Previously just the GL-class, the GLS is the “S-class of SUVs”, according to Merc. Below it sits the GLE and then the GLC: E-class and C-class, geddit? Its predecessor, the GL, was introduced in 2006 to satisfy the huge – literally – demand from America, where it was built, and increasingly the Middle East, for a big SUV to sit above the M-class. The first M-class – Mercedes’ first dip into the luxury SUV waters, back in the Nineties – was not a roaring success, but the company has worked hard on its premium off-roading offerings since then, and while it still believes that 99 per cent of people will never go near a serious off-road adventure, the GLS now offers downhill speed regulating systems akin to those offered by Land Rover as part of a £1,985 off-road package that includes a 100pc differential lock on the centre diff, guard under the engine with reinforced underbody paneling, low-range gearbox, three off-road ride heights and off-road algorithm for ABS and ESP.
But for most drivers, a rundown on the heritage of the S-class executive saloon would be more appropriate as this is first and foremost a stonking luxury car, with seven seats.