Mercedes-Benz is giving its largest SUV, the GLS, a subtle update to keep it fresh against the likes of the facelifted BMW X7.

    Photographers captured this facelifted Mercedes-Benz GLS prototype testing ahead of a potential debut in 2023.

    There’s camouflage only on small sections of the front and rear of this GLS prototype, indicating the facelift is quite minor. These changes are expected to flow onto the uber-luxurious Maybach GLS as well.

    It’s unclear if Mercedes-Benz will update the engine line-up or outputs for this facelifted model.

    The GLS is offered here with a choice of 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder powertrains, with the GLS450 featuring a 270kW/500Nm petrol and the GLS400d using a 243kW/700Nm diesel.

    Sitting atop these is the Mercedes-AMG GLS63 4Matic+, which uses a 450kW/850Nm twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 engine.

    All current GLS models have a 48V mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive.

    It’s unclear at this stage if Mercedes-Benz is looking to introduce a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain to the GLS as part of the mid-life update.

    The German automaker currently offers a pair of PHEV powertrains in the related GLE: a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol, the GLE350e, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, the GLE350de.

    Up front, this spied GLS prototype has camouflage covering its bumper.

    The grille insert has a design that almost looks like temporary barrier mesh, although this is most likely a form of camouflage.

    The overall shape of the grille looks the same as the current GLS, as well as the headlights.

    Down back, the spied GLS prototype only has camouflage where the tail lights are, which indicates they’ll receive a new design.

    It’s unclear if this new tail light design will feature a full-width light bar, a popular design feature lately, or if it’ll stick with separated tail lights.

    It’s also unclear if the GLS will receive a new set of alloy wheel designs as part of the update. It’s currently available with a choice of 21-, 22- or 23-inch alloy wheels.

    We’re yet to see the interior in the updated GLS so it remains to be seen if there will be any changes to the infotainment system.

    Currently, the GLS has a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system which runs the MBUX operating system.

    The all-electric alternative to the Mercedes-Benz GLS, the EQS SUV, can be optioned with the 141cm-wide MBUX Hyperscreen which includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 17.7-inch central touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch passenger touchscreen.

    The GLS could receive a new steering wheel, potentially the one from the EQS SUV.

    The steering wheel in this electric SUV has a number of touch-sensitive buttons and doesn’t have any toggles or switches.

    The third-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV has been on sale in Australia since 2019.

    A more luxurious Mercedes-Maybach version called the GLS600 arrived last year.

    It’s powered by the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 as the AMG GLS63, but is detuned to produce 410kW and 730Nm.

    Up until May 2022, Mercedes-Benz has sold a total of 272 GLS models. It was outsold during this period by the BMW X7 (406 sales), but outsold the likes of the Land Rover Discovery (78 sales).

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    MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz GLS

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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