Mercedes-Benz has been watching Bentley, Range Rover and Rolls-Royce take up the ultra-luxury SUV mantle. Now, it's time for a German-badged entry into the segment.
Mercedes has teased the next Mercedes-Maybach model, a posher, plusher version of the GLS the company is calling “the new face of ultimate luxury”. It’s set to debut this month, not at the Los Angeles motor show but instead at the Guangzhou motor show on 21 November.
Like current Mercedes-Maybach models, the new ultra-luxury GLS will use a unique vertical bar grille and a stand-up hood ornament version of the Mercedes-Benz (not Maybach) logo.
Spy shots have also revealed the Maybach GLS will use a slightly different rear bumper and exhaust tips with horizontal chrome accents.
Though the GLS already has a sumptuous interior, the Maybach-branded version – the first SUV and US-built model to wear the Maybach name – will up the ante.
Currently, the Mercedes-Maybach brand has only S-Class-based models. A sybarite’s delight, the Mercedes-Maybach S650 adds over the regular S-Class sedan a chauffeur package with reclining rear seats, an in-car fragrance system, a ‘hot stone’ massage function for the front and rear seats and higher-grade Nappa leather. The S650, however, removes the centre rear seat, replacing it with a centre console.
The S650 is also 200mm longer in wheelbase than a regular S-Class and adds Magic Body Control from the S-Class Coupe. Hedonists seeking even more spread-out room can also special order a Pullman limousine.
Expect the Mercedes-Maybach GLS to add many of the additional luxuries found in the Mercedes-Maybach S650 such as a more opulent rear cabin and upholstery. The Maybach GLS is also likely to ditch its centre, second-row seat and add unique, larger wheels and the option of two-tone paint.
What isn’t clear, however, is what will happen to the GLS’s third row. The GLS is relatively unique in its class in having a habitable third row and would be the only SUV in the ultra-lux class to even offer the option of a third row.
Expect the Maybach GLS to use the most powerful engine in the GLS range’s arsenal. Currently, that’s the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine from the GLS580 not sold here. It produces 360kW of power and 700Nm of torque, with a further 16kW and 250Nm available over short periods from the 48-volt EQ Boost electric motor.
Currently, the most expensive GLS here is the GLS400d, retailing for $151,300. While the Maybach treatment will add more to the GLS’s price tag, it’ll likely fall far shy of the Mercedes-Maybach S650 ($469,184) as well as ultra-luxe rivals like the Bentley Bentayga, which starts at $333,700.
We previously reported the Maybach GLS will start at around £150,000 ($269,280) in the UK market. If it comes here, it will therefore likely undercut the Bentayga but be priced right up against the swanky Range Rover Autobiography, which starts at $255,270.