Merc reveals its Bentley Bentayga basher – the Mercedes-Maybach GLS
This is the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4Matic – and it’s as fancy as Mercedes SUVs get. Keep reading for all you need to know about Merc’s uber-luxurious flagship SUV.
Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4Matic
558hp V8 and want-for-nothing luxury
Price and release date
around £200,000 on sale in 2020
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS looks like a GLS that has been given the full-chrome treatment. Upfront, the Maybach’s vertical runged grille makes the standard GLS look almost apologetic and below you get the chicken-wire style finish that you’re more used to seeing on a Bentley. Below it, a chrome-finished skid plate peeks out from the car’s undercarriage.
Around the sides you get Maybach-unique, multi-spoke alloy wheels – you can upgrade the standard 22-inch polished-black wheels for a set of 23-inch forged alloys with a polished chrome finish. The most obvious hint this is a Maybach model is the subtle badge on the pillars next to the windscreen. Another feature you’ll only find only on this top-of-the-range model are the retractable running boards. Pull one of the Maybach’s door handles and the running board glides into position from below the car’s sills, helping you climb aboard in unison with standard-fit air suspension that lowers the car by 25mm. The running board’s 200kg maximum load should shrug off the weight of even the very fattest of fat cats, too. Making you feel more Top Cat than fat cat are the chrome strips across the back of the car and split, near-funnel-sized exhausts.
If you really want your Maybach GLS to stand out, you’ll want to go for one of the optional two-tone paint finishes, which are separated by a fine pinstripe around the waist of the car. Colour options include Cavansite Blue/Iridium Silver; Designo Diamond White Bright/Obsidian Black; Iridium Silver/Designo Diamond White Bright; Iridium Silver/Selenite Grey; Obsidian Black/Kalahari Gold; Obsidian black/Patagonia Red; Obsidian Black/Rubellite Red; Emerald Green/Mojave silver.
The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS feels like a standard GLS that’s been given the full country-house treatment.
As a result, almost every surface is finished in quilted Nappa leather, while the surfaces surrounding the controls are finished in high-gloss or open-pore wood, which is apparently inspired by the yachting world. Even the leather seats get a special pleated finish, while the air vents are made from solid metal – like you’ll find in Bentley or Rolls Royce – and the cup holders are heated to keep your coffee warm. Worried your Maybach won’t look good at night? Don’t: 64-colour ambient lighting comes as standard and its optical fibres extend from the front to the back of the car.
The luxury runs more than skin deep, though: there’s extra sound deadening and the Maybach’s ventilation system’s internals are mounted on rubber bushes to prevent vibrations. Meanwhile, the insides of the vents have a special coating that dampens airflow noise. Even the heating system is upgraded, with rear-seat passengers getting heating elements hidden in the floor.
According to Mercedes, you should only have to set the ventilation system once because the system uses a number of interior and exterior sensors to monitor inside and outside temperatures, the angle of the sun and even air humidity to keep the cabin temperature exactly how you want it, automatically.
As you’d imagine, the Maybach GLS gets the very best infotainment system Mercedes has to offer, comprising of a pair of huge 12.3-inch infotainment screens that sport unique Maybach graphics. It can be controlled using touch controls on the steering wheel, via the scroll wheel in-between the two front seats or by using the MBUX operating system’s voice activation which sparks into life when you say ‘hey Mercedes’. Naturally, you can also have infotainment screens in the back – you get a single seven-inch tablet display as standard, with the option to upgrade to a pair of additional 11.6-inch infotainment screens.
In terms of stereos, the Maybach comes as standard with a Burmester premium surround-sound system that can amplify the voices of front and back seat passengers – making it easier to hear each other. If you want more music-playing power, you can upgrade the standard system for the Burmester high-end 3D surround-sound system that has no fewer than 27 speakers and 24 separate amplifier channels – producing an overall output of 1,590 watts.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS has all the space you could ever want for up front, while dispensing with the third row of seats has freed up an extra 120mm of rear legroom for the back-seat passengers. Stick with the standard three-seat bench and you get 30mm extra legroom, plus the outer seats have extendable thigh support and recline electrically. However, for the full luxury experience, you’ll want to specify the two individual rear seats. These mean you can also specify fold-out tables, a refrigerator with space for three bottles of Champagne and a storage compartment for two Champagne flutes. Whichever seating configuration you go for, the Maybach comes with four heated, cooled and massaging chairs as standard.
Despite all the luxury, the GLS still has a proper SUV boot – its 525-litre capacity is enough for four golf bags. Unlike the standard GLS, however, it has a fixed load compartment partition and a sold parcel shelf – keeping the Maybach quieter inside than the standard GLS.
The Mercedes-Maybach is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 with mild-hybrid technology and a 48V power supply. It produces 558hp and 730Nm of torque, with an extra 22hp and 250Nm of torque available from the electric boost of the integrated starter-alternator. As a result, this SUV can shove itself from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds and will still be accelerating when it headbutts its self-imposed speed limiter at 155mph. Power is sent through a nine-speed automatic gearbox and a four-wheel-drive system that can send up to 100% of power to the front or the rear axle.
The Mercedes can rest half its cylinders at a cruise, coast on the motorway and to a stop to save fuel, but even with these economy measures, you’re unlikely to get fuel economy of much more than 20mpg.
The Maybach GLS comes as standard with air suspension that can smooth out the bumpiest of roads or be tautened up for more control in corners. For even more comfort and control you can spec up to Mercedes’ E-Active Body Control, which can control spring and damping forces individually on each wheel – the system scans the road ahead with a camera and primes the suspension to each bump and surface change. As well as keeping the car’s body flat when accelerating and braking, it can also lean the GLS a few degrees into bends to make it feel more stable. This system can even rock the car back and forth to try and get you out of sticky situations when you’re offroad.
Even the drive modes have been refined for comfort and the flagship SUV gets a Maybach drive mode that starts the car in second gear, flattens the acceleration curve and limits the number of gearshifts – all in the name of smooth driving.
That said, you don’t actually really need to drive much at all. The Maybach gets a full suite of semi-autonomous driving aids which means the car can accelerate, brake and steer on the motorway and in queues of traffic. It can also stop you backing out into the path of another car, apply the brakes if it thinks you’re going to be involved in a frontal collision or – if there’s no space to stop – take evasive action and steer you around the other car.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will go on sale in spring 2020 with a price of around £200,000. That means it’ll be about £60,000 more than a basic Bentley Bentayga – although the Merc has a far longer list of standard equipment.