2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS Facelift Review: Is It Better Than Before?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS facelift comes with updated styling, improved creature comforts and new tech. I spent a day with it to find out what has changed and if this flagship is really a better product than it was before.

By Seshan Vijayraghvan


9 mins read


Published on January 7, 2024

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  • The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS facelift get visual updates along with new features and tech
  • The GLS 450 is powered by a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine
  • The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLS will be launched on January 8

Back in 2020, when Mercedes-Benz India launched the third-gen GLS, the flagship SUV managed to set some segment benchmarks. In fact, it became quite a popular choice among luxury car buyers. Fast forward four years and now the German carmaker has given the GLS a mid-life facelift. An updated styling bit here, a new tech feature there; frankly a lot has changed in this new GLS. I recently spent a day with the petrol version of the SUV – the GLS 450 - to find out what has changed and if this flagship is really a better product than it was before.



Globally the GLS received a facelift in April 2023, India however is receiving it now as a 2024 model.


Design and Styling


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Now, I have always been a big fan of how the GLS looks. Despite being a massive SUV that measured more than 5 meters in length, it never felt intimidating. To me, it felt a lot more approachable thanks to its curvy design and subtle character lines. Modern, yet elegant. When we come to the facelifted GLS, well, it does have some of those characters, but only from some angles. Namely the profile and the rear section. 


Also Read: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS Facelift India Launch On January 8


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But, when you look at the face, you have this massive new grille with large silver slats, and the big three-pointed start at the centre. Looking quite imposing, and many might like it. However, to me, it looks a bit forced, and I liked the older grille better, looked quite elegant.


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Updates also include a set of new LED headlamps, with a new light signature for the LED daytime running lamps. The lights are adaptive and come with a cornering function, however, I did drive it at night and felt that the illumination and throw could have been better. Also new is the front bumper, which now gets new side intakes and a wider central air dam with a beefy silver-chrome bumper lip. 


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From the profile, the SUV remains completely unchanged. In fact, even the wheels are the same 21-inch five-triple spoke alloys that were offered with the outgoing model. That being said, now the wing mirrors come with logo projection, and you also get soft-closing doors.


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At the rear you’ll see a set of updated LED taillamps with a new 3-point light signature, looks really nice. Then as before, you have the variant and the 4Matic badging on either side. The bumper too has been updated. It now gets a cleaner design with less chrome, which I appreciate.


Interior and Cabin Features


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Step inside and you’ll see that the cabin takes some inspiration from the GLS Maybach. The new dashboard design comes with fine thin chrome lines that take luxury to the next level. Also new is the steering wheel, we have seen this design in some of the latest Mercedes and EQ models. Has a nice glossy black element that adds a bit of premiumness, and you still get the touch-sensitive controls, so yes, quite a nice addition.


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However, in terms of design, I preferred the older look. The overall premium quotient has certainly gone up. It all feels well-put-together and the soft touch materials exude luxury.


Both front seats offer power adjustability with memory settings, and you also get ventilation and heating functions. But you do miss out on massage seats, and I feel that an SUV that is going to cost north of Rs. 1.5 crore on-road certainly should have that feature on offer. Having said that, Mercedes does offer seat kinetics up front, which periodically makes minor adjustments to the seats, so you do not experience any fatigue during long drives.


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You also have the convenience of a wireless phone charger, multiple type C USB ports, and a generous central armrest that doubles up as an armrest, when closed. And then there is the 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system, which is still a beautiful setup. The GLS comes with a 5-zone climate control system including two separate zones and multiple vents for the second-row passengers.


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However, if you are buying the GLS, it’s in the second row where you would want to sit. Space is not really a matter of concern. I am 5 feet 9 inches tall and with the front seat set to my driving position, I still have acres of room here. Yes, the under-thigh support could have been better, but the seats are well cushioned, and you get power adjustability got sliding and recline functions. Additionally, now Mercedes also offers powered privacy blinds for both windows as well. Of course, the second-row passenger can also access the panoramic sunroof at the touch of a button.


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There is still a third row on offer, however, getting in and out of it is not an easy task. Also, while the seats are well cushioned, it’s not at all comfortable for two adults. It’s best suited for kids or pets. Moreover, the GLS now also offers better sound insulation inside the cabin, courtesy of the special acoustic film on the laminated glass windows, which helps reduce exterior noise. 


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As for the boot capacity, with all the seats upright, you get a modest 355 litres of boot space. Now that is decent enough for a couple of duffle bags, or a big suitcase. However, if you want more luggage space, you can electrically fold with either the third, the second or both rows at the touch of a button. 


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With the third-row seats down you get 1,470 litres of boot capacity, which can be expanded to 2400 litres with all seats down. The tailgate also can be opened with a kick gesture under the rear bumper.



Infotainment and Tech


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The GLS continues to come with the wide display with dual screen set-up over here. You get a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster as well. The former is the main command centre, and in addition to all the apps and in-car functions, you now also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless connectivity. 


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The digital instrument cluster, on the other hand, in addition to the usual bits like the tachometer, speedometer and gear position, also shows media navigation and the driver assistance system that the car has to offer.


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At the rear, now you get multimedia displays as well, both behind the driver as well as the front passenger seat as standard. Both are 11.6-inch unit displays, and they come with touchscreen functionality, which allows you to access all in-car apps and functions from the back. So yes, Mercedes has made the effort to improve the rear seat experience. 


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You also have the added convenience of a personal tablet to control all in-car functions, which is mounted onto the back of the middle seat that folds down to become the second-row centre console. And here, you have another wireless charger, a small glove box and a mobile holder right here. There are more type C USB ports for your electronic devices at the back as well.





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Safety still has been given a huge priority, with the SUV offering 9 airbags, 360-degree view cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors around the SUV. There is also the additional safety net of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS, which include Active Lane Keep Assist, Cross Traffic Warning, Active Parking Assist, Front Collision Avoidance Assist and more.


Engine and Performance


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The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 which I drove came with a 3.0-litre in-line-6-cylinder petrol engine. Now this is the same motor that was offered with the previous car as well, and in terms of output, you get 375 bhp and 500 Nm of peak torque. And yes, like most new Mercedes-Benz models, here too you get a mild hybrid system. The system includes a 48V electric motor and an integrated started generator, which offer an additional boost of around 21 bhp and 250 Nm of torque. However, I must remind you that the add-on boost only kicks in for a short duration, which is to make up for the turbo lag, and that makes a hell lot of difference.


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The engine has enough brawn to pull this mammoth of an SUV with great ease. The power build-up is nice and linear, and the SUV builds up speed very quickly. Overall, it feels quite energetic and has a lot of grunt and gusto. The motor comes mated to the tried and tested 9-speed automatic transmission, and it does a fine job at sending power to all four wheels. Yes, it gets 4Matic system is standard. The shifts are smooth and precise and it has minimum lag.


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Driving Dynamics


As for how the SUV performs on the road, the suspension is set a bit on the stiffer side so if you manage to hit a big pothole or encounter some bad undulations on the road, the harshness will seep into the cabin. However, with the smaller undulations and the small speed breakers, the SUV handles them without any fuss.


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You also get an off-road mode which includes Mercedes’ transparent bonnet feature that will come in handy when you are navigating through some of the rough terrains that you might encounter in India. Additionally, you also get AirMatic suspension with the GLS, which allows you to adjust the height and ground clearance of the SUV by simply using a toggle switch.


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When you talk about body roll, the GLS does have it, it is a big SUV after all. However, I felt that despite its huge size, the body roll was much more manageable. It wasn’t as harsh as you would expect it to be, the SUV handles really well. So, in that manner, I feel the GLS is quite a sporty SUV to drive, and you will enjoy it even if you are behind the wheel and not in the back seat.


Verdict and Price Expectation


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Mercedes has been setting new benchmarks with its products, which is why even if the models commanded a premium over their rivals, customers still opted for the three-pointed star. And the third-gen GLS was a great example of that. Sadly, I can’t say the same about the GLS facelift.


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Although there are some significant visual updates when it comes to creature comforts and tech, the changes are minimal and there is not much that truly stands out. In fact, its closest rival, the BMW X7 now seems to be at par with Mercedes’ flagship, if not better, and it’s even cheaper than the outgoing GLS. 


Having said that, when it comes to pricing, I feel Mercedes-Benz always gets it just right, and the same is the case with the GLS facelift as well. At Rs. 1.32 crore for the GLS 450 and Rs. 1.37 crore for the GLS 450d (both ex-showroom, India), the premium on the asking price of the updated model is marginal, and kind of justified. And that, along with the company's trusted after-sales programme will ensure that the SUV replicates the success of its predecessor.

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