The brand new Maybach GLS is based on Mercedes' largest suv with the same model name. Unlike the Mercedes GLS, the Maybach GLS does not have three rows of seats, but instead a luxurious rear seat.
In a “secret” photo studio near the Mercedes Headquarters, I was the only Scandinavian who was given the exclusive opportunity to photograph the, at the time secret and brand-new, Maybach model. The car is based on the model GLS, which is Mercedes's largest SUV, and will be (at the time of writing) presented at the LA Motor Show.
The first thing that strikes you when you get to see this creation is the grillwork, shining like a big, hefty and chromed waterfall grill. Instead of the star being placed in the grill like the other SUV models from Mercedes, it has been placed on top of the hood. This is a reoccurring feature of the Maybach model, but it’s the first time it’s been implemented on an SUV.
“You should be able to tell if it’s a GLS coming towards you, even when it’s dark”
The story of the Maybach goes way back. Wilhelm Maybach started manufacturing airship engines in 1909, expanding to car engines in 1919. His company suffered from the war and was subsequently bought by Daimler-Benz in 1960, meant to be a part of the diesel engine manufacturer MTU. 42 years later, the brand was reintroduced to the market offering extremely luxurious limousines. They were based on the Mercedes S-class but were significantly modified leading to a remarkably high price. Unfortunately, the brand was never financially stable and eventually disappeared. The final rebirth of the name Maybach came with the release of new versions of already existing Mercedes models.
The Maybach GLS is the first SUV with the Maybach emblem. A G-class Maybach by the name of G 650 Landaulet has been produced though, which is a further development of G500 4x4. It has a longer wheelbase and a so-called landaulet roof, meaning only the backseat is covered by a convertible top, while the front seat has a regular roof.
When designing the Maybach GLS, Mercedes wanted to make a unique car that stood out from other luxury SUVs. The main competitors are Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan. The price for these two is higher than the Maybach GLS though - Cullinan being the most expensive. A slightly more affordable alternative to the Maybach GLS would be the Autobiography version of the Range Rover Vogue.
Among the exclusive things you get when you order a Maybach GLS, eight choices of two-tone paint schemes is one of them. This means that the hood and roof are painted in one color and the lower part of the bodywork in another. Separating the colors is a thin white line, a detail mainly found on historic luxury cars. The lower parts of the car are glossy black paint instead of the matte black plastic found on the regular GLS. Apart from the grill, the headlights have undergone some changes in an attempt to separate the Maybach GLS from the normal one. You should be able to tell if it’s a GLS coming towards you, even when it’s dark. The amount of chromium used on the Maybach GLS definitely exceeds what you normally see in a car. The front, the rims and lots of other details are made in shiny chrome.
Another detail that is found in several places of the car is a design element in the grill. The vertical ribs in the grill are narrow at the bottom, but just before they meet the upper part of the grill, they bulge slightly. This shape can also be found on the exclusive 23-inch rims as well as the electronically controlled side steps, which are also provided with the Maybach emblem. The Maybach emblem is also found in a number of places in the car. It is obvious that this. On the back of the D-pillar is a shiny Maybach emblem, just like on the other models, but made in a larger size for the Maybach GLS.
“The Maybach GLS is primarily intended for the American, Asian and Middle Eastern markets. It’s hard to say how many will be sold in Europe and Scandinavia”
Unlike the usual GLS, the Maybach is only available with two-row seating and not three. You could pick a backseat that fits three people, but I prefer the one with two retractable seats, essentially allowing you to lay perfectly flat. Another advantage of having only two seats is that you can fit a surprisingly spacious wine cooler between the chairs, capable of accommodating up to three bottles of champagne (or water if that’s your preference).
The beautiful wooden panel covering the refrigerator is called The Waterfall and naturally has a Maybach emblem. Wood paneling usually doesn’t go in modern cars, but when it comes to this car you can’t really complain, because they really exude luxury. Other than the panels and the chrome details, it is almost impossible to find a single surface that is not leather. But not only the backseat is blessed with the Maybach luxury. The driver's seat also has a lot of exclusive details you can only find in a Maybach GLS, like new and unique Maybach pedals or a steering wheel and a gear knob with the Maybach emblem.
But above all a performance mode selector unique to Maybach GLS, which also has its own interface in the digital dashboard in front of the steering wheel. The fully digital infotainment system can be controlled either via the 11.6-inch touch screens in the back or via a tablet that is separable from the car. This is where you control seat heating etc. Many of the features of Maybach GLS are taken directly from the S-class Maybach.
In addition to the amazing panoramic glass ceiling, backlit panels are everywhere to provide sufficient light, in the color of your choice of course. Complimenting the magnificent sound system from Burmester, the leather on the interior panels has a dampening effect on any unwanted sound. The car is also equipped with acoustic glass that removes outside noise. These features combined provide a world-class listening experience.
The unique performance mode of the Maybach GLS is developed for optimal comfort in the backseat. A variety of parameters for the powertrain and air suspension have been set to achieve the desired result, but I’ll have to come back to that when it is time for a test run. There is only one option when it comes to the engine, which is a four-liter V8 that generates 558 horsepower. Thanks to hybrid technology, this car does 0-100 in under five seconds. The power can be distributed dynamically between the front and rear through the so-called “Torque on Demand”.
The Maybach GLS is primarily intended for the American, Asian and Middle Eastern markets. It’s hard to say how many will be sold in Europe and Scandinavia, given the prevailing attitude towards luxury cars in this format. But if you can and want to travel by car in a way that you would expect from a private jet, the Maybach GLS is the way to go.