2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Review: Taking the Middle Ground
3rd Row Access Speed
I didn’t plan it this way. It all just sort of lined up on its own.
Looking back over the past few months, I’ve spent quite some time in large, super luxury SUVs. These are the ones with three rows, over 500 hp, the ability to tow copious amounts of weight, and include every luxury amenity one can think of.
Changed, But Still the Same
The changes aren’t dramatic for the 2024 model year, but the GLS does receives updates inside and out. The exterior remains very recognizable, with a conservative familiar look that hasn’t dramatically changed since the GLS’ inception nearly 20 years ago.
There are updates to the grille, front bumper, air inlets, and underride guard for 2024 as well as new LED taillights. Even after the updates, the GLS is not as bold and controversial as the BMW X7, but it’s also not a box on wheels like the Grand Wagoneer.
Inside the Mercedes, there are new colors, interior upholsteries, and trims. As well, Mercedes adds more standard equipment, expanded options, and engine upgrades.
More Power Never Hurts
With the GLS 580 trim, under the hood remains a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine coupled to a mild hybrid system. Power is up from last year, now totalling 510 total horsepower and 538 pound feet of torque. On its own, the electric motor adds short spurts of 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.
This is one of the better incorporated mild-hybrid systems we’ve encountered, with its seamless, instant power delivery. Hooked up to a 9-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels, the power unit can propel the 5,820 pound (2,655 kg) GLS from 0-60 mph in 4.7-seconds. That’s plenty quick for a large multi-passenger vehicle and just a hair slower that the BMW X7 we reviewed at the end of last year.
The V8 in the GLS makes a great, subtle burble that can only come from eight cylinders working together. It’s not as loud in sport mode as competitors like the X7, nor does it have the deceleration pops and cracks. This drivetrain is a more sophisticated package, fitting for the look and feel of the GLS. As for fuel economy, it’s about what should be expected for the class, returning 14 mpg (16.8 L/100 km ) city and 20 mpg (11.9 L/100 km) highway.
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 is not an agile handler, which is no surprise considering its size, weight, and purpose. That stated, it’s well enough composed when cornering at various speeds and never feels overly ponderous or floaty. Plus, if it had it’s wider, stickier, 23-inch wheels and tires, there would be more mechanical grip. But it’s January up north, and all four corners now wear 275/50R21 Pirelli winter tires.
Back to ride quality, the self-leveling airmatic suspension and adaptive damping system makes the GLS plenty comfortable on the road. It swallows up bumps and smoothens out imperfections on the highway, making it an excellent choice for a long-distance road trip. Compared to the competition, the GLS lands somewhere between the aircushion feel of the BMW X7 and the more truck-like ride in the Grand Wagoneer.
Big SUVs, even luxurious ones like the GLS, are bought by many to tow significant loads. When properly equipped, the GLS is rated to tow a maximum of 7,700 pounds (3,500 kg). A less likely task most GLS 580 owner's will participate in is leaving the pavement. But if called upon, the vehicle includes an Off-Road mode that has a transparent hood display option on the screen as well as various other displays for off-road features.
It's Better Inside
The interior of the GLS 580 is stylish, well appointment, and features nice materials – all that should be expected of a vehicle in this price range. There are two new leather seat choices and newly available trim materials. The vehicle can come as a seven-seater with a bench in the second row, or as a six-seater with a pair of captain’s chairs replacing the bench. My tester arrived with the bench set-up, but don’t think for a second that takes away individual comfort.
When the right options on the build sheet are checked off, as is the case with my tester, second row outboard passengers get all the features and comforts of those up front. This includes heat, ventilation, and massage seats. Like the steering wheel, it’s also possible to have heated arm rests in the front two rows. Oh, and those in the third row aren’t forgotten about either, with optional heated seats and a five-zone climate control.
Comfort All Around
As far as actual comfort goes, the second row features a lot of space for adult passengers. My tester included the optional soft pillows attached to the headrests, so if a nap is needed, those in the second row can control the various sunshades to block out the sun. All four doors include the soft-close features, a major plus for those with smaller children that might lack the strength to fully close the rear doors.
To access the third-row, the second-row seats are power operated with the press of a button that will move and tilt them forward, out of the way. Although it takes minimal effort, it’s also quite a slow process for the seats to fully move. Once back there, the third row can fit adults as long as the second-row seats are moved up a bit. There are soft, squishy side arm rests which are a plus, but the panoramic roof does not stretch all the way back to the final row.
Behind the third row is 17.4 cubic feet (355 liters) of cargo space. If no passengers are on board, the rear hatch area contains power buttons to lower the second and third rows of seat, expanding cargo capacity to 84.7 cu ft (2,400 L).
Pleasing Technology, Mostly
In front of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital driver information screen that houses one of the best customizable digital dashes. There are plenty of choices, lots to customize, and most importantly, it’s easy to use. Less easy to use are the dual touch pads on the steering wheel. But the GLS thankfully features a console touch pad, many hard buttons for functions like the HVAC, and even a physical volume roller.
Central to the dashboard is another 12.3-inch screen for the infotainment system. It runs the latest MBUX infotainment software, partnered with a crisp Burmester sound system. If the bass is turned up, it’s possible to feel the beat pulsating through the floor into one’s left leg resting on the dead pedal.
The GLS of course comes standard with wireless phone charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. Some optional equipment that I really appreciate are the massive color head-up display as well as the heated and cooled front cup holders. I also need to mention the 64 ambient lighting colors available in the GLS as Mercedes is one of the best in the business at ambient lighting.
Pricing and Safety
Like virtually every modern vehicle on sale, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 comes standard with a ton of safety equipment. Some of the key technology includes Car-to-X Communication, Evasive Steering Assist, Crosswind Assist, Emergency Stop Assist, and a Surround View System. When it comes to active technology, well, the GLS isn’t lacking there either, with Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Lane Change Assist, Stop-and-Go Assist, Distance Assist DISTRONIC, and Steering Assist.
As mentioned a few times during this review, my GLS 580 came with a few optional packages. These included the night package, pinnacle trim, 23-inch wheels, executive rear seat package plus (premium rear seating package in Canada), warmth & comfort package, acoustic comfort package, and more.
This raises the starting price form $113,150 ($140,500 CAD) to an as tested price of $126,990 ($160,635 CAD). American prices include destination charges while the Canadian prices do not.
The Verdict: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC does everything expected from a large luxurious sport utility vehicle. It should make any Mercedes-Benz owner that’s looking for the largest SUV in the brand’s portfolio happy. But what about enticing outside customers?
This could be a more difficult task. The GLS splits the difference between a stylish, loud, comfort-centric vehicle like the BMW X7, and a more truck like, luxury work SUV such as the Grand Wagoneer Series III. This could have the GLS get lost in the shuffle.
With consistent, yet conservative styling, on the surface, this Mercedes is missing that It factor to initially draw consumers to the showroom floor. The vehicle needs to be driven and experienced to be properly appreciated. because once someone spends time in the GLS, they’ll see how nice of a luxury SUV hauler it can be.
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2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC
9 / 10
6 / 10
Handling and Drivability
7 / 10
9 / 10
4 / 5
3 / 5
Interior Style and Quality
9 / 10
8 / 10
Cargo Capacity and Towing
4 / 5
5 / 5
6 / 10
7 / 10
77 / 100
4.0-liter turbocharged V8 + mild hybrid
510 hp, 538 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg):
14 city, 20 highway
Fuel Economy (L/100 km):
16.8 city, 11.9 highway
Starting Price (USD):
As Tested (USD):
Starting Price (CAD):
As Tested (CAD):
A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.
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