2019 NY Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class shows what Audi’s missing

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Audi has a lot of SUVs. There’s the Q2, Q3, Q4-tron (coming soon), Q5, Q7 and now the Q8. That’s a lot of SUVs and more than an automaker needs. However, it’s still missing one. We say that because there’s a segment of ultra-premium luxury SUVs that’s actually quite popular and both of Audi’s two main competitors compete in it. The latest one of which is the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and it looks genuinely very good. It’s also something Audi has no natural competitors for.

The largest SUV in Audi’s stable is the Q7, which is just slightly bigger than the Q8 and comes with seven seats as-standard. However, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class also comes with seven seats as-standard except it’s much roomier and more comfortable on the inside. That’s especially true in the third row.

While the third row in the Audi Q7 is barely big enough for children, two near-six-foot adults can sit in the GLS-Class’ third row in perfect comfort for hours. I’m only 5’9″, so maybe I’m not the best judge, but I was able to sit in the third row with inches of headroom and knee room. On top of that, the second row seat in front of me barely had to move forward, which allowed for plenty of second-row legroom.

Speaking of that second row, the car we sat in had the option second-row captain’s chairs and they’re lovely. They’re supportive, comfortable and accommodating, so passengers can ride for hours in extreme comfort.

Overall, the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is an extremely impressive SUV and another in an increasingly crowded segment. With it, the BMW X7 and the Range Rover competing, it shows a glaring hold in Audi’s lineup. The Audi Q7 is nice and the Q8 is sporty but nothing from Ingolstadt has the sort of ultra-premium luxury and family space as this new Benz.