Mercedes-Benz will expand its flagship Maybach division with an ultra-luxury version of the new GLS SUV, and it’s been seen with virtually no disguise.
Conceived as an upmarket rival to the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic, as well as pricier rivals such as the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the new model will be revealed in November. Although unconfirmed, the signs are pointing to a public debut at the Los Angeles motor show.
Sources at the Frankfurt motor show told Autocar that the the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will launch at a price of around £150,000. It has been developed to offer performance, accommodation and features commensurate with the existing Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, according to senior Mercedes-Benz officials. They cite China, North America and Russia among the new model’s key target markets.
As the new spyshots show, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will receive its own unique styling elements, many of which will be drawn directly from the Mercedes-Maybach 6 coupé concept revealed at Pebble Beach 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 upmarket SUV is expected to sport a different grille and unique headlight and tail-light graphics, as well as added chrome and individual wheel designs in a move aimed at providing it with a more premium 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 have an extended wheelbase in an attempt to provide it with the sort of rear-seat leg room 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 SVAutobiography 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 gain 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 an option, 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 mated to a standard nine-speed automatic gearbox, with both 4Matic four-wheel drive and Air Body Control air suspension due to be standard. Insiders also hint at plans for a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 flagship, although this has 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 launched launched Maybach as a premium sub-brand in 2014.
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