This Mercedes GLS, if you haven't yet come across it, is a vehicle billed as 'the S-Class of SUVs', a luxury conveyance for those whose real - or more likely imagined - commute to the real world is from a craggy mountaintop. We first saw it (badged then as the 'GL-Class') in 2007, built in America for Americans and since then, it's been occupying super-sized shopping mall spaces from New York to New Orleans in ever-increasing numbers. Over there, it was a necessary addition to the brand's luxury SUV line-up, given that for Yanks, the brand's usual large luxury SUV, the five-metre-long GLE, is seen as being pretty compact and the exorbitantly-priced G-Class is too crude for most. So this GLS is the model primarily tasted with taking on the all-conquering Range Rover - and, more specifically, BMW's entrant in this segment, the X7.
This Mercedes model line has always featured a third seating row, something that's always set this SUV apart in a luxury 4x4 market that rarely offers this option - or if it does, often restricts practical use of the extra seats to children. Not so here, especially in this MK2 model GLS guise that features a useful wheelbase increase. Plus the sleeker shape clothes a car that's cleverer, more comfortable, quieter and more efficient. Let's take a closer look.