GUANGZHOU MOTOR SHOW, CHINA - There is no arguing that the Mercedes-Benz GLS is a luxurious SUV, but in the same breath, it’s just not in the same league as ultra-premium contenders like the Rolls Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga. But now the German carmaker has an answer for those prestigious Brits, and it’s called the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4Matic.

Joining the Maybach S600 sedan, the new SUV is based on the Mercedes-Benz GLS, but to say that it adds a few extra trimmings would be the understatement of the century. 

It just takes a quick glance at the pictures above to decipher that the back of the cabin is where you really want to be, and such was the emphasis on those sitting in the rear that the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 has a drive mode that makes things even more comfortable in the back. It goes without saying that air suspension is a done deal in this vehicle, although clients will have to pay a little extra for the fully-active version with E-Active Body Control. Even getting into the GLS 600 is a theatrical experience, thanks to automatically-deploying, illuminated running boards that extend as you open the doors.

Although the regular GLS has three rows of seats, the Maybach version only has two seat rows, while the outer seats in the back are fully reclinable like a business class seat. Standard versions come with a middle seat, but you’re going to want to order the four-seat option with a fixed centre console that’s available with folding tables and a refrigerator for your champagne bottles - and you can even opt for a bespoke set of champagne flutes from the accessories catalogue. And yes, you can order a set of cushions too. Mercedes-Maybach also created a dedicated fragrance for this vehicle as part of the optional Air Balance package.

Climatised massaging seats are standard in this Maybach, as is an electrically opening panoramic roof with an opaque roller blind. It’s also quieter than the regular GLS, thanks to extended sound proofing, and the rear section of the cabin has its own dedicated air conditioner.  

Ensuring ample power, for when Jeeves the chauffeur needs to hurry things up, is a version of the company’s familiar 4-litre twin-turbo V8, tuned to 410kW and 730Nm in this guise, and also paired with a 48-volt mild hybrid system with EQ Boost, which can provide an additional boost of up to 16kW.

As you’d expect at this level, there are many unique styling features to tell the Maybach apart from the Benz GLS, including a bespoke grille with vertical struts, a Maybach emblem on the D-pillar, two-tone paintwork options - available in eight colour combinations - and unique wheel designs available in 22 and 23 inch sizes.

What the boss says:

Mercedes-Maybach product management director Martin Hülder has this to say about his latest project:

“The SUV vehicle concept has a major advantage for the luxury segment: the high seating position. In combination with the running boards, this makes access and egress outstandingly easy and convenient. Furthermore, the raised position in an SUV gives the occupants a different perspective of the surroundings, and many Mercedes-Maybach customers greatly appreciate this. 

“Incidentally, a raised seating position is nothing new in the luxury segment: the grand luxury saloons of the 1930s, such as the Maybach Zeppelin, had a similar seating height for the driver and passengers, and very similar proportions.” 

IOL Motoring