2021 Mercedes Benz GLS Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Forward Collision Avoidance & air bag issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The Mercedes Benz GLS (Geländewagen Leicht Sonderklasse), a lightweight, special-class, cross-country vehicle, is a full-size luxury SUV that’s been in production since 2006. Heralded by some as a utility vehicle wrapped in luxury, it doesn’t generally elicit many complaints. But some issues might make you label your GLS a lemon.

So, what should you be aware of if you think you’ve bought a lemon?

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes Mercedes-Benz pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 877-795-3666 today.

NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Mercedes Benz GLS

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control:software
Air Bags
Lane Departure: Lane Keep: Steering Assist
Power Train
Electrical System:12v/24v/48v Battery
Seat Belts

The Most Common Problems with the 2021 Mercedes Benz GLS

People complain on many different platforms when they have problems with their cars. We are only dealing with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) complaints here.

While there aren’t many complaints about the Mercedes Benz GLS, there always are some. In 2019 there were 5, in 2020 there were 8, and in 2021, so far there have been 7. These are always varied and don’t show any particular pattern.

For example, the most common problem for the 2021 model is forward collision avoidance, with 2 complaints. But this is not an issue in the previous 2 years. At the same time it’s important to realize that issues aren’t always immediately evident. For instance, 5 of the 8 complaints made about the 2020 model were between March and November 2021, and one of the 2019 complaints was filed in 2021.

Sometimes, it is also important to look at problems that other Mercedes-Benz models have. For example, we have seen there is a tendency for some Mercedes-Benz models to have serious 48V battery issues. From the complaints made with the NHTSA about the 2021 GLS, it is clear that this model isn’t exempt.

2021 Mercedes Benz GLS Forward Collision Avoidance Problems

When a car warns that there is the possibility of a collision it’s alarming when there aren’t any vehicles or objects in the road. When this happened to a driver in Georgia, she deactivated the driver assistance functions. But the failure continues, with an audio alarm and warning on the display screen.

There is no solution to this problem. The dealer says she must wash her car, but it makes no difference. And it only has 200 miles on the clock!

2021 Mercedes Benz GLS Air Bag Problems

Even though there is only one complaint, it reports an injury. The driver was traveling between 30 and 35 mph when a vehicle crossed her path. She tried to brake but couldn’t stop and collided with the vehicle. The steering wheel airbag split open and deployed, but the driver’s arm was cut and she was burnt on the shin.

There was no police report and the floor airbag was reportedly removed by the tow company. Even though she did report the incident to her dealer, and there was contact with the manufacturer, there wasn’t any further assistance.

2021 Mercedes Benz GLS Vehicle Speed Control Problems

Speed control problems involve cars decelerating incorrectly when on cruise control. A complainant states that the mechanic at the local dealer could not duplicate the failure so it wasn’t diagnosed or repaired. This failure was at 3,000 miles.

2021 Mercedes Benz GLS 48V Battery Problems

This complaint explains what can happen if your 48V battery doesn’t work.

“The car would not start and could not be jumped. I’m told it’s the 48V battery (that) has to be replaced. I have seen on the internet numerous people have the same problem and that a large batch of these 48V batteries are the problem. Error message displays stop the vehicle and more details advise battery is malfunctioning and do not continue driving.”

It isn’t clear whether this complainant was made aware of the technical service bulletin (TSB) that warns there is a “functional impairment of 48V on-board electrical system”.

The TSB is posted on the NHTSA website as a guide to dealerships who have consumers complaining about 48V battery problems.

What to do if Your 2021 Mercedes Benz GLS is a Lemon? Your Lemon Rights

However, minor you might think your problems are, if your Mercedes Benz GLS has problems that make you think it’s a lemon, do something about it.

Lemberg Law has many years of experience helping car owners who buy lemons. You don’t have to keep a lemon. You have a bunch of legal rights to return, get a buyback, or demand cash for a car that doesn’t operate the way it should.

Call our Helpline today and we’ll evaluate your case. It’s not going to cost you anything because the law says that the manufacturer must pay.

Complaint Data

CategorySeat Belts, Suspension
DateJan 24, 2023
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes-benz gls450. The contact stated while driving 40 mph, the vehicle in front made a sudden stop, causing the contact to make a sudden stop, causing the contact's children to fall out the seats. The contact notice that the third-row buckle latch had malfunctioned. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the third-row driver's side latch was replaced. On another occasion while driving 40 mph, the contact heard squeaking noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic test, and the mechanic stated that no failure was found. The manufacturer was contacted, and a case was filed. The failure mileage was 25,000.
CategoryStructure:body:door , Unknown Or Other
DateJan 23, 2023
My mercedes has the automatic doors that close. I was closing the driver door with my back to the door and felt my thumb get caught in the drivers door. I attempted to remove it but, could not remove it. I had to watch the door slowly close and seal/crush with my finger smashed within the door. My wife helped me open the door and the top of my finger was smashed, as my wife said, like [xxx]. I went to the emergency room in st petersburg florida and as diagnosed with an acute non-displaced fracture through the distal phalanx of the first digit. The door just slowly closed on the finger. If it was a child's hand. Wow information redacted pursuant to the freedom of information act (foia), 5 u. S. C. 552(b)(6).
CategoryLane Departure: Assist, Lane Departure: Warning
DateJan 16, 2023
Mercedes has launch a campaign nr 2022010001 campaign desc: 21p0699002 in which will retrofit augmented reality camera in 1147 vehicle model year 2021-2022 . My car came without this camera due to the chip shortage during the covid . I contacted mercedes benc usa and the rep told me to contact nhtsa in order to add my car as a part of this campaign in order to repair this safety future on my car. This camera affect lane keeping assistance and lane departure warning.
CategoryEngine, Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection
DateJan 09, 2023
On four occasions my car has stalled while in traffic very early in my ownership and then it happened again today with my family in the car and nearly caused an accident. The entire dash lights up with every warning when it happens. Sometimes the check engine light comes on after I shut the car off and restart it. My mercedes dealer has had it in multiple times for this reason. The last time it was in for this (may of 2022) they "reprogrammed" the entire car. It happening again today has really made me lose a lot of faith in the vehicle, especially since we purchased it for the safety factors. I read online that there are many others who have experienced this. Some say it is related to the 48v battery. I don't care what make or model or how expensive it is, a new car should not stall in traffic and should be looked into. Thank you.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine
DateJan 04, 2023
Repeated failures of 48 volt battery system has shut vehicle totally off while under highspeed and in traffic
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateNov 07, 2022
Incident 1: may 2022 vehicle was sitting in driveway overnight and would not start in the morning. Had a 48v battery warning on. Towed to dealership. Said it was a delay software update. Incident 2: august 2022 was driving 35mpg down the road where a warning sign comes up. Then shortly after the car slows down to around 15mph and would not speed up anymore. Towed to dealership. Dealership did not find anything "wrong" with vehicle incident 3: november 2022 car was parked in parking lot for 2 hours. When trying to start car, there was an error message saying stop vehicle. Towed to dealership. Dealership stating they might exchange a new 48v battery.
DateOct 27, 2022
Continuous malfunctioning front windshield wipers. In light to medium rain/wet condition the wipers chatter/jump on the windshield, leaving residue on windshield and causing substantial distraction to driving and even discourages use of wipers (leaving visibility poor). Mercedes dearler/service center has attempted multiple remedies over time but to no avail. Internet search of multiple forums on the web show many people with similar issues so thought it would be relevant for nhtsa to know. Issue is ongoing.
CategoryElectrical System
DateOct 19, 2022
Car shut off while driving. Would not restart. 48 volt battery failure, needed software update
CategoryElectrical System
DateOct 19, 2022
Car would not start, 48 volt system failure
CategoryElectrical System
DateOct 19, 2022
Car turned on by itself, then 2 days later would not start. 48v battery system needed software update
CategoryElectrical System
DateSep 21, 2022
Vehicle would not start on 3 separate occasions. The instrument panel indicated it was the 48v battery. Had it towed to mercedes dealership to have 48v battery replaced.
DateAug 30, 2022
Tire size 270/50 r 20 tire type: cooper discover srx these tires came with my 2021 brand new mercedes gls 450. I bought this car in may 2021. I have had this car for only 1 1/2 years with 22k miles; tires thread are down to 0. I have kids, and this is my primary family car. I had a few bad to worst experiences during wet weather conditions. I took my car for my 20k service milestone; my mercedes dealer acknowledged worn-out tire condition; advised me to purchase new tires. They never informed me about warranty replacement. I just got my tires replaced with non- cooper brand. My tire dealer shared the condition of my old tires; it was unbelievingly in horrible/hazardous condition. See attached images of the tire. These tires should be recalled, as they are unsafe and risky to drive. Thanks, tarun
CategoryElectrical System:12v/24v/48v Battery
DateJun 15, 2022
2021 mercedes benz gls450. Consumer writes in regards to48-volt battery system failure. The consumer stated the has failed twice, a year apart. The dashboard displayed "48-volt battery failure" and "check engine". The vehicle would fail while being driven. The vehicle was restarted and operated as designed. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The consumer stated the manufacturer had determined a fix for the recall repair.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine, Power Train
DateMay 23, 2022
2021 gls 450 vin # 4jgff5ke9ma404568 purch: nov 26, 2022 uag fairfield auto group cm, llc,dba mercedes benz of fairfield odometer date of purchase 10,084 odometer currently *13,700 (onboard notification) timeline: total vehicle system fails while driving on highway lost engine, steering, power suddenly - stranded. November 27, 2021 loud interference noise coming from mbux screen, faulty graphics flashing, app not functioning. Extreme loud “blower” noise coming from heater. Vehicle start would not work as the vehicle did not recognize key was in vehicle even though it was in the vehicle. Informed mb fairfield. Vinnie said that the noises were “normal” . We knew this was incorrect. December 15, 2021 informed mb fairfield of recurring problems december 18, 2021 car would not start/did not recognize key in a parking lot. Went into a local business for help, the owner of the shop coincidentally recently bought the same model and reported similar issues. Shop owner informed us that the “blower” noise coming from our hvc was definitely not normal. Informed mb fairfield of recurring problems above. December 20, 2021 car would not start/did not recognize key - blower issue. Informed mb fairfield of recurring problems and received no help other than the dealership said not an issue and was “normal” "the app has glitches that they can't “fix”. December 23, 2022 car would not start - notified mb fairfield of recurring problems above. He reluctant to admit problem with vehicle, rather blamed it on the app or software. Regardless of root cause=vehicle was faulty and was not functioning safely and at times completely inoperable. January 4, 2022 catastrophic failure, 5pm in dark while in fast lane on i95, vehicle mbux interface made loud noise, flashing illegible graphic. Car in shop march 11, 22 through april 29, 22. May 1 failed at 60mph on highway- stranded. 2 two trucks confirmed unsafe to drive refused tow. Has been at dealer 90 days plus!
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateApr 26, 2022
I was driving down the interstate and heard a loud ‘pop'. Very confused, my daughter and I saw a couple pieces of glass fall from the sunroof. Looked up to see the sky and hear the wind. Luckily, I had the shade closed. I pulled over right away to see a big hole in our sunroof. It seems as though this is a problem with mercedes and they've had a recall in the past. When I took it to the dealership, I was told something had to have hit it. That that haven't had any recalled sunroofs at their location. I definitely would have seen something fly over my car big enough to make a big hole in the sunroof. I'm very thankful no one was injured. But this needs to be addressed! They are taking no responsibility at all!! People need to be warned that this could happen! Others may not have the outcome we did.
CategoryLane Departure: Lane Keep: Steering Assist
DateMar 07, 2022
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes-benz gls450. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the lane departure safety feature independently activated as he attempted to avoid either a person or an object in the lane of traffic. As the contact attempted to steer around the pedestrian or object in the lane of traffic, the safety feature independently jerked the vehicle back into the lane and into the pedestrian or object he attempted to avoid. The contact stated that a red icon alert would appear on the instrument panel that the vehicle was encroaching the opposite lane of traffic, which caused the safety feature to be activated. The contact stated that the safety feature could cause more harm than good because he nearly hit other pedestrians because of this feature. The dealer nor the manufacturer were notified of the failure. The vehicle had yet to be repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.
CategoryAir Bags
DateDec 17, 2021
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes benz gl550. The contact stated that while driving 30 -35 mph an unknown vehicle crossed her path, the driver depressed the brake pedal but was unable to stop before colliding with a vehicle. The steering wheel air bag split open and deployed. The contact sustained injuries, the inside of her right arm was cut. The air bags on the floor deployed and contact sustained severe burns on her shin medical attention was provided. The contact stated she still has an open wound. The distance warning indicator light was illuminated. There was no reported fire. The police were on the scene however, there was no police report filed. The vehicle was towed to an independent lot. The local dealer was contacted but the vehicle was not diagnosed. The manufacturer was contacted but, no further assistance was provided the failure mileage was approximately 3,000. The contact mentioned the floor air bag was removed by the tow company. The vin was not available. Updates- due to the impact of the airbags on the floor, it caused major bruising, restricted blood flow and two hematomas to my right shin. In august of 2020 I had major surgery to remove the hematoma and healing for this open wound took seven months. I have a major scar on my right shin. Additionally, I have a scar on the inside of my lower right arm as the airbag on the steering wheel split open and cut my arm. Steigler automotive repair, in reseda, california repaired all damages to my vehicle (approximately ,000k) and the car was released back to me.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateDec 02, 2021
The car would not start and could not be jumped. I'm told it's the 48v battery has to be replaced. I have seen on the internet numerous people have the same problem and that a large batch of these 48v batteries are the problem. Error message displays stop the vehicle and more details advises battery is malfunctioning and do not continue driving.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control:software, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJul 26, 2021
The contact owns a 2021 mercedes benz gls450. The contact stated while driving 75 mph with the cruise control engaged, the vehicle decelerated to 45 mph than to 15 mph. On another occasion, while driving 80 mph, the vehicle independently decelerated to 45 mph. There was no warning light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the local dealer however, the mechanic was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The contact stated that the cruise control and speed assistance feature provided erroneous information. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 3,000.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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