Explosive yet muted……soft yet firm……contradictions, perhaps, but not when describing Mercedes’ ’17 GLS450.


No….instead of contradictions, those are perhaps some of the very reasons that justify the window sticker on a premium vehicle like the GLS450.


Hit the throttle and this beast will rocket forward….it just won’t make a big deal out of it.    No real noise or sense of “effort”…..it just goes.


And the same with the suspension.    While it feels soft enough to take on any pothole, it’s firm enough to have you feeling in complete control even at illegal speeds.


Brakes, too.    Big and powerful…giving you the sense that even if you did something rather dumb, you could safely brake your way out of danger.


Yes….the ’17 GLS450 has the muscles, confidence and finesse of an all-pro linebacker….running downfield while carrying a one-month old baby.


And this is just the “baby” of the family…..the 3.0 six-cylinder twin-turbo 362 HP GLS450.     If you need more, there’s a V-8 550…..and even an AMG version.


But the 7-passenger GLS450 should pack enough punch for most people.   It’ll tow up to 7,500 lbs, and Mercedes claims a 6.5 second zero-to-60 time.   Not bad at all.


Mercedes packs the GLS450 with some potent safety features….standard.

Active brake assist will apply the proper brake pedal pressure for you if the vehicle senses a collision….and it’ll take over for you if it senses that you’re not paying attention.


You’ll also get “Attention Assist”….a Big Brother computer system that monitors 70 different elements of your behavior and will give you sound and tactile warnings if it senses that you’re falling asleep at the wheel.


Not counting the somewhat limited production G-Wagen, the GLS is Mercedes’ top of the line SUV, so space is not really an issue.    Even the third row is easily accessible, and with the second and third rows folded flat, there’s almost 94 cubic feet of space back there when needed.


Mercedes’ GLS450 starts in the high $60’s…..and as is the case with most vehicles, it’s fairly easy to add another $10K or so in options.


Our test GLS stickered at just over $82K, and included all the latest electronic warnings that you’d expect, plus a couple of “toys” that make this type of vehicle the treat that it is.     We enjoyed the heated and cooled front cup holders and the variable multi-color ambient lighting and the big Mercedes Benz logo on the puddle lights.


And I’m sure that on-coming traffic did a double-take or two upon seeing our illuminated Mercedes Benz three-pointed star logo right in the front of the grille.


Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive is standard, of course….and is computer-controlled to send or reduce power to all wheels as needed for maximum traction in any condition.    Mileage is EPA rated at 17 city and 22 highway.


This is a comfortable, capable and feature-filled vehicle….so much so that if you can pay to play in this league, Mercedes’ 2017 GLS450 has enough going for it that it’s doubtful that you’ll ever find yourself driving down the road in a few years thinking “Why did I buy this”?


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