The Mercedes-Benz line-up offers varying levels of luxury to cater to different price brackets, ensuring that the affluent have diverse options for mobility. Despite a trend towards downsizing to less status-oriented offerings, Mercedes-Benz affirms that the full-size premium segment remains significant as it introduces a refreshed model line-up for its “S-Class of SUVs”.

Mercedes-Benz has introduced the latest refresh of its SUV collection: the GLS line-up. In an era where affordability and fuel efficiency are prioritised at the lower end of the market, there remains a uniquely South African appetite for luxury at the very pinnacle of the motoring landscape. 

To showcase this, we recently sampled different versions of the GLS range in the Cradle of Humankind.


The GLS line-up is designed to cater to those who seek the pinnacle of luxury in an SUV. This new range includes several models, each offering advanced technology, superior comfort, and striking design. The line-up’s flagship, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, stands out with its opulent features and state-of-the-art innovations.

The GLS, akin to the S-Class for sedans, represents the pinnacle of luxury in Mercedes’ SUV line-up. This range, culminating in the opulent Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, features subtle exterior updates and significant technological advancements. The GLS 450 d, in particular, boasts updated drivetrain technology, marking it as the most significantly refreshed model. 

Like the S-Class, the GLS aims to deliver an unparalleled driving experience, combining performance with luxury.


The GLS range includes three iterations, with both diesel and petrol powertrains available. The top-tier GLS 600, featuring the Maybach moniker, offers ultra-luxurious embellishments and the unique, and somewhat frivolous, Maybach bounce feature.

In the R2 million+ segment for seven-seaters, competition is sparse. The BMW X7, priced from R2 million to R2.5 million, rivals the GLS with its luxurious offerings, while the Range Rover Autobiography, at nearly R4 million, also contends in this space. 

The Mercedes-Benz GLS line-up, however, occupies a unique pricing segment almost exclusively.


Despite the steep price tags, the GLS models offer significant value through their advanced features and luxurious appointments. Buyers in this segment seek more than just transportation; they seek a statement of status and a high level of comfort and convenience. 

The GLS meets these expectations with its high-end features, including the latest automotive technology and superior interior materials.


While the GLS may not be the most commonly spotted model on the roads, its exterior updates are noteworthy. These include a revised radiator grille with galvanised Silver Shadow louvres and new 20″ multi-spoke wheels. The rear features updated lights with three horizontal blocks and an underside guard with an additional 30 mm of ground clearance for off-road ventures. These updates ensure the GLS remains visually striking while maintaining its robust performance capabilities.

Inside, the GLS offers updates to the MBUX system, including personalised driving styles and augmented navigation. The Off-Road Mode on the infotainment system integrates telemetry such as gradient, lateral inclination, compass, and steering angle, enhanced by the 360° camera’s “transparent bonnet” function.

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 showcases additional features like vertical chrome bars, Maybach lettering, and 23-inch forged wheels with hidden bolts. Ambient lighting with animated Mercedes-Maybach patterns is now standard, and new paint finishes include sodalite blue metallic and alpine grey non-metallic. The latest steering wheel generation features touch controls for improved functionality.


The most significant features of the GLS are its dominating road presence and the vastness of its interior space. The spacious second row of seats, in particular, features reclining seat adjustments and an independent climate control interface. Despite some rutted roads, the ride was remarkably comfortable.

The 3.0-litre turbodiesel straight-six engine, delivering 285 kW and 750 Nm of torque, provides a smooth and powerful drive. The GLS 450 d, with its updated drivetrain technology, ensures a refined driving experience. 

The MBUX system’s haptic controls and Off-Road Mode telemetry further enhance the driving experience.

The GLS line-up incorporates numerous technological advancements aimed at improving both performance and comfort. The MBUX system, with its intuitive interface and advanced features, sets a new standard for in-car technology. The Off-Road Mode provides real-time telemetry, making it easier for drivers to navigate challenging terrain. The augmented navigation system also offers precise and informative guidance, enhancing the overall driving experience.


As the market for luxury SUVs continues to evolve, Mercedes-Benz remains at the forefront with the GLS line-up. This range not only meets the current demands of affluent buyers but also anticipates future trends in automotive design and technology. The GLS models exemplify the brand’s commitment to innovation, luxury, and performance.

Also, in response to growing environmental concerns, Mercedes-Benz has integrated more sustainable practices and technologies into the GLS line-up. For instance, the updated drivetrain technology in the GLS 450 d enhances fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. 

These efforts reflect the company’s dedication to sustainability without compromising luxury or performance.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS line-up is strategically positioned to dominate the luxury SUV market. With its blend of advanced technology, superior comfort, and striking design, the GLS appeals to a discerning clientele. As competitors continue to vie for market share, Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to excellence ensures that the GLS remains a top choice for those seeking the ultimate in luxury SUVs.


With limited competition in the three-row, seven-seat luxury SUV segment, the updated GLS stands out as a technologically advanced and luxurious option. Priced from R2.3 million to R4.5 million, affluent buyers have a range of powertrains and trims to choose from, ensuring the Mercedes-Benz GLS remains a top choice for those seeking unparalleled luxury on wheels. The GLS line-up reaffirms Mercedes-Benz’s leadership in the luxury automotive market and sets a new standard for what a premium SUV can offer.


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