Everything the Maybach division of Mercedes knows about luxury, technology and craftsmanship has been poured into this new 4x4 flagship in order to take it a level above the common-or-garden GLS and give it credibility as a rival for cars like the Bentley Bentayga and even Rolls-Royce Cullinan. No prices have thus far been confirmed but if it follows Maybach S-Class practice it may even be double the £74,0000 price of a standard GLS.
The Maybach S-Class sedan – said to account for one in seven of all S-Class sales – gets a mighty petrol V12 under its bonnet but there’s no such excess for the SUV. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is powered by a drivetrain more in keeping with the times: a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 with a 48-volt starter-generator system to up the power and enhance its green credentials.
It is what Mercedes calls an EQ Boost engine but one the firm says has been developed especially for the more exclusive Maybach (and AMG) versions of the GLS. The electrified V8 delivers 550bhp with 729Nm (538lb ft) of torque, 100 horses short of what the Maybach S-Class saloon offers, suggesting that it will be the sedan – which costs £174,000 – that still reigns supreme in the Maybach hierarchy. The SUV knocks off 0-62mph in a claimed 4.9 seconds, not as fast as the new AMG GLS 63 (that does it in 4.2 seconds) but substantially up on the now diesel-only Merc GLS.