After years of being on the jury panel of the autoX awards (this is my 7th year), I’ve had my fair share of surprises – both in terms of wins and losses. At times, you’re pleasantly surprised by a vehicle’s ability, and, sometimes, you’re surprisingly disappointed! I think that’s because of the comprehensive criteria that we use to test each vehicle. And these criteria allow us not only to test and assess affordable cars but also cars that are superlative, irrespective of their segment and price.
And that brings me to the Mercedes-Benz GLS. There are many things that work perfectly for the GLS. Take its styling, for instance. Sure, Mercedes has a vast range of SUVs in its lineup today, but when it comes to design, the GLS exemplifies the essence of Mercedes’ current design language – except the G-Wagen, of course. With its controlled overhangs, vast wheels and tyres, and perfectly proportioned details, the GLS truly deserves to be the top dog of Mercedes’ SUV product range.
Now, Mercedes refers to the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs. And if you have trouble understanding what that means, all you have to do is step inside it and everything is self-evident. With its big, comfortable seats and exceptional space, the GLS ticks all the right boxes. Add to that the integrated mood lighting and the large dual screens, and what you have is a cutting-edge, futuristic-looking SUV.
The GLS is also brilliant in terms of refinement, which means that spending long hours in it is a breeze and a very relaxing experience. In fact, the refinement of our petrol test car was shockingly good – at times, we couldn’t even tell if the engine was running or not.
It comes with an integrated starter generator, which adds an extra 250Nm of torque to the engine’s already ample 500Nm, which ensures that you get instant acceleration every time you need it. Also, the GLS has terrific throttle response. The 362bhp from the 3.0-litre turbocharged unit is enough to push this big 5.2-metre behemoth from 0 to 100km/h in just 6.2 seconds. And it’s quick not just in a straight line, here’s a range-topping luxury SUV that you really can push on a racetrack – you wouldn’t, but you could if you really wanted to. And there’s a lot to be said for that.
Simply put, the GLS is not just Mercedes’ range-topping SUV, but also a highly desirable machine. There’s nothing about it that you won’t like. In fact, its ₹1 crore price tag is not only justified but also offers relatively good value for money, especially if you consider the standard equipment – like the stunning 13-speaker Burmester sound system. Also, despite its heft and size, the GLS is truly a pleasing product to drive or be chauffeured around in. Add all these traits to its wonderfully refined drivetrain and excellent quality, and it’s not difficult to understand why we rate the GLS so highly. Let’s put it this way, this is an S-Class that you can take literally anywhere. It truly is exceptional!
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