A Mercedes-Maybach version of the GLS-Class is finally in the works. Producer plans to preview the upcoming ultra-luxury, full-size SUV at the Beijing auto show in concept form.A Maybach variant of the largest SUV in Stuttgart’s lineup has been rumored for some time. Final push was the rapid growth of luxury SUV segments as well as the surprise popularity of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedan, which debuted two years ago. A replacement for the Maybach 57, the stretched Maybach version of the S-Class was envisioned as a bit of a niche model, but it managed to capture more than a niche following in China and in other markets. That made the decision to invest in a Maybach version of the GLS-Class a little bit easier for Mercedes.
Another reason for Stuttgart greenlighting the model has been the rapid proliferation and commercial success of ultra-luxury SUVs such as the long-wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography, the Bentley Bentayga and the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS-Class will be previewed in near-production form in Beijing, and like the S-Class sedan. It is expected to feature a number of exterior design changes as well as a distinct grille and front fascia. On the inside, the GLS-Class will feature a reworked rear passenger compartment that will buy the rear-seat passengers more legroom, as well as power-reclining seats. After all, the rear passenger compartment will be the main selling point of the Maybachs. It aims to offer first-class comfort geared toward those who employ a chauffeur.
When it comes to engines, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS-Class is likely to borrow a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine from the S560, which produces 469 hp in the S-Class. The GLS-Class could also receive the plug-in hybrid powertrain recently announced in the S560e. It pairs a 3.0-liter V6 producing 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque with an electric motor that adds an additional 121 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. This version will debut on the S-Class in 2019, and it will have a pure-electric range of 25 miles.
How much will all of this goodness cost?
Expect this Mercedes-Maybach model to start at around $170,000 and (rapidly) progress from there. This is the same general price range of the Range Rover Autobiography LWB . Fair bit south of the $230,000 starting price of the Bentley Bentayga. The difference in the market may be that the Mercedes-Maybach GLS-Class will lean toward owners of chauffeured cars. On the other side, the Bentayga is more at ease with being owner-driven. And unlike the Range Rover, the GLS Maybach is expected be more on-road biased. This may well be an SUV alternative for those already looking at an S-Class Maybach or its competitors.