THE 2017 MERCEDES-BENZ GLS 450 4MATIC HITS ALL THE RIGHT MARKS

BY MARK KEAST

We hopped into the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC — the first one off the production line I might add — all with the intention of driving the vehicle north of Toronto. Summer-time traffic – a Toronto staple – soon turned its ugly head, shelving that plan.

Highway driving gave way to city driving — the stops and starts, the congestion, the brief respites where the driver, alone at night, can touch the peddle to get a sense of what’s under the hood of Mercedes’ new SUV.

Well, as we have said in the past, when you get to this level of luxury (price point for the one we tested: $94,700), the differences between luxury automobile manufacturers is in the details. The GLS 450 4MATIC hit all the right marks during our one-week run, and made city driving an infinitely easier, more relaxing experience.

Some highlights of the car:

*Collision Prevention Assist Plus, featuring both acoustic and visual warnings of an imminent rear-end crash, and autonomous partial braking if the driver fails to react

*World’s first 9-speed automatic transmission, more efficient, reducing fuel consumption levels; faster, smoother gear changes

*21” AMG 5 twin-spoke bi-colour wheels

*High resolution 8” screen diagonal on centrally positioned media display

*Full control and display system, very easy to use, for navigation, telephone, audio, video, internet and more

*New trim and upholstery options

*Increase in output from optimized V6 and V8 engines

*New bumper and hood design

*Sportier look

*Dynamic selects Switch next to your right arm allows one to call up different transmission modes: Comfort, Sport, Slippery (winter-optimized), Off-road and Individual vehicle setting. On the sport mode, the suspension is lowered by 25 mm.

*Magic Vision Control automatically adjusts the amount of washer fluid dispensed according to prevailing conditions, allowing the driver to better concentrate on the road