Behind the Wheel

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 Review: Beautiful, stylish, and mediocre all at the same time

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 is the base model.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

There's no two ways around it. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is beautiful to be in, stylish to be seen in, and a mediocre drive experience. Mercedes redesigned the GLS for the 2020 model year and while it ups the ante in so many ways, the three-row SUV proves unsatisfying to drive.

The looks of the GLS are expected and deliver a fresh take on the last-generation's body design that keeps the model in line with the current design language of the brand. It looks like the GLB's big brother (or is it that the GLB looks like it's little brother) and that's mostly a good thing.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 The model wears a two-bar grille with a giant Mercedes star in the center. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The model tested wore a handsome Emerald Green paint job and base model double-bar Mercedes grille. Frankly, the silver elements (the bar and large star emblem) appear cheap. It looks like the bubble letters version of a grille and doesn't portray the strength or elegance one associates with a $75,000+ vehicle.

As tested, the GLS 450 is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid EQ Boost technology. The 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque numbers are deceiving. The GLS is heavy and while getting it up to speed isn't a chore, there's just no oomph from the powertrain, though the nine-speed automatic transmission makes sure that it's a smooth operation.

Changing to the Sport drive mode, the engagement picks up, but still makes makes you long for a vehicle with more of a sense of immediacy.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 The GLS retains its profile despite having a redesign for the 2020 model year. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Steering the GLS feels like it could be done with a pinky - almost too light for its size. The GLS parks easily but forward visibility isn't great for shorter drivers, especially when traversing rolling hills on more rural roads.

The interior of the GLS is as expected, but that's a good thing. It's truly luxurious. The tester was equipped with real wood trim that wasn't heavily lacquered and just looked expensive.

The climate controls are easy to use despite their minimalistic design. One large housing joins the driver information and infotainment screens with ease. Their design is attractive and the system easily performs most tasks. However, the touch controller on the center console isn't an ideal solution for most any function.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 The new GLS has a dashboard influenced by Mercedes sedan design. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The GLS is as much about the passengers as it is the driver. All seats are comfortable. For second-row passengers, it's nearly business class style seating that will make traveling with kids much less of a headache for parents.

Small item storage and cargo space is good. Using the GLS as a daily driver won't feel too limiting to the average family unless they're transporting a large amount of sports equipment and musical instruments to and fro at the same time.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 The car's touch pad controller for the infotainment screen is not easy enough to use that it doesn't create headaches. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz GLS wins when it comes to a luxurious interior, but its powertrain makes a strong argument for opting for the AMG version, though it's a hefty $25,000 more. The GLS is better sit in than its closest competitor, the BMW X7, which is similarly powertrained and priced, and has three rows of seating. If you don't want to spend $100,000 for the Mercedes-AMG version of the GLS, consider the Land Rover Range Rover, which starts around $90,000.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of Hyundai, has announced the formation of a new unit - New Horizons Studio. The new venture is focused on the development of what Hyundai calls Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs).

New Horizons Studio is part of Hyundai's larger focus on the future of mobility. Unit workers will work to envision vehicles that wander with "unprecedented mobility". These products will focus on target customers that have unconventional travel needs whether it be to access places they have never been or adapt their mobility limitations to their surroundings.

Hyundai 'Elevate' Walking Car Concept

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

New Horizons Studio is led by Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He served as founding director of Hyundai Ventures, and then led Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) as its founding director based in Silicon Valley. He brings over 35 years of expertise in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC; formerly, Xerox PARC), and General Motors Company.

"We aim to create the world's first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle," said Dr. Suh.

Dr. Ernestine Fu will move to New Horizons Studio as Director of Product Management. She has led research on human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, as well as scaled emerging technology companies for over nine years as a venture capital partner at Alsop Louie Partners.

The Hyundai Elevate is the first vehicle being developed by the Studio. It debuted at CES 2019 and does not rely solely on wheels to makes it way across urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. The unit sees the Elevate as being able to respond in emergency situations like natural disasters or assist with persons who do not have access to an ADA ramp.

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The Lamborghini Urus Graphite Capsule adds new interior and exterior color choices for buyers.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Expressions in color and trim meet at the Urus Graphite Capsule, a collection of SUVs produced by super luxury automaker Lamborghini. The Urus itself sits at the intersection of performance and practicality, and is the best-selling model in the Lamborghini lineup.

The Urus Graphite Capsule lets buyers push the limit in a pick-and-choose fashion. Lamborghini will offer the Urus Graphite Capsule in four new exterior matte colors including white Bianco Monocerus, black Nero Noctis, and grey Grigio Nimbus and Grigio Keres. The lower parts of the car, the front, rear, and side sills, are all finished in the color.

Lamborghini Urus Graphite Capsule

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

From there, buyers are able to choose from four tiny accent colors: orange Arancio Leonis and Arancio Dryope, yellow Giallo Taurus, and green Verde Scandal. Those accent colors are shown on the front splitter, door inserts, and rear spoiler.

The cabin of the Urus sports the same traditional design the SUV has had during this, its initial generation. The Urus Graphite Capsule check box adds dark, anodized aluminium trim on the dashboard and door panels, with new matt-finish carbon fiber inserts. The buyer's choice of exterior colors are carried over to the inside where upholstery is contrast stitched. Q-citura stitching and the embroidered Lamborghini logo reside on the headrests.

The ventilated Alcantara seats are an exclusive option only available on the Urus Graphite Capsule and the recently launched Pearl Capsule.

"The new Graphite Capsule endorses the inimitable versatility of the Lamborghini Urus as the original Super SUV: its color and styling is as adaptable and versatile as its presence in every high-performance and lifestyle environment." said Automobili Lamborghini Chief Commercial Officer Giovanni Perosino. "The inherent design of the Lamborghini Urus, with the DNA of our super sports heritage, lends itself to virtually limitless potential for personalizing color and trim. The Urus Graphite Capsule is the latest collection to offer our growing clientele the opportunity to stamp their individuality and way of life on their Lamborghini."

The Urus Graphite Capsule is available on Urus model year 2021. It has a starting MSRP of $218,009 in the U.S.

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