Some photos of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class recently leaked on the interwebs but now it’s been officially revealed at the 2019 NY Auto Show. After its literal unboxing (Mercedes literally took it out of a gigantic wooden box), we had the chance to poke around the newest BMW X7 competitor.
We’ve already discussed the car’s looks, both inside and out, and how they compare with the X7. Like most BMW/Mercedes comparisons, there are some areas where each is superior. However, we wanted to get inside of it and check out its luxury, quality and passenger space.
In terms of quality of materials, both cars are about on par with each other and both are excellent. The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is filled with rich materials and bank vault-like build quality. It’s a very premium feeling car. Just like the X7, though, it’s a bit underwhelming to look at, being a bit more understated than we’ve come to expect from luxury Mercedes’. But it’s still a lovely thing to be inside.
Especially for second and third row passengers. The car we sat in had the optional second-row captain’s chairs and they’re superbly comfortable and provide tons of space. Also, Mercedes’ center console for that row is better than the X7’s, with cupholders up by the passengers’ knees, rather than on the floor like in the X7.
In the third row, I was able to sit perfectly upright in perfect comfort, with even a couple of inches between my knees and the seatbacks in front of me. The passenger in front of me would also have ample leg room in that position. Headroom was also excellent in the third row. Though I’m only 5’9″, the GLS presentation claimed that people 6-feet tall will still feel very comfortable. Third row passengers will also be greeted by USB-C ports and heated seats, just like in the X7. Although, no dedicated climate zone for the third row that can be controlled from back there, like in the X7.
Overall, we’re really impressed with the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and it seems like an excellent overall luxury family vehicle. It’s also so evenly matched with the X7 on paper. While the X7 had that extra climate zone, the GLS has more space in the third row and a nicer second row. It will come down to driving dynamics that will separate the two cars in the future.