The Mercedes-Maybach lineup is set to expand with the introduction of the new GLS ultra-luxury derivative. The GLS (formerly GL) will enter its third generation in 2019, by when the Maybach GLS is also expected to be available.
At the upcoming Beijing Auto Show, Mercedes-Maybach will officially expand its lineup with the addition of a new range-topping version of the next-generation GLS. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will essentially be an ultra-luxurious, four-wheel-driven SUV that will sit at the top of the Mercedes GL range, starting with the GLA at the bottom.
SUVs are clearly the flavour of the season, and with big names like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini and the likes jumping on the bandwagon, it is but Mercedes-Benz’s solemn duty to follow suit. The GLS by itself would not be able to toe the line with the biggies, which is where Maybach, Merc’s ultra-luxury automobile division comes into the picture. Currently, the only Maybach on offer is the opulent S-Class with two powertrain options. Close on the heels of the arrival of the next generation GLS in 2019, Mercedes-Maybach will build its own luxo-barge to take the fight to its closest rivals.
Mercedes-Maybach has also released a teaser video detailing the new car’s key elements which differentiate it from the garden-variety GLS. The timeline of the Maybach GLS includes showcasing the production-ready model at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Internally, the concept is named Maybach 9, and it will preview the kind of high-end features and autonomous driving systems that Maybach is expected to offer.
A high-level Mercedes official was quoted speaking about the Maybach GLS: “We have been quietly surprised by the sales success of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which is proving extremely popular in many key markets. The plan now is to extend the exclusivity surrounding the Maybach name into the upper end of the SUV segment. We’re confident that this new model will leave little to be desired in terms of luxury.”
Underpinning the new Maybach is Mercedes-Benz’s MHA (Modular High Architecture) platform, which will also support the new GLE and GLE Coupe. The platform is significantly lighter than the underpinnings of the current GLS, supports a 48V electrical architecture, and offers the most advanced camera, RADAR, and sensor-based driving functions.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS, which could also be called the GLS560 is likely to be powered by an AMG-tuned biturbo 4.0-liter V8 that churns out 462 under the S560’s hood. The engine also features cylinder deactivation tech for increased fuel efficiency in the city and is purported to replace the aageing4.7-liter V8 driving the GLS 500.
Speculation is also rife that the Mercedes-Maybach SUV will get a petrol-electric drivetrain that marries a 3.0-liter straight-six petrol motor good for 362 hp to a 121-hp electric motor that will provide a range of almost 50 km in pure EV mode.
Upon its launch, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will play the field against SUVs like the Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover SV Autobiography, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, as also the insane Lamborghini Urus. Expect a price tag north of $170,000 for the ultra-luxurious Maybach.