If I said to you, "full-size Mercedes-Benz SUV", you'd likely picture a price tag in six figures after options, destination charges and the like.
Meet a four-wheeled myth buster.
This is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450. It's the largest of the Benz SUVs, and the base vehicle for a couple of bonkers variants I've reviewed: The $149,115 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 and the $190,100 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600.
Under the hood---yes, that says six-cylinder. As in a smooth-as-silk inline six with a turbo. Three liters, 369 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque. Nine-speed automatic transmission, Mercedes' 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. Zero to sixty in 5.9 seconds.
Inside, MB-Tex (Mercedes' damn near indestructible faux leather), a sunroof, cargo cover, power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, electric folding third row seat, four-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, keyless-go, multi-color ambient lighting, a Burmester surround-sound audio system with 13 speakers, a surround-view camera, full LED headlamps, adaptive high beam assist and blind spot assist.
Lemme say that again---$77,200. Now let's put that in perspective. A top-of-the line 2022 Chevy Tahoe 4WD High Country starts at $75,645. You want a sunroof like the GLS? The least expensive way to get it is the Premium Package 2. Your Tahoe now starts at $79,785.
Yes, some other stuff comes with that which the Benz either will charge extra for or doesn't offer, but by the time we get to the end of the option sheet and fold in delivery, what we have here are a Chevy and a Mercedes for pretty much the same money.
Speaking of options, this is the point in the review where I usually caution about luxury vehicles---especially European luxury vehicles---and how the options can add up, sometimes adding another third of the vehicle's price tag. But not in our tester. Natural grain grey oak wood trim was $160, a heated steering wheel added $250, illuminated running boards were $650, the Night Package (black front splitter, grille trim, rear diffuser, side mirrors, window trim and roof rails) added $400, the Acoustic Comfort Package (increased cabin insulation, infrared-reflecting film on the windshield, and side windows, which also get acoustic film) is $1,100 and the AMG Line Package (AMG body styling, with body-color wheel arches and AMG wheels) was $4,350.
The chip shortage saves us $200 via a credit for missing standard wireless charging. So, with $1,050 destination and delivery, the as-tested price of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 lands at $84,960. And yes, if you chose every option on a top-of-the-line Tahoe, it would cost more than that. To say nothing of what more traditional competitors (BMW X7, Cadillac Escalade, the new Lexus LX 600) would cost.
Surprised? I was when I saw the price sticker. And, in fairness, the BMW and the Cadillac start within walking distance of the Benz' base price (the new Lexus, which I haven't driven yet, is considerably more expensive). But the GLS 450 shows what reining in the impulse to load one of these up can result in----a luxurious, quick and capable family SUV for loaded Tahoe money.