Daimler is fashionably late to the ultra-luxury SUV party, but as the saying goes, it’s perhaps better late than never. According to a new report from Autocar, the GLS will put on a swanky tuxedo in the weeks or months to come as the Maybach version of Mercedes’ largest SUV will be revealed before the end of the year. Citing undisclosed sources they talked to at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the British magazine says the Maybach GLS has been developed to offer the same level of luxury and performance as the flagship Maybach S-Class.
To set it apart from the regular second-generation GLS (third if you’re counting the old GL it replaced), it is believed the designers have come up with a new look inspired by the spectacular Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 concept that stunned the crowds gathered at Pebble Beach three years ago. It will be interesting to see how the coupe’s gorgeous lines will be adapted for a high-riding luxobarge, but rumor has it there will be quite a few changes to set the Maybach GLS apart from the regular model.
Aside from the updated Maybach grille we saw on the facelifted extra-long S-Class, the lavish GLS will allegedly feature different graphics for the headlights and taillights. Bespoke wheel designs and a more generous use of chrome on the bodywork will round off the changes on the outside, according to the same report.
As for the interior, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS is expected to come exclusively in two-row form, with a choice between four or five seats. There might be a bit more legroom for rear passengers to enjoy as a stretch of the wheelbase is possible, much like the Maybach variant of the S-Class has been elongated between the axles furthermore compared to the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Gallery: Mercedes-Maybach GLS spy photos
The cabin itself is set to take things up a notch in terms of perceived quality compared to current products of the three-pointed star and double M. There will be some Maybach-only features in a bid to justify what will be a hefty premium over the normal GLS and its $76,195 sticker for the base GLS 450 model after destination and handling charges.
The Bentley Bentayga rival from Germany will be offered with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 hooked up to an all-wheel-drive system through a nine-speed automatic transmission. While the company’s V12 engine is being gradually retired, AMG has said the powerhouse might still have a life in Maybach versions. Autocar understands the twin-turbo 6.0-liter unit could find its way underneath the SUV’s hood.
Set to be built in Alabama, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will become the most expensive car manufactured in the United States. It’s rumored to cost somewhere in the region of $200,000, which would be considerably more than the current priciest U.S.-built car, the $159,495 2020 Acura NSX.
With North America being one of the main reasons why Mercedes is prepping a Maybach GLS, maybe the official reveal will take place in the latter half of November at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Keep in mind it won’t be the first Maybach-branded SUV as that role was attributed to the opulent G650 Landaulet launched in 2017.