THE S-CLASS OF SUVS? Mercedes-Benz' new GLS is now available locally. The AMG model (pictured) is powered by a 5.5-litre V8 turbo with 430kW. Image: Quickpic
Wheels24 correspondent Egmont Sippel names his top 10 cars of 2016. Below is his review of the Mercedes-Benz GLS500.
Cape Town - Strictly speaking, the top Mercedes vehicle of 2016, should belong to the new E-Class or even the S-Class Cabriolet.
But I haven’t had petrol derivatives of the new E-Class on test yet, nor any of the latest generation Cabriolets. The latter has only been sampled during local launch drives, where not every facet and aspect of a car is tested to the full.
Luxury and top-notch safety
However, it was enough to convince me that Merc’s forte still is big cars. This has as much to do with sheer presence as good performance, as much with sheer luxury as German engineering, as much with sheer status as top-notch safety. Most of all, though, it has to do with ride quality. The smaller the Benz, the worse the ride; the bigger the Benz, the better the ride.
Which leads me to the GLS500 (with AMG Line body kit; R1.46-million).
With 335kW/700Nm from a smooth 4.7-litre V8 turbo, the big SUV is clearly a cut above, if not in the same league as the new AMG S65 V12 Cabriolet’s refined 463kW/1000Nm.
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Believe me, however, when I say that the ride is even better.
That this self-same ride should be delivered on 40 profile tyres makes one wonder what Stuttgart’s engineering problems could be when some A-Class derivatives - and on average the more expensive A-Class derivatives - ride like a brick bumping along over cobblestone? Or should that read: crashing into cobblestone?
Cost, you could say. There is a limit to R&D.
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Yes, indeed. But a Golf and especially Audi A3 is no more or less expensive to develop, and ride quality puts the baby Benz to shame.
Benz is clearly still learning about small front wheel drive.
But heck, they’ve got big rear wheel drive sussed out.
Whereupon the GLS can go off-road as well, with seven aboard. Great!