The interior layout, fit and finish
You sit very high, which gives you a great view of the road ahead. Plus, the driver’s seat electrically adjusts every which way to help you get comfortable, and a standard 360-degree camera makes the GLS easier to manoeuvre in tight spaces than you’d expect.
On top of all this, the interior has more wow factor than the BMW X7’s, thanks to two 12.3in glass-fronted screens that sit side-by-side to create a panoramic effect, and swanky ambient lighting in a choice of 64 colours.
True, the interior doesn’t feel quite as solid as the X7’s or the Audi Q7’s, but it still features high-quality metal detailing, real wood and swathes of leather.
Most functions are operated by swiping and pressing either the left-hand screen or a touchpad between the front seats, with the menus pretty logically laid out. Or you can use a Siri-style ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control system, which recognises natural speech instead of requiring you to remember specific commands.
The X7 just has the edge for ease of use, because its central rotary controller is less fiddly than the GLS’s touchpad. But Mercedes compensates by including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, whereas the former is only free for a year on the X7 and the latter not available at all.
In addition, the GLS’s infotainment screen is more responsive than the ones in the Q7 and Volvo XC90. And, unlike those cars, it has conventional climate controls that can be operated without taking your eyes off the road.