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Mercedes GLS (2016) spied: meet the newly rebranded GL SUV

Published: 22 May 2015

► Mercedes GLS spied in the US
► The new name for the Merc GL
► Now aligned with S-class

Mercedes-Benz is readying the new GLS full-sized SUV - the new name for the facelifted GL. Our spies caught the car on test in America, one of its biggest target markets as this vast 4x4 is a slow seller in downsized Europe.

These scoop photos were taken in the west of the US as the car undergoes final calibration testing ahead of a motor show debut expected in autumn 2015, revealing the new look bound for the GLS.

What's with the new GLS name?

Don't forget that Mercedes is overhauling its entire range (full explainer here). GL denotes gelandewagen (German for cross-country vehicle) and S means it's linked to the S-class family - in the same way that the GLA compound means the smaller SUV attached to the A-class range.

It echoes the facelift of the GLE (the artist formerly known as the M-class, now aligned with E-class): there's a new badge, the addition of the latest engines and technology, as well as a cosmetic tidy-up rather than a full overhaul.

Hence the new headlamps and grille, whose graphics are clearly visible beneath the light disguise. Our spies report there's also a tidy-up inside, with the latest Comand infotainment system and better materials are deployed in the cabin.

Mercedes GLS: what to expect

Interestingly, our spyshots taken when the prototypes were parked up during testing reveal regular GLS models and ones purporting to show the new AMG line styling package. The white car is a regular GLS, denoted by its smaller front air intakes low down below the remoulded two-bar grille and giant Mercedes star badge; the silver and black models have much wider apertures.

Expect to see the new full-size SUV at the tail end of 2015; our money would go on the LA auto show, rather than a European premiere. The GL sells most strongly in the US and China, with limited supply in Europe.

The GLS will again be built at the Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama, alongside the new GLE with which it shares much of its underpinnings.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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