SUV Spotlight: Mercedes GLS

The new Mercedes-Benz GLS

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS ©Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has been busy redesigning its popular G-Class SUV into the new Mercedes GLS.  Like its predecessor, the GL, the GLS is poised to become the “S-Class among SUVs” according to the German automaker.  The only full seven-seater within the premium European SUV segment, the GLS has an ample interior which provides the magic combination of luxury, comfortability, and safety.

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS ©Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t missed a step in the GLS design.  Offering 4 trims, the GLS d 350 4M, GLS 450 4M, GLS 550 4M, and AMG GLS 63, there seems to be something for every Mercedes SUV consumer.  Each GLS boasts a new dynamic exterior and luxurious interior.  The designers have placed the focus on redesigning the front end of the car, while modernizing the rear.  Inside the car, consumers will find a brand new instrument panel which includes a media display, new 3-spoke steering wheel configuration and a center console complete with  touchpad.  This new generation also includes more efficiencies, an additional DYNAMIC SELECT transmission mode, an improved air suspension system, a nine-speed 9G-TRONIC auto transmission, state of the art assistance system and the most recent telematics, including internet access and remote start capability.

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS ©Mercedes-Benz

If all of that isn’t enough to get you going, look no further than under the hood.  The AMG GLS 63 boasts a 577 hp 5.5 liter AMG V8 which delivers a whopping 561 lb.-ft. of torque, perfect for drag racing fellow suburbanites, or that urgent soccer mom grocery run.  The Sport+ mode will definitely help you feel the need for speed while the OFF-ROAD mode will help navigate the vacation wilds.

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS Interior ©Mercedes-Benz

And how can one take advantage of all that power without accounting for proper safety?  Mercedes has taken care of that as well.  The standard driver assistance systems include COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Crosswind Assist and ATTENTION ASSIST.  Also available, are the PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and sadly, Speed Limit Assist.  This SUV will practically drive for you with all the safety features.  As a member of the Mercedes family you also have access to Standard Services including automatic emergency call, Accident Recovery and breakdown assistance.  There’s a reason you pay more to drive a Benz and features like these are it, but they are worth every penny in my opinion.

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS

The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS Interior ©Mercedes-Benz

Finally, there is not a roomier SUV available in the European SUV class.  There is ample elbow and head room available in all three of the seat rows inside the vehicle.  With many adjustment options, the center row makes the interior configuration flexible by way of a cargo position for optimum use of space.

With all of its sporty and luxurious finishings, the 2017 Mercedes GLS is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the SUV class, but only for those with deep pockets.  While MSRP was not available at press time, one can only assume it will be quite high, which begs the question: How much is a sporty exterior, a luxurious, spacious interior, and a badass engine under the hood worth?  For some the answer would be it’s priceless.  For those, the Mercedes GLS is the perfect fit.

The McLaren 650s: The Perfect Supercar for Enthusiasts

The new McLaren 650s in the Calabasas showroom ©automobheels.com

The new McLaren 650s in the Calabasas showroom
©automobheels.com

This past weekend I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new McLaren 650s and I have to say, it was arguably one of the best test driving experiences I’ve had to date.  The 650s, modeled after the McLaren P1™, joins the still in production 12c in the family of McLaren vehicles.

What is unique about this car is the combination of Formula 1™ race car performance and luxury.  This car will take to the track like a bat out of hell in one moment, and provide you with a smooth ride to the grocery store in the next.  Yes, the 650s incidentally does provide trunk space in the front of the car with room for your groceries, making this the most capable supercar available on the market.  Do not let that fool you though.  This car is very much a supercar.

The McLaren 650s ©automobheels.com

The McLaren 650s ©automobheels.com

The 650s gets its moniker from the amount of horsepower (650) available, with the “s” standing for ‘Sport’.  This beauty will do 0-100 km/h (62mph)  in three seconds flat, powered by the British-built 3.8-liter M838T twin-turbo V8 engine.   The car sits on a Formula 1™ inspired carbon-fibre chassis that weighs in at a mere 75kg.  The full wishbone suspension, mid-engine design, standard carbon ceramic disc brakes and active aerodynamics, along with the lightweight body, all contribute to the overall driver experience.

McLaren 650s carbon fibre chassis ©automobheels.com

McLaren 650s carbon fibre chassis ©automobheels.com

The first thing I noticed when I got into the car was the simple, elegant and functional interior design.  The car is loaded with features you would find in a luxury vehicle, such as navigation, bluetooth, streaming audio, and a touch screen, yet it was so perfectly understated in its design, it offered no distraction to me while driving.  While the car is quite lightweight, it feels solid around its passengers, and the cockpit still manages to feel spacious even though it is a two-seater.

McLaren 650s Interior ©automobheels.com

McLaren 650s Interior
©automobheels.com

Paired with a race car driver for my test drive, I began the loop in the passenger seat.  As we pulled away from the dealership, he gave me an overview of the car’s features, where everything was located and what the car was capable of.  Then, a short ways down the road, the moment of truth came.  I slipped behind the wheel, adjusted my seat and mirrors, put the top down (I test drove the Spider of course), put my foot on the pedal and away we went.

Taking the 650s for a spin ©automobheels.com

Taking the 650s for a spin ©automobheels.com

The responsiveness of the car was incredible.  The 7-speed dual clutch system, with McLaren engineered clutch control software, ensures there is no drop in speed as the driver upshifts.  The acceleration was so smooth I didn’t realize how fast I was going until I looked at the speedometer.  The car also has a high level of torque, at 500 lb.-ft.  Quite a bit of attention is also put towards aerodynamics and downforce on the 650s.  Downforce levels are increased 24 percent at 150mph and the door blades located just behind the front wheels are designed to send air from the edges of the front splitter, which gives more grip and balance.

©automobheels.com

©automobheels.com

During the test drive, I hit the acceleration from second gear at 15mph and got up to about 80mph, then slammed on the brakes to test the Airbrake.  The result was impressive.  The Airbrake technology swiftly slowed the car with little to no force felt in the cockpit.  The car felt so stable I had no reservations it would stop on a dime under any circumstances.  The steering is also very stiff and responsive, a characteristic I love.  While driving you feel very much engaged with the road while not having to experience every single pothole.  McLaren’s mission to fully engage the driver in the experience is more than met.  Cruising on Mulholland Drive, wind in my hair, I was able to fully experience the power of the engine while appreciating the luxury of the car.

©automobheels.com

©automobheels.com

When taking in the complete McLaren 650s package, it’s hard to find fault with the car.  For those consumers looking to buy a supercar, it checks every box.  McLaren has set out to create a supercar that provides the expected level of performance (and then some) as well as luxury and they have absolutely succeeded. The power and performance aspect is spot on, the styling impeccable.  You can see the care that went into designing the 650s, even down to the LED lights, which incidentally, are designed in the shape of the McLaren logo.  The interior is well thought out, both simple and elegant.  My only complaint about the drive is I didn’t get to really open it up on the road or test it in ‘Track’ mode.  The event was on day three and the local police were clued in to the test route, handing out tickets.   Toward the end of the course I did have a Mazda 3 come flying past me on a two lane road as I was cruising at 45mph, taking in the features and asking questions.  He was pretty proud of himself for blowing past a McLaren until I sidled up next to him at the light, put the 650s in ‘Sport’ mode, spun out and left his everyday runaround car in my Supercar’s dust.  I think my race car driver companion was sufficiently impressed.