There’s quite a bit of hubbub about the BMW X7 at the moment, as it’s the first uber-large SUV in the brand’s history. However, it’s a newcomer to an already established class of cars and, while impressive, will have some very difficult competition. Especially in the form of the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, which has just been leaked ahead of its official debut.
While this is all-new, the GLS-Class has been around for awhile (previously known as the GL-Class). In fact, along with the Range Rover, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class has been the main player in the segment. So now that the X7 is here, it’s set to take on the newest version of an established contender, which is no easy task. It’s actually an especially difficult task with the GLS because Mercedes-Benz has been making SUVs for a lot longer than BMW has and knows a thing or two more than BMW about make a luxury off-roader.
So how does this new Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class look? Well, it looks like a Mercedes-Benz SUV, only bigger. That’s not a bad thing, as it’s a handsome car. It’s big, smooth and premium looking. Its design features are nicely rounded and it looks as expensive as it will be. Personally, I like a lot of its design more than the BMW X7. While a great car in its own right, the exterior styling of the X7 just doesn’t blow my skirt up. Still, I can understand some customers preferring the Bimmer’s sharper, more aggressive style over this GLS’s smoother, more elegant design.
On the inside, it’s very much a modern Mercedes-Benz. In the same way that the X7 sports a predictable, if a bit more luxurious, BMW interior design, the GLS-Class has a predictably Mercedes-like interior. It’s handsome and elegant enough and customers will likely love it.
Powering the Big Benz will be a choice of the brand’s new inline-six engines, all of which will have 48-volt mild-hybrid setups. There will likely be a standard model, an AMG-lite ’43’ model and then possibly even a plug-in hybrid. The latter of which might actually use a four-cylinder but we don’t know for sure. Then, there will be the hot AMG model, which will pack a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8. This makes us wonder if BMW will ever pull the trigger on a proper BMW X7 M. All GLS models will use nine-speed automatics and have 4Matic all-wheel drive.
The BMW X7 is a very good car, one that’s far better than we anticipated it being. However, the Bavarians should be watching this GLS-Class closely because this is Mercedes territory and this first time BMW is competing in it. So the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class will have a lot to do with how successful the BMW X7 is.