New 2019 Mercedes GLS seven-seat SUV spied

All-new version of Merc’s range-topping SUV will be flagship of brand’s upcoming SUV boom

The Mercedes GLS has been caught by our spy photographers for the first time ahead of an anticipated release in 2019, by which time it will rival the BMW X7, Audi Q8 and Range Rover in the flagship SUV market.

The new seven-seater joins the back of what it already a lengthy new Mercedes SUV queue, as the brand is on the verge of unleashing a blitz of new cars across a number of SUV sectors. A new GLA is in the pipeline, alongside a new GLE, a fresh G-Class, a Maybach SUV, plus an all-new entry into the line-up in the form of the GLB.

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These spy photographs show that we’re still a long way from seeing the design Mercedes has in mind for the next-generation GLS, and given that the firm has yet to begin its fresh SUV rollout, it’s possible that a new-generation design language will be rolled out across the board.

From the overall shape of the mule though, we can see that the boxy profile of the current generation car – introduced in 2012, and since facelifted and given the GLS name in late 2015 – will be ditched in favour of a smoother look with a slightly more rakish profile towards the rear.

The car’s positioning as the flagship within Mercedes’ SUV range means S-Class comparisons are possible though, and we expect this new car to take on most of the cabin tech featured on the recently facelifted version of Mercedes’ luxury limousine.

New engines could be shared with the S-Class too, as the GLS seems a likely candidate to benefit from the firm’s upcoming fresh inline six-cylinder petrol and diesel units. The former supports 48v electrification with an electric turbocharger and an ‘Integrated Started Alternator’ system, which is used for energy recovery and can furnish the combustion engine with additional electric boost. A V8 biturbo powered AMG option will appear later in the next GLS’ lifespan.

Under the skin however, it could share more in common with the next-generation GLE, due in 2018, by making use of Mercedes’ MHA platform – a new modular architecture dedicated for SUVs.