The GLS might be Mercedes-Benz’s largest SUV. It’s gargantuan size doesn’t preclude it from receiving next-generation electrification technology that improves both efficiency, power, and ride comfort, though. Enter the new GLS450 and GLS580, which both now feature Mercedes’ EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid system.
Let’s start with the GLS450. It’s powered by a 362-horsepower 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder gasoline engine, which is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to its additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque from the EQ Boost system, the six- or seven-seater SUV will do 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds onto an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph.
GLS580, on the other hand, has a 483-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 under its hood, also with EQ Boost. All told, it’ll do a 0-60 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds. Like it’s 450 stablemate, the 580 is also limited to 130 mph.
Powering To The People
Now where the addition of EQ Boost gets interesting is the application of the energy it generates, which Mercedes applies to more than just straight-line speed. Importantly, EQ Boost on the GLS models now powers Mercedes’ new E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL system. It uses road scanning and curve inclination sensors to generate additional dynamic forces to the SUV’s air suspension system. There by, it can make minute adjustments to further level out and smooth the ride both in corners and on bumpy, uneven roads.
EQ Boost can also allow the gasoline engine to shut down, called “sailing,” while it generates electric energy to power the vehicle. When the gas engine is seamlessly shut down, fuel savings are achieved that were previously only possible with traditional hybrid systems. Of course, EQ Boost doesn’t require as expensive and heavy batteries as a hybrid model. This further reduces cost and complexity while returning the similar benefits.
Unfortunately, Mercedes hasn’t announced the sticker price for these new mild-hybrid GLS models. Nor has it released fuel economy ratings. So, as much as I’d love to expound on the fuel savings offered by EQ Boost — even in these large luxurious family haulers — I cannot. At least, not yet.
Not Done Yet
Likely, the 450 and 580 won’t be the last GLS models to get EB Boost. It is rumored that Mercedes’ high-performance AMG models of the SUV could become plug-in hybrid models also. Since Mercedes loves making rip-roaring variants of every one of its models, surely the GLS will get a tire-rending AMG plug-in hybrid version, too.
Of course, since this is a Mercedes, the new GLS variants come outfitted with a veritable laundry list of active safety technology. I won’t bore you with the list. Suffice it to say, however, the GLS’ adaptive cruise control will of course keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, maintain itself within the lane and even intervene in the case of a potential collision with evasive steering assist. What’s more, GLS offers car-to-x communication, which will be essential for autonomous vehicles. So although the GLS isn’t fully autonomous, it’s taking substantive steps toward that end.
We will watch for efficiency figures from Mercedes on the new GLS EQ Boost models and update accordingly.