New SUV flagship to take on Bentayga, Cullinan, Range Rover

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS will get a super-luxurious Maybach variant to take on the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, according to a new report out of the UK.

Autocar cites anonymous insiders who have confirmed such a vehicle is under development, with a preview to be shown in concept form at the Beijing motor show in April, before being revealed in production guise at the Los Angeles motor show in November.

"We have been quietly surprised by the sales success of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which is proving extremely popular in many key markets," a 'high-level official' told the British publication.

"The plan now is to extend the exclusivity surrounding the Maybach name into the upper end of the SUV segment. We’re confident this new model will leave little to be desired in terms of luxury."

Additionally, the Maybach GLS will likely be the first model from the high-end subsidiary to be produced in the US, given the GLS is produced exclusively at Mercedes-Benz's Tuscaloosa facility in Alabama.

Key differences between the Maybach and Mercedes-Benz versions of the SUV are likely to include subtle exterior tweals like the grille, wheels and badging, along with a "significantly more luxurious interior".

It's unclear whether the Maybach GLS will offer four-, five- and/or seven-seat configurations.

Power is said to come from a version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 seen in various AMG 63 models along with the Maybach S560. In '560' specification the motor churns out 345kW of power and 700Nm of torque. A 463kW/1000Nm 6.0-litre bi-turbo V12 is also a possibility.

The report adds the plug-in hybrid system from the recently-launched S560e is also "under discussion" for the Maybach GLS – which combines a 270kW V6 petrol engine with a 90kW/440Nm electric motor, allowing for "around 50km" of silent emissions-free driving.

Key rivals for the Maybach GLS include the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover SVAutobiography, along with the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates.