View Local Inventory
SAVE

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 550

$60,826 — $101,604 NEW and USED
SUV
7 Seats
16 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?
(5.0) 5 reviews

The Good

  • Cargo versatility
  • Roomy second and third rows
  • Easy third-row access
  • Visibility
  • Advanced self-driving technology
  • Off-road capabilities

The Bad

  • Floaty ride with standard suspension
  • Price balloons with options
  • Second row doesn't slide
  • No second-row captain's chairs
  • Braking in GLS450
  • Multimedia interface when using Apple CarPlay
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 550 exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 550
  • Former GL-Class, refreshed for 2017
  • Gasoline or diesel engines
  • Seating for seven
  • V-6 or V-8 engines, both turbocharged
  • 577-hp AMG version available (covered separately)
  • Standard all-wheel drive

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

by Kelsey Mays - The Verdict:

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class elevates family hauling to new heights in terms of practicality, but it still leaves room for improvement.

Versus The Competition:

Less bulky than the full-size SUVs from Cadillac and Infiniti, the GLS-Class delivers unexpected utility, but drivability falters in this year’s refresh.

Don’t let the new name fool you. The GLS-Class is a mild update, not a full redesign, of the second-generation GL-Class that began with the 2013 model year. The name is simply a result of Mercedes’ nomenclature overhaul. Compare the two SUVs here.

The GLS-Class comes with a V-6 (GLS450) or V-8 (GLS550) engine, both turbocharged. There’s also a GLS350d with a turbo-diesel V-6, but, as of this writing, it’s awaiting EPA clearance amid heightened scrutiny over all things diesel. All-wheel drive and seating for seven are standard; you can compare trim levels here.

Cars.com covers the high-performance AMG GLS63 separately in its Research section.

Related: 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: First Look

Exterior & Styling

In a nutshell, the GLS-Class is a GL-Class with new headlights and grille inserts. Mercedes revised a handful of other areas, too — the bumper openings, some lower cladding and (just barely) the taillights — but those changes are even slighter. This is hardly an overhaul, and given the GL-Class’ crowd-pleasing styling, it didn’t need to be. The GLS550 has a meaner, hunkered-down look with gaping bumper openings, but its near-$95,000 starting price is also a lot meaner on your wallet.

How It Drives

Editors disagreed on the power from our GLS450’s turbocharged V-6: Some found it quick, or at least quick enough, but I deemed it only adequate; most of the engine’s reserves were needed merely to pass slow...

by Kelsey Mays -

Don’t let the new name fool you. The GLS-Class is a mild update, not a full redesign, of the second-generation GL-Class that began with the 2013 model year. The name is simply a result of Mercedes’ nomenclature overhaul. Compare the two SUVs here.

The GLS-Class comes with a V-6 (GLS450) or V-8 (GLS550) engine, both turbocharged. There’s also a GLS350d with a turbo-diesel V-6, but, as of this writing, it’s awaiting EPA clearance amid heightened scrutiny over all things diesel. All-wheel drive and seating for seven are standard; you can compare trim levels here.

Cars.com covers the high-performance AMG GLS63 separately in its Research section.

Related: 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: First Look

Exterior & Styling

In a nutshell, the GLS-Class is a GL-Class with new headlights and grille inserts. Mercedes revised a handful of other areas, too — the bumper openings, some lower cladding and (just barely) the taillights — but those changes are even slighter. This is hardly an overhaul, and given the GL-Class’ crowd-pleasing styling, it didn’t need to be. The GLS550 has a meaner, hunkered-down look with gaping bumper openings, but its near-$95,000 starting price is also a lot meaner on your wallet.

How It Drives

Editors disagreed on the power from our GLS450’s turbocharged V-6: Some found it quick, or at least quick enough, but I deemed it only adequate; most of the engine’s reserves were needed merely to pass slower traffic. At higher speeds, the nine-speed automatic transmission resists downshifts until your right foot is halfway to the floor. One editor found accelerator response immediate, but I observed outright lag off the line. At least I found it consistent, so drivers can plan for it, and there’s a Sport mode that quickens transmission response. But those are silver linings on a sluggish cloud.

The doldrums translate to the rest of the driving experience, too. The steering wheel turns with smooth, consistent feedback, but the slow ratio, skittish tires and prodigious body roll will diminish any handling fun. Ride quality with the standard air suspension is soft but truck-like, with a creaky suspension and floaty, uncontrolled body motions over major bumps. Dump a wheel in a pothole and the GLS450 suffers lingering reverberations afterward. It’s no G-Class, but there’s a lot left to be desired.

The brakes are equally truck-like, with an inch or so of pedal travel before anything happens. The GLS550’s brakes have larger discs — probably necessary, as its turbo V-8 makes considerably more power than the 450 (449 horsepower versus 362). Adaptive shock absorbers and active stabilizer bars are also optional. If you plan any serious off-road driving, Mercedes offers an optional two-speed transfer case, locking center differential and front skid plate.

Interior

The GLS gets high marks for practicality, but it’s hit-and-miss on the luxury front. Visibility is excellent thanks to tall windows and head restraints that nest into the seats in the second and third rows to clear up the view out back. The second row is a three-position bench (you can’t get separate captain’s chairs) that reclines but doesn’t slide forward and back. Our test car’s optional power-tumbling chairs made third-row access a cinch: One button nests the head restraint, tumbles the seat and even powers the front chairs forward if there isn’t enough clearance. Both the second and third rows have adult-friendly space. The third row treats passengers to a high seating position, big windows and padded armrests. Many second rows don’t have it this good.

Stitched, low-gloss materials adorn the upper dashboard and can optionally extend to the doors and lower dash. Below all the eye candy, though, the doors regress to a sea of lower-rent plastics — the sort you won’t find in an Infiniti QX80 — or, for that matter, the far cheaper Volvo XC90. The climate control knobs still employ a rickety, yesteryear design, and the center console has patches of dull, cheap plastic. The seats come standard with Mercedes’ MB-Tex vinyl, an upholstery whose vinyl-ness is obvious at this price. Optional leather comes in regular or premium Nappa grades, but it’s beyond me why Mercedes would charge extra for it in a near-$70,000 SUV. (Mercedes and BMW are regular offenders with vinyl, but GLS competitors like the QX80, Cadillac Escalade and Land Rover Range Rover Sport all have standard cowhide.)

Ergonomics & Electronics

Fitted with optional Apple CarPlay (Android Auto isn’t available), the GLS-Class sorely needs a touchscreen. No tapping, pinching or swiping the optional 8-inch dash display; all the action with that screen happens through a rotary knob and touchpad on the center console, and it’s terrible. You can press down on the console touchpad to make a selection, but you can’t zoom or scroll around CarPlay’s Apple-sourced navigation system or even change menu selections. Doing any of that requires you to spin the knob to move the screen cursor to different selections and pick something. It’s time to move on from this, Mercedes, especially now that you’re attempting to support the touchscreen-oriented CarPlay.

Fortunately, the GLS has a good factory navigation option with sharp graphics and plenty of street labels. The three-tiered menu structure will be familiar if you own another Mercedes, but there’s a steep learning curve for the uninitiated. Two USB ports, HD radio and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming are standard. The controller-and-touchpad combo described above is optional; without it, the GLS has a simpler knob, no touchpad and a 7-inch multimedia screen. A Harman Kardon premium stereo is also optional, as is a considerably pricier Bang & Olufsen system. In-car Wi-Fi and a rear entertainment system with two screens are optional, as well.

Cargo & Storage

The GLS-Class has a competitive 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. It’s a cinch to fold, with standard power-folding, 50/50-split backrests that go completely down and up with one-touch controls — a significant advantage over most power folders, which require you to hold the button while the seats slowly do their thing. With the third row folded, cargo space behind the second row is 49.4 cubic feet.

The second-row chairs aren’t so easy. With cushions that need to be flipped forward before the seats fold, they take a few more steps. (The power-tumbling described above is just for third-row access; for cargo purposes, you have to manually fold them.) The resulting load floor is flat, albeit with a slight gap between the two rows. Maximum cargo volume is 93.8 cubic feet, a total that’s competitive with larger SUVs like the QX80 and Escalade.

Safety

The GLS-Class has not been crash-tested. A backup camera and drowsy-driver detection system are standard, as is a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking. Blind spot and lane departure warning systems are optional. Self-driving options include adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering assist, which purports to keep your car centered — not just pinballing between lane markers — given the right conditions.

Go here to see a full list of standard safety equipment. Parents with small children will appreciate the GLS’ abundant Latch anchors: The second and third rows have two sets apiece, with top-tether anchors in all positions.

Value in Its Class

Prices start around $70,000 for the GLS450, in the ballpark of the Escalades, QX80s and Range Rover Sports you’ll find in America’s tonier suburbs. Go to town on the options, though, and a loaded GLS550 can swell to more than $115,000 — tens of thousands of dollars beyond the Cadillac and Infiniti. A value choice it is not.

But the GLS still has a trump card: practicality, even for its class. At their core, SUVs should be practical no matter the price or segment. But some luxury models have sacrificed this at the altar of performance or styling. (I’m looking at you, Porsche Cayenne.) For all its flaws in drivability and luxury, the GLS still does the whole SUV thing right.

Send Kelsey an email  


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

5.0
5 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(4.6)
(5.0)

Very reliable.

by Souza from Tehachapi on February 20, 2018

Used on long trips with family. Great highway fun and comfortable vehicle. Amazing powerful Engine. Great acceleration for its size. Lots of room and loaded with technology. Read full review

(5.0)

Just ordered one!

by Wised from Wisconsin on October 25, 2017

We were looking for a seven passenger AWD SUV that could actually accommodate seven adults. The Q7 rear seats are kids only and the 3.0 twin turbo engine was just adequate. The Escalade drives ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 550 currently has 4 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 550 has not been tested.

Latest 2017 GLS 550 Stories

Change year or vehicle

All Model Years for the Mercedes-Benz GLS 550

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The GLS 550 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker