While the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is technically an all-new model, it's really just a refreshed and renamed GL-Class. The name change finishes off Mercedes' new taxonomic scheme, with all SUVs and crossovers (G-Class aside) starting with GL- and ending with a letter that corresponds to the vehicle's size, with S being the largest cars on offer. But there's more to the equation than just some additional letters.
Outside, the GLS is only slightly revised. The bumpers and slimmed-down headlights more closely resemble the GLS' smaller stablemates, and LED taillights are now standard. Otherwise, the vehicle retains its Brobdingnagian proportions. GLS550 owners can opt for a Sport package that gives the car a bit more aggression, but not as much as the range-topping AMG GLS63.
Mercedes finally brought the GL's interior into the 21st century, as well. The COMAND infotainment screen escapes the dashboard and takes on the floating-tablet look that's defining current M-B interiors. There's also a new instrument panel, center console and three-spoke steering wheel. As before, all GLS models come standard with three full rows of seats.
There will be four available drivetrain options for the 2017 GLS. The GLS350d comes packing a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel, the GLS450 sports a gasoline-powered 3.0-liter six-cylinder and the GLS550 moves up to a 4.7-liter turbocharged eight-cylinder. Atop the range lies the Mercedes-AMG GLS63, powered by a 577-horsepower, 5.5-liter eight-cylinder. That model will offer a seven-speed automatic, while all others feature a nine-speed automatic with an optional Off-Road Engineering package that includes a low-range gearbox and a locking center differential.
Other changes for 2017 include adaptive damping options on the standard air suspension, which adds a number of selectable modes to match your personal preferences.
If technology is what you're after, the GLS provides it in ample quantities. Standard tech includes a wide variety of safety systems, including forward collision warning with automatic braking and attention assistance that can detect drowsy driving. During emergency braking, the car will automatically provide the optimal brake pressure, as well.
Of course, if you have the cash to drop, you can load up your GLS with some very impressive optional tech. Additional safety systems include blind spot monitoring, active lane-keep assist and cross-traffic detection. Magic Vision Control places the wiper-fluid nozzles inside the wiper arm assembly for spray-free windshield cleaning. Active Curve System alters roll-bar geometry for reduced body roll during cornering.
The GLS can also be optioned to include Distronic Plus, Mercedes-Benz's partially autonomous cruise control. It will follow traffic from 0 mph up to a pre-set speed, stopping without driver intervention and starting with little more than a tug on a lever.
Buyers can order the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS as early as December, with US deliveries taking place in late March 2016. As of this writing, no release information is available for UK and Australian markets. Pricing, fuel economy and performance figures are all TBD.