The Mercedes-Maybach SUV as imagined by Autocar
Mercedes-Benz is set to crown its current seven-strong SUV line-up with a plush new Maybach-badged GLS model that’s been conceived to act as an up-market rival to the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover SV Autobiography Dynamic and yet-to-be-launched Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
Planned for launch in 2019 at a price around £150,000, the big new SUV is based around the upcoming third-generation GLS and is being developed to offer performance, accommodation and features consummate with the existing Mercedes-Maybach S-class launched in 2015, according to senior Mercedes-Benz officials, who cite China, North America and Russia among the new model’s key target markets.
Autocar can confirm the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS will receive its own unique styling elements, many of which will be drawn directly from the racey Mayach 6 Coupe concept revealed at the Pebble Beach Concourse in 2016 as a preview to the future of Mercedes-Benz’s Maybach sub-brand.
Despite retaining the same aluminium, high strength steel and composite body panels as future standard GLS models, the new up-market SUV is expected to sport a different grille and unique headlamp and tail lamp graphics as well as added chrome and individual wheel designs in a move aimed at providing it with a more noble appearance in line with the current Mercedes-Maybach S-class.
Secrecy surrounds the layout of the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS, although there are suggestions it could also boast an extended wheelbase in a bid to provide it with the sort of rear seat legroom offered by the luxury SUV competition. The current 5130mm long second-generation GLS rides on a 3080mm wheelbase – some 40mm shorter than that used by the 5199mm long Range Rover SV Autobiography long wheelbase but 80mm longer than that of the 5140mm long Bentley Bentayga.
Inside the second of the new generation of Maybach models is planned to boast a luxuriously equipped cabin with appointments and materials beyond those of Mercedes-Benz’s existing Designo line. Among the more unique touches will be Maybach themed digital instrument infotainment system graphics, says an insider closely involved in the new model’s development.
Although the standard third-generation GLS is planned to offer seating for up to seven on three rows of seats, the new Maybach model is set to offer two rows of seats with dedicated seating for four, or, as optional, five.
Among the engines likely to be offered by the future range-topping GLS model is Mercedes-Benz’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine mated to a standard nine-speed automatic, with both 4Matic four-wheel drive and Air Body Control air suspension set to be standard. Insiders also hint at plans for a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 flagship, although this is yet to be officially acknowledged. Also under development for the new GLS are petrol-electric and diesel-electric hybrid drivetrains – the latter of which is set to debut in the E-class later this year.
Mercedes-Benz’s plan to extend the Maybach line-up to include a GLS based model comes after strong sales of the Mercedes-Maybach S-class, which has racked up some 15,000 sales worldwide since its launch in 2015.