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.