The smoothest riding Mercedes SUV is the Mercedes GLS. Although the GLS is not quite an S-class on stilts as Mercedes likes to call it, the GLS certainly does offer a comfortable, smooth experience.
The midsize GLE also offers a smooth ride, along with pretty much every new Mercedes SUV if it isn’t equipped with the off-road package or the large size wheels or sporty suspensions. Mercedes prioritizes comfort when it comes to SUVs, and all the modern-day Mercedes SUVs certainly do reflect that.
The Mercedes GLS range kicks off with the $76k GLS450 equipped with a 3.0-liter inline 6 engine assisted with Mercedes EQ-Boost technology. All versions of the GLS come equipped with a 9-speed gearbox that is also tailored to provide a smooth shifting experience, that further increases the ride comfort.
The next model in the lineup, and also the highest trim Mercedes GLS, is the $99k GLS580. This version of the GLS is equipped with a 4.0-liter BiTurbo V8, also assisted with Mercedes EQ Boost technology. 21-inch wheels are standard on this version, but you can opt for smaller wheels that help increase the smoothness of the ride.
The most important piece of equipment for increased ride comfort is the AIRMATIC suspension. This system is aimed at striking a perfect balance between a soft, comfortable ride and a composed roll-free driving experience in the bends. This system enables the driver to choose the perfect ride height for every environment.
This system also is also capable of determining the perfect ride height, depending on the driving conditions and is also able to compensate for any additional weight added to the vehicle.
If you are on a budget and still want a big, comfy SUV, the used Mercedes GL-Class might just suit you best. The GL ceased production in 2019 and was later replaced with the aforementioned GLS.
The GL comes equipped with a decent air-spring suspension system, dubbed Magic Carpet Ride. This system is aimed at providing comfort, but some consider it to be “too pillowy.”
Some customers prefer this type of ride as it does seem extremely comfortable, even though the sacrifice in dynamics might be a turn-off for others. Nevertheless, the GL is still a capable SUV and can be acquired for a lot less than the new GLS.
The newer GLS is aimed at striking a balance between sport and comfort, but the GL prioritizes comfort at an expense of substandard dynamics. It’s a matter of taste as to which system you actually prefer, but the GLS offers more functionality and a multi-purpose suspension system that fits more driving environments.
If you are not on a budget, and you want the best riding Mercedes SUV ever produced, the new Maybach GLS is unquestionably the best. The Maybach GLS offers luxury without limits and is aimed at elevating your senses and taking off the strain of everyday commuting.
The Maybach GLS is equipped with the AIRMATIC suspension, but the system in the Maybach GLS is a bit more advanced- When paired with the Maybach-grade Active Body Control, this SUV can glide you to your destination in wafting fashion.
The model in question is the GLS600 Maybach. Starting at around $160k, this SUV is a lot more expensive compared to the “regular” top-of-the-line Mercedes GLS 580, but it tries to make up for it by giving you more of everything.
This model shares the same powertrain as the GLS580, but the power is increased from 483hp to 550hp. The Maybach GLS is an amazing SUV, but the high price tag is somewhat hard to justify since the Maybach essentially offers the same underpinnings as the GLS580.
Finding a smooth ride
Which is the smoothest riding SUV on sale today?
The most comfortable SUV on the market is undoubtedly the Rolls Royce Cullinan. The Rolls starts at around $330-340k, and it offers a 6.7-liter V12 engine that pushes out 563hp. The Cullinan weighs as much as 3 tons and is aimed at comfort and only comfort.
And that’s the main difference between the Cullinan and every other premium SUV on the market. Most SUVs, including the GLS, are aimed at striking a perfect balance between sportiness and comfort, but not Rolls.
Providing a decently comfortable driving experience, and a decently sporty experience at the same time is virtually impossible, as these are two opposite sides of the spectrum. And Rolls is clear and adamant at prioritizing comfort. Because of this, the Cullinan is simply unrivaled when it comes to a smooth driving experience.
How to further increase the ride comfort of your car
Ride comfort can be manipulated drastically. The same car can offer way different ride quality, depending on the ride height, wheel size, damper and suspension set-ups, as well as the tires.
The ride height plays a major role as well, as the perfect suspension travel enables the car to stay smooth no matter the terrain. A car equipped with 22-inch wheels will never be as comfortable as a car with 19-inch wheels. There is simply a lot less tire to soak up the bumps.
Damper and suspension set-ups should be checked from time to time as they can vary throughout the car’s lifespan. Furthermore, the tires you use on your car can also shift the ride quality towards comfort, or stiffer sporty driving.
Are the Mercedes AMG models as comfortable as the regular Mercedes models?
No, they are not. Mercedes AMG is the polar opposite of Maybach.
AMG offers stiffer suspension set-ups that are primarily focused on sporty driving. Some lower-trim Mercedes models like the 53 or the 43 AMG variants are more composed, but the AMG 63 S variants are usually either way too stiff in sport mode, or way too pillowy in comfort mode.
If you are in the market for a comfy SUV, a regular Mercedes model is a better option than an AMG model. If you want the best ride Mercedes offers, you should just go ahead and buy the S-class because the GLS cannot match the S-class, not even in the Maybach trim.