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Autos

L.A. Auto Show 2015: Mercedes Benz GLS

What is it?

A full-size, full-luxury, seven-seat people hauler. Mercedes calls it the “S-Class among SUVs.” The automaker hasn’t released pricing, the S-Class reference – the same one applied to its flagship sedan – likely signals the starting price will rise over the GL model it will replace, which starts in the mid-$60,000 range. With options, figure easily six figures. An ultra-luxury Maybach model is also planned.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350. (Daimler AG - Global Communicatio / Mercedes-Benz)

Why it matters:

Luxury sport utility vehicles are among the hottest and most competitive segments in the auto industry, and the GLS could be among the highest-caliber offerings. If it truly matches the luxury and performance of the S-Class sedan, it will be a formidable competitor.

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What’s new:

A full range of powerful gas and diesel engines carry on in similar form, some with decent bumps in power. The top-line performance GLS63 gets a whopping 577 horsepower, 27 more than on the previous model. A lot of extras and details have been upgraded, including Dynamic Select tranmission modes; Airmatic air suspension; a 9-speed automatic transmission; a redesigned exterior and lights all around; redesigned center console; and a range of new lightweight alloy wheels.

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The competition:

Lexus GX and LX, Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, BMW X5. In Maybach trim, the GLS could rival the ultra-luxury Bentley Bentaga and an expected SUV offering from Rolls Royce.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 500 4MATIC. (Mercedes-Benz)

The details: 

Powertrain: 3.0-liter V6 diesel; 3.0-liter V6 Biturbo; 4.7-liter V8 Biturbo; 5.5-liter AMG Biturbo

Transmission: 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic; AMG Speedshift 7G-Tronic

Fuel economy: not released; 2015 version gets 13 to 19 mpg city/17 to 26 mpg highway, depending on engine choice.

Horsepower: 255; 362; 449; and 577 for the respective engines

Torque: 455; 369; 516; 561 pound-feet


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