Home » 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 First Test: Big Luxury SUV Bliss

2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 First Test: Big Luxury SUV Bliss

Every model in the present-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS range was touched for the company’s 2024 refresh, from the loftiest Maybach and AMG models to the entry-level GLS450. The latter version of the big luxury full-size three-row also scores a more powerful engine in addition to updated looks and new feature content.

The segment is rife with distinguished heavy hitters, including those made by BMW and Lincoln. With its updates, is the 2024 GLS450 4Matic base model a better foil for them?

How Quick Is The Six-Cylinder Version?

Not unexpectedly, the least powerful GLS takes the longest in the lineup to reach 60 mph, even with 13 horsepower more for 2024. We were able to shave 0.1 second off the automaker’s 5.6-second estimate, but the turbo straight-six mild hybrid is still markedly slower than the more powerful (and pre-refresh) V-8 GLS580’s 4.7 seconds and AMG GLS63’s blistering 3.7 seconds. The recently updated inline-six BMW X7 is also in that ballpark, sprinting to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.

016 2024 mercedes benz gls450 side view

A better straight-line rival might be the more powerful but heavier Lincoln Navigator, which is a couple tenths slower to 60 mph. Really, though, any of these big premium luxury SUVs move with enough urgency that you won’t have to worry much about planning overtakes or matching freeway flows. We were even able to get the tires to chirp in Sport mode on some launches. The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450’s engine and nine-speed automatic transmission were almost always ready and responded with decisiveness and poise.

We say “almost always ready” because the gearbox did have a mind of its own during our at-limit handling tests, sometimes doing as urged in manual mode, sometimes not. The only place we encountered the behavior was at the track, though. Most of the time the transmission performed without drama.

Juking GLS

The combination of standard 4Matic all-wheel drive, air suspension—which comes with updated tuning this year—and optional summer tires make the GLS450 a curious test subject. As a tall, heavy SUV, its body motions were noticeable but occurred in a rather composed way. The SUV delivered excellent grip, though it’s empirically not as good as the 2023 X7 base model. The BMW holds on for an 0.88 g average in our lateral acceleration skidpad assessment, 0.03 g more than our test Mercedes, and is a full second quicker through our racetrack-in-a-bottle figure-eight test.

It’s OK, however, because the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 babies its occupants. That said, our test vehicle didn’t like every type of road surface, as stretches of fatigued pavement made the cabin drone with tire noise. In all other cases, the SUV rode like a big softie. And with the $1,100 Acoustic Comfort package, which adds more insulation to the interior and includes side windows with an acoustic finish, it was usually library quiet inside.

026 2024 mercedes benz gls450 front seats

Although devoid of feedback, the steering wheel was pleasantly weighted, and performance was direct. The brake pedal was similarly uncommunicative and soft, with a lot more travel than some may be used to for such a big vehicle. That said, it was easy to modulate, and stopping distances from 60 mph were decent, anywhere from 106 to 111 feet, just outside the 2023 X7’s best of 105 feet.

Practically Speaking

The refreshed 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 closes the gap in efficiency with the X7 base model, gaining 1 mpg each in EPA estimated city and highway fuel economy compared to the 2023 GLS’ 18/23 mpg city/highway rating. That’s better than most in the class, but the BMW’s 21/25 mpg is difficult to beat.

Inside, perceptions of space largely depend on which GLS row you sit in. The first and third rows can feel mildly claustrophobic for full-sized adults, in front because of the substantial center console, in back because of what seems like a low ceiling. But third-row headroom is still 2.3 inches more than the X7’s 36.6 inches.

The second row in our test GLS was the opposite. It felt wide open thanks to the available captain’s chairs, which make this SUV a six-seater. A massive standard panoramic roof also contributes to a perception of capaciousness.

Mercedes got the cargo hold right in the GLS, too. There’s more room behind the second and first rows than its BMW counterpart, 48.7 and 84.7 cubic feet, respectively. A powered liftgate, power-folding second- and third-row seats, and a switch that lowers the rear a skosh help make loading and unloading the Mercedes a breeze.

Living With It

There’s no shame in admitting we looked forward to climbing into the GLS450 every day for its escapism alone. Premium foundations include standard heated and ventilated front seats, a 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound audio system, and multicolor ambient lighting. Mercedes also equipped our high-end family hauler with the $1,750 Exclusive Trim, which adds massaging front seats and heated rears. Furnished with standard weighty metallic switchgear and an optional Crystal Grey headliner, $160 Natural Grain Grey oak wood trim, and $1,620 Bahia Brown and Black leather (a new colorway for 2024), the GLS’ cabin is an exceedingly beautiful place to spend time.

023 2024 mercedes benz gls450 dashboard

The post-refresh GLS still offers a 12.3-inch gauge cluster screen and a same-sized central touchscreen and redundant center console touchpad, the latter of which seems like a waste of space. At least the latest version of Mercedes’ MBUX user interface worked without issue. Plus, the display is a great size for the 360-degree camera system, invaluable for a luxury SUV (or any SUV) of this size. We liked the new flat-bottom steering wheel, too. The SUV’s build quality wasn’t perfect, though, as we encountered both a panel on top of the steering column that popped off and a sticking pop-out module at the back of the center console that houses the second row’s USB ports.


While objectively not a better performer than its BMW nemesis, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 is still an eminently capable and undeniably compelling full-size luxury SUV. It delivers plenty of useful grunt but seems to trade a small bit of sportiness in return for comfort and refinement. Cargo space is good, especially if you don’t need the rear rows, but above all this GLS aims for and mostly nails an elevated passenger experience.

It makes sense, then, that the price is similarly high. Our as-tested GLS is just shy of six figures by a couple thousand bucks ($2,270, exactly), which no doubt scares some people away. But optional extras account for $7,800 of that, and of those we’d only want the Acoustic Comfort and Exclusive equipment groups. That would put this 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS450 at $92,780—closer to $90,000 than $100,000 but still a significant amount. Not everyone will be able to swing it, but the ones who do and who are fans of the Mercedes-Benz aesthetic should love how even the base model can cosset as much as the top of the lineup does.

Source : MotorTrend