After the extravagant G650 Landaulet signaling the end of the previous-generation G-Class, another Maybach SUV is ready to take the automotive luxury market by storm. This time around, it's here to stay as unlike the ostentatious G built in limited numbers, the new Maybach GLS 600 4Matic is a permanent member of the double M family. While the real magic happens inside the cabin, the exterior has also been discreetly modified to separate it from the Benz GLS.
Starting at the front, the fullsize SUV features a shiny new grille with vertical chrome pinstripes as seen on the Maybach S-Class facelift and its extra-long Pullman sibling. The chrome theme continues on the lower grille as well as on the side air intakes flanked by curved trim strips, while the underbody protection reminding you this is still an SUV is also finished in high-gloss chrome.
The side profile reveals bespoke 22-inch alloy wheels, although we have a feeling many people will go for the optional 23-inch set with its multi-spoke layout mimicking the front grille. To continue the chrome theme at the front, there are chrome plates on the B-pillars and even similar inserts on the roof rails. A total of eight two-tone finishes will be available, and regardless of choice, the Maybach emblem will be proudly displayed on the D-pillar.
Moving at the back, a chrome strip runs along the entire width of the tailgate and continues on the fenders, above the taillights. Yet even more chrome is noticeable at the top and bottom of the bumper, including for the dual exhaust tips featuring a rectangular design. Rounding off the changes compared to the standard GLS is the model designation in a specific script reserved to Mercedes-Maybach models.
Before we hop inside, we have to mention the running boards. They electronically extend and are each 2.06 meters (6.8 feet) long, with a maximum width of 21 centimeters in the rear door area. These occupy the entire length of the side sill panels and feature an LED strip in the rear door area where a Maybach emblem is projected. It's not a problem if you're carrying around some extra weight as the running boards can support a maximum load of 200 kilograms (441 pounds). Rubber strips in the same design as the front grille slats are embedded into the anodized aluminum to provide better grip.
Once you're inside, you're going to notice the third row is gone. With Mercedes retaining the same wheelbase of the standard GLS – measuring 3135 mm (123.4 inches) – the only wait to enable more legroom was to eliminate the rearmost seats. Rear passengers get to enjoy 1103 mm (43.4 inches) of legroom and can relax on seats that can be extended. The front passenger seat can be moved forward into what is referred to as a chauffeur position for even more rear legroom, at 1.34 meters (4.4 feet).
The most luxurious version of the Maybach GLS accommodates only four people, but a five-seat configuration is also available. From folding tables and champagne flutes to a dedicated fragrance and a rear-seat entertainment system, the luxobarge has just about every high-end feature you could think of, and then some. Goodies such as ventilated and heated massaging seats and an opaque roller blind come as standard, as does the electronic panoramic sunroof. A refrigerator with space for champagne bottles can be ordered for the four-seat model if you really want to go all out.
Power comes from a twin-turbo V8 4.0-liter engine providing effortless cruising thanks to 550 hp and 538 lb-ft (729 Nm) of torque, plus the EQ Boost offering an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) for a limited time. Mercedes-Maybach says the U.S.-spec GLS 600 4Matic does 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in an estimated 4.8 seconds and tops out at a limited 130 mph (209 km/h), which is more than the owner of such an SUV will ever need. On the other hand, the Euro model can hit 155 mph (250 km/h).
It will reach the U.S. market in the second half of next year, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.