2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 First Drive: This 3-Row SUV Will Have You Living Luxuriously Large
Gas prices may still be high across the U.S., but Americans still love their SUVs. It doesn’t matter if the SUV only has two rows or three and has room for six or seven; most American families will welcome it into their driveway. But there are different levels to the SUV category, and the luxury three-row segment is filled with many worthy rivals.
One such rival is the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450, which is the range-topping SUV in the German automaker’s lineup. It competes with other large three-row SUVs like the BMW X7, Audi Q7, and the Cadillac Escalade. However, the GLS 450 ups the ante by offering buyers a lot of luxury for their money. I’m driving this large luxury SUV for a week – here are my initial impressions.
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 offers plenty of opulence
There’s no denying that the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 looks extremely opulent. Starting from the outside of the car, the Twilight Blue Metallic paint job cleanly accentuates the car’s subtle curves. There are full LED lights on the front and back of the car in addition to bold wheel arches that house the 21-inch wheel nicely.
The subtle and clean look extends to the interior of the car. Sitting inside the GLS 450, you’re greeted with supple MB-TEX faux leather material on the seats, dash, and door panels. It may be fake, but it feels and looks nice.
There are also handlebars in the center console, which is an interesting touch. I’m not sure they exist as a design element or an “oh sh*t” handle for the driver and passenger when things get crazy.
The GLS 450 has plenty of storage and a comfortable interior
The rest of the interior is spacious and comfortable. There are plenty of storage cubbies, a large center storage console, and a wireless phone charging dock, but the tech doesn’t stop there. The large infotainment screen in the center of the dash looks nice and is easy to navigate through. I don’t particularly appreciate having to use the touchpad on the center console, though.
The climate controls sit below the infotainment screen. The GLS comes with a five-zone auto climate control, which seems like a lot but it’s necessary.
My tester for the week comes with second-row captain’s chairs, which is nice if you have kids who don’t get along. The seats themselves are very comfortable and supportive with their power adjustability. The rear-seat occupants get plenty of leg and headroom as well as some tech features.
There’s a household outlet back there in addition to two USC-C ports, a few vents, and a couple of small cupholders large enough to fit a baby bottle. The third row is easy to get into and is tall people friendly. My short 5-foot, 8-inch stature fits well with plenty of headroom, and there are vents and USB ports to keep the passengers happy.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS drives like a couch on a cloud
Have you ever wanted to float on a couch? If so, the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 is worth a try. Its AIRMATIC air suspension makes for a super comfortable driving experience and is easy on the passengers as well. I loaded the car with five passengers at one point, and a few applauded the GLS’ smoothness despite the lightly rocky mountain roads we were driving on.
The Mercedes GLS 450 also has plenty of power. Under its hood is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that pushes 375 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. There’s plenty of torque to get the three-row luxury beast moving up to speed, but it’s not very fuel-efficient. So far, I’m averaging around 15 mpg.
Otherwise, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 is a large and luxurious SUV that’s a pleasure to drive. It competes in a growing segment of large SUVs but holds its own with an unrivaled softness you can’t find in most of its rivals.