Mercedes-Benz extends its Maybach lineup with the unveiling of a plush new 550-hp flagship version of the recently introduced third-generation GLS at the 2019 Guangzhou auto show in China.
Conceived in a manner similar to the German automaker’s existing S-Class-based Maybach sedan models, the leather-lined SUV is planned for North American delivery in 2020.
It will rival the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover and feature a series of unique styling cues, a mild-hybrid drivetrain, standard all-wheel drive, active air-sprung suspension and an upgraded interior whose generous equipment level reflects the brand’s upper-luxury positioning.
Previewed by the earlier Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept unveiled at last year’s Beijing auto show, the new model invokes many of the styling elements seen on the S-Class Maybach to help distinguish it from the standard third-generation GLS.
Included is a distinctive chrome grille featuring vertical louvers, chrome highlights within the side window surrounds and along the sills, standard 22-in. (and optional 23-in.) wheels shod with 285/45 front and 325/40 rear profile tires, an optional 2-tone exterior paint scheme in eight different color combinations, electrically extending running boards and chromed tailpipes with a signature cross-rib.
Martin Huelder, Mercedes-Benz’s head of product management, says of the new model: “SUVs have a major advantage for the luxury segment: the high seating position. In combination with the running boards, this makes access and egress easy and convenient. The raised seating position gives occupants a perspective of the surroundings many Maybach customers appreciate.”
Inside, the 204.9-in.-long (5,204-mm) Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 sports an upgraded interior with Nappa leather upholstery and unique trim elements. Optional features to be made available to U.S. buyers include reclining rear seats with a massage function and a fixed center console with folding tables and a refrigerator in a spacious four-seat layout that can be further enhanced with a panoramic sunroof. Trunk capacity is 18.4 cu.-ft. (521 L).
The latest Maybach model also receives several standard driving aids, including active distance assist Distronic, active speed limit assist, traffic sign assist, route-based speed adjustment, active steering assist with lane change assist, evasive steering assist and active lane-keeping assist.
Mercedes-Benz’s most luxurious SUV initially will be offered with just one drivetrain in the GLS600 4Matic. The mild-hybrid unit combines a turbocharged 4.0L gasoline V-8 with a 48V integrated starter motor to provide overall output of 550 hp at 6,000 rpm and 538 lb.-ft. (729 Nm) of torque on a band of revs between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm.
The electrically boosted reserves are channeled through a 9-speed torque converter-equipped automatic gearbox and Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time for the 5,975-lb. (2,713-kg) Maybach GLS600 of 4.9 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).
Underpinning the new top-of-the-line GLS model is a specially tuned version of Mercedes-Benz’s E-Active body-control suspension. It controls each spring and damper unit to suppress body roll, pitch and lift. Also included is a curve inclination function that allows the big new SUV to lean into corners to reduce the lateral forces acting on the occupants.