2021 Mercedes GLS Maybach - interior Exterior and Drive (Ultra Luxury SUV)

  • 2 years ago
First, a recap. Maybach (pronounced MY-bahk) used to be its own thing. Founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach as an engine builder for Zeppelins, by 1921 the company was producing a luxury car that essentially superseded Mercedes-Benz as the poshest of all German mechanical contrivances. The company stopped making cars and switched to building engines for Panzer and Tiger tanks during World War II. After the war, the company died. By 1960, Daimler-Benz acquired the leftovers and the name, and in 2002 Maybach was revived as its own brand. That super-luxe experiment ended in 2012. Mercedes-Maybach now exists as a super-luxury sub-brand within Mercedes-Benz itself. Got it? Good.

With that history lesson in mind, this is the first time the Maybach name has been placed on an SUV—in this case, Mercedes's large GLS-class model assembled in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. At present, Alabama is not in Germany. The Maybach GLS may just be the most prestigious consumer product currently coming from that state. Roll Tide.

Mechanically, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 closely parallels the Mercedes-AMG GLS63. The powerplant is the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with a few modifications that relax output from the AMG-spec 603 horsepower to a still-mighty 550 horses. It's supplemented, as is the AMG version, with a 48-volt electric motor that can add as much as 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, all of which flows through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The combination of internal-combustion engine and electric motor results in a silken ride of torque.
Unlike the Maybach S-class sedan that enjoys extensive changes to the dimensions and exterior design, the wheelbase of the GLS is unchanged from the Mercedes GLS-class and the sheetmetal carries over intact. The bits attached to the bodywork, like the grille, lights, and bumpers, are glamorously redone, but the most significant physical change to the GLS package is the elimination of the third row of seats. The second-row seats are pushed back for more legroom and so that an optional champagne cooler can be fitted between them. This is critical if the GLS is being used to ferry the kids to school every day and they need a mimosa in the morning to get the day going.

It also means that this is a four- or five-seat SUV. So, as a family hauler, its utility is limited. And since the rear seats don't fold down, hauling new rain gutters home from Lowe's is probably not happening.