New 2023 Mercedes GLS facelift launched with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech | CAR Magazine

New 2023 Mercedes GLS facelift launched with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech

Published: 04 April 2023 Updated: 04 April 2023

► Merc’s flagship SUV updated
48-volt mild hybrid system added
► Fresh styling, more standard kit

Mercedes has facelifted the GLS SUV for 2023, updating its styling, technology and engine range. The company hopes the tweaks will allow the car to keep pace with fresher seven-seat luxury SUV rivals, such as the latest Range Rover and the recently updated BMW X7.

We’ll start with the cosmetic updates. The revised GLS gets a new front bumper, a larger radiator grille, a chunkier front valance and some new taillights. Mercedes has also introduced a fresh set of 20-inch alloy wheels to the SUV’s option list, along with two new paint finishes.

Inside, buyers can choose from a couple of new leather upholstery colours (Catalana beige and Bahia brown), while the air vents are now finished Silver Shadow. You can also now have the standard GLS’s dashboard with piano black trim, which was previously reserved for the Maybach GLS.

Mercedes GLS facelift (2023): dashboard, tan leather upholstery

The infotainment system uses the same pair of 12.3-inch screens as the pre-facelifted GLS, but Mercedes has loaded them with fresh software. The change brings three new display modes plus a choice of seven colour customisation options that can be matched to the ambient lighting. Every model in the GLS range also features a new multi-function steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls in place of the previous car’s physical dials and buttons.

Naturally, Mercedes has also expanded the GLS’s options list, too. There’s an upgraded rear-seat infotainment package, a pair of 100W USB charging ports and a two-stage cabin air filtration system designed to protect occupants against dust and pollutants from the outside world.

What’s changed about the GLS’s engine range?

Every engine in the GLS range now features 48-volt mild hybrid assistance. Mercedes hasn’t yet explained how much of a difference the change has made to the SUV’s fuel economy, but the brand has reported that the mild hybrid system adds up to 21bhp of boost under maximum throttle.

The standard GLS is available with four engines – two petrols and two diesels. The entry-level GLS 450 has a 3.0-litre straight six petrol unti with 375bhp and 369lb/ft of torque. Mercedes says it can return between 24.1 and 27.6mpg, while its CO2 emissions stand between 233 and 266g/km.

Above that, there’s the GLS 580. This model gets a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with 510bhp and 538lb/ft of torque. Mercedes claims it has enough grunt to shove the SUV from 0–62 mph in 4.9 seconds – but you pay a price in fuel economy. At best, you’ll manage around 21mpg.

Mercedes GLS facelift (2023): rear three quarter static, grey car

The GLS’s diesel range is built around a 3.0-litre straight unit, available in two states of tune. The cheapest 350d produces 308bhp and 479lb/ft of torque, while the more expensive 450d has 362bhp and 553lb/ft of torque. Both units can return up to 35.3mpg, which is roughly a 3mpg improvement over the 3.0-litre straight-six diesel fitted to the pre-facelift GLS 400d.

Every GLS engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox four-wheel drive as standard. And, while Mercedes is well-aware that GLS buyers are unlikely to ever take their cars off-road, it also offers an ‘off-road engineering package’ as an optional extra, which adds some underbody protection panels and a 30mm increase in ride height.

What about the Mercedes-Maybach GLS?

It’s the same story as the standard GLS. You get the same range of exterior styling tweaks, the same upgraded infotainment system and the same expanded colour palette. As with the pre-facelifted version of the car, you can also specify an enormous set of 23-inch alloy wheels as an optional extra.

Because the Maybach occupies the top spot in the GLS range, buyers get a couple of premium add-ons over the standard car. Inside, there’s a posh new ambient lighting system with animated Mercedes-Maybach logos, while the seats feature a fresh upholstery design in diamond-quilted leather that can be specified in two new colours.

Mercedes Maybach GLS facelift (2023): front three quarter static, black and gold car

The Maybach GLS is powered a more potent version of the GLS 580’s 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine. It produces 550bhp rather than 530bhp, which Mercedes says drops its 0–62mph time down to 4.2 seconds. It’s slightly less efficient, though, with a best-case fuel economy figure of 20.4mpg.

And the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63?

Obviously, that’s been upgraded too. Again, you get a redesigned front bumper, a new radiator grille, two extra paint finishes and a pair of new upholstery options. However, the AMG model also receives its own LED rear light signature to set it apart from the standard GLS range.

In addition to the styling changes, Mercedes has increased the amount of standard equipment fitted to the AMG GLS 63. Now, every model features a sliding panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, a Burmester audio system, keyless go, a 360-degree parking camera and a noisy AMG performance exhaust system.

Mercedes AMG GLS 63 facelift (2023): front three quarter static, silver car

Buyers also get adaptive dampers and Mercedes-AMG’s active roll stabilisation system as standard. The system uses a set of electromechanical actuators on both axles, which prop up suspension when cornering hard. AMG says the technology improves the SUV’s cornering performance and benefits comfort by compensating for uneven road surfaces.

The AMG GLS 63 is the most powerful model in the SUV’s range. Its 4.0-litre V8 churns out 603bhp and 627lb/ft of torque, which Mercedes says is enough for a 0–62mph time of 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 173mph. Despite the huge performance, it’s somehow more efficient than the less potent Maybach model under WLTP testing, with a claimed best-case figure of 22.8mpg.

How much will the facelifted Mercedes GLS cost?

Mercedes hasn’t told us that yet – but we’re expecting a significant increase over the outgoing car to compensate for the extra equipment and the new mild-hybrid powertrains.

Prices for the pre-facelifted Mercedes GLS started from £88,705. The AMG GLS 63 was priced from £140,835, while the Maybach GLS started from an eye-watering £170,995.

Mercedes AMG GLS 63 facelift (2023): rear three quarter static, silver car

By Luke Wilkinson

Deputy Editor of Parkers. Unhealthy obsession with classic Minis and old Alfas. Impenetrable Cumbrian accent