stereo multi-purpose camera, ROAD SURFACE SCAN becomes possible: the camera continuously scans the road surface, while the suspension responds in advance to any undulations before the vehicle drives over them and largely compensates for them. In this way, the GLS improves the perceived road quality.
      The new Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.

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