Mercedes-Maybach Ready to Take on SUVs; Luxed-up GLS Debut Imminent

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

No longer the gaudy marque seen in countless hip hop videos in the early 2000s, Maybach is now joined at the hip to Mercedes-Benz, offering lux-ified variants of the S-Class sedan under the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. Soon, that super sedan will have a higher-riding sibling, as even fabulously wealthy people sometimes need venture off the beaten track.

Fact is, those buyers have more choice than ever in choosing a more capable steed. Maserati has the Levante, Bentley has the Bentayga, and Rolls-Royce now has the Cullinan (truly a diamond in the rough). It’s time for a Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

The largest of Benz’s unibody utility vehicles, the GLS (seen here) underwent a design revamp for the 2020 model year, affording M-B a great opportunity to give a new ute the Maybach treatment. As seen in spy photos published by Autocar, the vehicle is clearly ready for prime time.

Looking very much like a stock GLS with some alterations to the headlamps and taillamps, plus a grille swap, the vehicle also dons a premium wheel design. Given what this vehicle is expected to cost (Autocar sources claim a starting price in the low $180k range), the visual impact is underwhelming. Then again, what can you really do to a GLS — or any other large crossover — to set it apart from its vanilla brethren?

As Maybach is all about luxury, it’s the interior of the upcoming model that shoulders the burden of wowing buyers, and Daimler’s ultra-lux division knows a thing or two about making people feel special. Expect the best the automaker can offer, both in terms of comfort and tech. Branding will be front and center.

And, while the GLS is a three-row vehicle at heart, with a six-passenger configuration offered for the first time come 2020, Mercedes-Maybach’s version is expected to go the two-row route. It also might boast a stretched wheelbase, though there’s no confirmation on that. Reclining rear passengers do need space to stretch out…

Mercedes-Benz brass claim the Chinese, North American, and Russian markets are flush with potential buyers for this vehicle, so expect to see it offered there initially. A domestic debut could come next month in Los Angeles. Powered by Benz’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 and mated to 4Matic all-wheel drive via a nine-speed automatic, the highest-zoot GLS could adopt a range of “lesser” drivetrains in the future, including a hybrid, though rumors abound of a 12-cylinder option.

[Image: Daimler]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Scott What people want is the Jetson Car sound.This has come up before.
  • Joerg I just bought a Corolla Cross Hybrid SE a few weeks ago, and I regret it. But not for any of the reasons stated so far. It drives well enough for me, gas mileage is great for a car like that, the interior is fine, nothing to complain about for normal daily use. I bought this relatively small SUV thinking it is basically just a smaller version of the RAV4 (the RAV4 felt too big for me, drives like a tank, so I never really considered it). I also considered the AWD Prius, but storage capacity is just too small (my dog would not fit in the small and low cargo space).But there are a few things that I consider critical for me, and that I thought would be a given for any SUV (and therefore did not do my due diligence before the purchase): It can’t use snow chains per the manual, nor any other snow traction devices. Even with AWD, snow chains are sometimes required where I go, or just needed to get out of a stuck situation.The roof rack capacity is only a miniscule 75 lbs, so I can’t really load my roof top box with stuff for bigger trips.Ironically, the European version allows snow chains and roof rack capacity is 165 lbs. Same for the US Prius version. What was Toyota thinking?Lastly, I don’t like that there is no spare tire, but I knew that before the purchase. But it is ridiculous that this space is just filled up with a block of foam. At least it should be made available for additional storage. In hindsight, I should have bought a RAV4. The basic LE Hybrid version would have been just about 1k more.
  • MaintenanceCosts Looks like the best combination of capability, interior comfort, and subtle appearance can be achieved by taking a Laramie (crew cab, short bed, 4x4 of course) and equipping it with the Sport Appearance, Towing Technology, and Level 2 packages as well as a few standalone options. That's my pick.Rebel is too CRUSH THAT CAN BRO and Limited and up are too cowboy Cadillac.
  • Xidex easier to buy a mustang that already sounds like that. love the coyote growl
  • Oberkanone Shaker motor on an EV. No thanks.