Mercedes Benz GLS Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Mercedes Benz GLS Years To Avoid – Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Mercedes Benz GLS years to avoid, where we delve into crucial insights about this luxurious SUV lineup. Introduced in 2006 as the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and later rebranded as the GLS, these vehicles have captured hearts with their blend of opulence and performance.

If you’re considering making a statement on the road with a full-size Mercedes-Benz GLS, it’s essential to be informed about the best and not-so-great model years.

Over the years, the GLS has gained a reputation for its initial reliability and impressive performance, offering a taste of automotive excellence from the moment it’s driven off the lot.

However, like any vehicle, as time goes by and maintenance plans expire, the cost of ownership can climb.

Mercedes Benz GLS Years To Avoid

This is where choosing the right model year becomes crucial to avoid potential headaches down the road.

So, let’s embark on this journey together as we explore the Mercedes Benz GLS years to avoid.

From the best to the not-so-favorable, we’ve got you covered with the information you need to drive with confidence.

Mercedes Benz GLS Years To Avoid

When it comes to purchasing a new vehicle, making the right choice is paramount. Among the myriad of factors influencing your decision, reliability and recalls often stand out as key concerns.

After all, no one wants to find themselves saddled with a car that constantly breaks down or requires costly repairs.

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This is where understanding which models to avoid becomes crucial, ensuring a smooth and financially sound ownership experience, especially if you intend to keep your car for the long haul.

Mercedes Benz GLS Years To Avoid

We understand that you want not only luxury and performance but also the peace of mind that comes with a dependable vehicle.

The Reliability Factor: Unveiling Consumer Reports’ Insights

To distinguish the reliable from the problematic, we turn to a trusted source: Consumer Reports’ annual car reliability rankings.

This comprehensive assessment considers various factors, from mechanical issues to user feedback, creating a holistic picture of a vehicle’s reliability.

Let’s explore which Mercedes-Benz GLS models have raised red flags.

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS: A Closer Look

The allure of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS is undeniable. With its sophisticated interior, robust 6-cylinder turbo engine, and smooth ride, it’s no wonder this three-row SUV has garnered attention.

Marketed as a family-friendly vehicle that doesn’t compromise on elegance, the GLS boasts comfortable seating and a spacious third row, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a touch of luxury in their journeys.

Safety takes center stage in the 2021 GLS, featuring advanced systems such as automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, front collision warning, and blind spot warning.

The fusion of style, performance, and safety seems like a winning formula, right?

However, appearances can be deceiving.

Unveiling the Reality: Why to Avoid the 2021 GLS

Consumer Reports throws a curveball by recommending potential buyers to steer clear of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS, and their reasons are compelling.

The vehicle receives a disheartening reliability rating of 71 out of 100 from J.D. Power, casting a shadow of doubt over its dependability.

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This low rating is a leading factor in Consumer Reports’ cautionary stance.

Digging deeper, issues arise in the usability department. The GLS’s array of features, though impressive, can be highly distracting to operate.

Take, for instance, the complex process of adjusting the lumbar support in the seats. It’s easy to inadvertently interact with the numerous touch-based controls, inadvertently altering display settings or audio configurations.

And then there’s the matter of depreciation, a significant concern for any car owner.

Car Edge estimates that the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class will lose a staggering 62% of its value after just five years, projecting an approximate resale value of $44,047.

Considering the initial price range of $76,000 to $160,500, this depreciation paints a stark financial picture.

Recalls can be indicative of deeper issues within a vehicle model. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS raises eyebrows with a total of eight recalls.

While recalls themselves aren’t uncommon, a high number could point to underlying design or manufacturing flaws, making the 2021 GLS a risky proposition.

Mercedes Benz GLS Best Years

Buying a car isn’t merely about acquiring a mode of transportation; it’s an investment in trust and reliability. A reliable vehicle translates to worry-free journeys, fewer breakdowns, and a sense of security.

When considering a prestigious brand like Mercedes-Benz, the focus on reliability is even more critical.

Mercedes Benz GLS Best Years

We unveil the best years of the Mercedes-Benz GLS, highlighting the models that combine opulence with impeccable dependability.

The Foundation of a Sound Decision

Reliability isn’t just about a car’s lifespan; it’s about how well it performs its intended functions over time.

A reliable vehicle is one that stands the test of time, delivering consistent performance and minimizing the need for frequent repairs.

In the realm of luxury SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz GLS stands tall, but not all years are created equal in terms of reliability.

The Transformation from GL to GLS

Understanding the nomenclature is essential. Mercedes-Benz made a significant shift by rebranding the GL-Class as the GLS in 2016, emphasizing its prestige.

This shift marked a distinction and vehicles starting from 2017 are viewed as part of a different class altogether.

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When it comes to purchasing a vehicle, especially a luxury one, reliability should be at the forefront of your considerations.

First Generation Excellence: 2008 & 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL

The first-generation GL-Class, introduced in 2006, set the stage for Mercedes-Benz’s foray into the luxury SUV market.

Mercedes Benz GLS Best Years

Going head-to-head with competitors like the Audi Q7, Escalade, and Lexus LX, the GL-Class boasted a unique advantage—a unibody design that enhanced maneuverability.

Across the spectrum of GL-Class models, a consistent cabin experience and a seven-speed transmission were shared, catering to various engine options.

Notably, the GL63 AMG emerged as a distinct version with modern styling.

For those eyeing the first-generation GL-Class, the standout years are 2008 and 2011.

Despite some mixed reviews from Consumer Reports for the entire GL-Class, these models shine as the most reliable options.

The 2011 model garners the highest reliability rating from J.D. Power, closely followed by the 2008 iteration.

The 2008 GL-Class received accolades for its aesthetics, ride quality akin to sedans, and remarkable performance in the large luxury SUV category.

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Fuel efficiency emerged as a strong point, setting it apart from rivals.

Meanwhile, the 2011 GL-Class ranks fourth in US News’ 2011 Luxury Large SUVs category, with praises for its powerful engine, comfortable ride, and luxurious cabin.

Second Generation Excellence: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLS

The second-generation GL-Class, unveiled in 2012, marked a shift towards an updated cabin, advanced safety features, and upgraded powertrains. Among this iteration, the 2016 GLS stands out as the pinnacle of reliability and advanced features.

Mercedes Benz GLS Best Years

With the highest reliability ratings and safety scores in its class, the 2016 GLS is a testament to Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to excellence.

The revamp of the engine lineup in 2015 injected a new level of authority and performance, rivaling even sports cars. The GLS500 achieved an impressive 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds, while the GLS63 AMG shattered records with its exceptional acceleration.

The 2016 GLS showcases both strength and versatility, embodying the essence of luxury SUVs.

However, the prestige comes at a cost, reminding buyers that even luxury can carry a significant price tag.

While the GLS350 diesel option appeals to those seeking fuel efficiency, it’s worth considering the potential trade-offs, as diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz vehicles sometimes exhibit lower reliability ratings.

US News crowned the 2016 GLS as the top-rated luxury SUV of its year, securing the number one spot.

With a J.D. Power reliability score of four out of five, the 2016 GLS exceeded the category average.

A plethora of driver assistance safety features, including a rearview camera, driver drowsiness monitor, and adaptive cruise control, further enhance its appeal.

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Mercedes Benz GLS Problems

The allure of a luxury SUV like the Mercedes-Benz GLS is undeniable, with its distinct design, opulent interior, and exceptional practicality.

However, amidst the glamour, this full-size SUV is not exempt from facing its share of challenges.

Mercedes Benz GLS Problems

In this section, we’ll delve into some of the most common issues that have plagued the Mercedes-Benz GLS, along with practical solutions for a seamless ownership experience.

1. Failure of the 48V Secondary Battery

The GLS utilizes a 48V secondary battery to aid in vehicle startup and power other components. This battery plays a crucial role in functions like downhill gliding, where it powers the vehicle while the engine temporarily shuts off.

However, reports have emerged of this battery failing to function properly during startup, with the car system failing to adequately charge it.

This unexpected issue has left some GLS owners stranded and perplexed.

Some owners have managed to address this problem by cleaning their battery terminals, which had become clogged with dirt or paint, causing the failure.

In more severe cases, battery replacement was necessary, albeit covered by warranty for those with low mileage or newly purchased vehicles.

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2. Substandard Interior Quality

Despite its luxury tag and starting price of up to $77,850, the GLS has faced criticism for its interior quality. Numerous owners have expressed disappointment with the plastic quality and durability of various interior components.

From folding rear seats prone to damage to a perceived lack of sophistication in the dashboard design, these issues have tarnished the luxury experience that the GLS promises.

3. Foul Smell From the HVAC

The 2010 GLS models, in particular, were plagued by an unpleasant odor emanating from the AC whenever it was activated.

This issue left owners perplexed, as even after replacing air and cabin filters, the foul smell persisted. The root cause was traced back to a clogged mold inside the vehicle’s evaporator, resulting from condensation.

A lawsuit ensued, and while some resorted to disinfectant sprays, a more thorough solution involved a meticulous cleaning of the entire HVAC system.

4. Vibrations in the Vehicle

Vibrations can significantly disrupt the driving experience, and some GLS owners reported noticeable vibrations at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour.

These vibrations, often originating from unbalanced wheels or various mechanical issues, impacted vehicle handling and control.

While solutions range from tire rotation and alignment to suspension checks, some owners found that tire replacement with a different brand was the most effective remedy.

5. Excessive Tire Wear

Building on the vibration problem, the GLS suffered from excessive tire wear, particularly with the standard tires. Owners noted that these tires wore out prematurely, sometimes necessitating replacement as early as 10,000 miles.

The root causes ranged from bad wheel alignment to suspension geometry issues, underscoring the importance of regular maintenance and alignment checks to extend tire life.

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6. Poor Headlights

Weak headlights have been a common complaint among GLS owners, impacting nighttime visibility and safety. The halogen lights, found in some models, were deemed insufficiently bright, making it difficult to navigate dark roads.

Some owners opted for aftermarket bulbs with higher brightness and color temperatures, while others explored retrofitting LED bulbs for enhanced illumination.

Is it worth it to buy GLS?

Yes, the 2023 GLS is indeed a worthy investment in the realm of luxury large SUVs. Delivering a comfortable cabin, generous passenger and cargo space, and an extensive array of standard features, the GLS offers a blend of luxury and practicality.

However, it’s important to note that its infotainment system can be challenging to navigate, and it faces strong competition within its competitive segment.

Is Mercedes GLS reliable?

While the Mercedes-Benz GLS shines as a prominent contender among upscale three-row SUVs, boasting impressive performance, comfort, and luxury, there are some drawbacks to consider.

Complicated controls negatively impact its road-test score, and a below-average predicted reliability rating affects its overall standing.

It’s worth noting that this model has been subject to 10 recalls, which should be taken into account.

Are Mercedes GL450 expensive to maintain?

Maintaining and repairing a Mercedes-Benz GL450 comes with a variable cost range. Estimates indicate that expenses can range from as low as $95 to a higher end of $4302, with an average cost of around $432.

This cost spectrum highlights the potential variation in maintenance expenses, so it’s recommended to budget for potential repairs and consider the long-term costs of ownership.

How many miles will a Mercedes GLS last?

Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including the GLS, can demonstrate impressive longevity when properly maintained. Generally, even older Mercedes models can offer reliable service well beyond the 250,000-mile mark, provided they are kept in good mechanical condition.

The presence of robust six-cylinder engines in most Mercedes models contributes to their durability and ability to withstand high mileage usage.


The decision to invest in a Mercedes-Benz GLS comes with a mix of pros and cons that potential buyers should carefully weigh. The 2023 GLS stands as a commendable luxury large SUV, offering a blend of comfort, spaciousness, and an array of features.

However, challenges such as a complex infotainment system and the presence of tough competition in its class should be factored into the decision-making process.

While the GLS exemplifies luxury and performance, its overall reliability has been a topic of discussion.

Amidst its impressive attributes, the model has faced recalls and has received a below-average predicted reliability rating. This aspect should be considered by those seeking a dependable long-term investment.

The presence of robust engines and diligent maintenance practices contribute to their extended lifespan, offering peace of mind to those considering a Mercedes-Benz GLS as a long-term companion.

In essence, while the allure of a luxury SUV like the GLS is undeniable, it’s crucial for buyers to delve into the specifics of reliability, maintenance costs, and longevity before making a decision.

A comprehensive understanding of these factors will empower buyers to make an informed choice that aligns with their preferences and priorities.

When considering a Mercedes-Benz GLS, cautious research and thorough assessment are key to ensuring a satisfying ownership experience.

So, whether you’re drawn to the comfort and opulence or the performance and style, remember to approach the decision with a critical eye to make the most of your Mercedes Benz GLS years to avoid any potential pitfalls.

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