Mercedes-Benz is split into three primary categories: Mercedes-Benz cars are the ones you see most often, and Mercedes-AMG occupies the sporty side. Then there's Mercedes-Maybach, which builds luxury limousines that represent the pinnacle of Mercedes' idea of luxury. This week, that last family grows by one.
Mercedes-Benz on Thursday unveiled the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600. While the standard GLS is plenty fancy, consider this car luxury on steroids. It's not only loaded with some of the best-feeling materials available to automakers, it's also packed with tech that errs toward comfort.
The first thing that makes itself apparent is the way it looks -- it's not just a GLS with some new badges. It feels like its own thing, thanks in large part to an overdose of chrome, which adorns the Maybach-specific grille, lower air intakes, side skirts, window trims, roof rails, wheels and a whole bunch of the rear fascia. The Maybach hood ornament isn't there, with the usual three-pointed star on the hood leading the way ahead of a few Maybach badges on the pillars.
The GLS600 also has a massive set of electric running boards that slide out to better access the vehicle. 22-inch wheels are standard, but 23-inch rollers are available. Eight different colors are on offer, each in a two-tone getup.
The interior is, well, sumptuous. While the GLS is a three-row SUV, there's no third row in the GLS600. Instead, the second row is occupied by two reclining rear seats, which can have a fixed center console between the two if optioned. Nappa leather covers just about everything, and it can be decked out with all sorts of cushions and linings. That fixed center console contains not just extending tables, but also a refrigerator with room for champagne flutes. A word of warning, though: That fridge does eat into rear cargo space a bit. There's also a tablet back there for controlling the MBUX infotainment system.
It keeps going from there. The GLS600's interior also carries more noise insulation than the standard GLS, and owners can opt for a partition between the cargo area and the rear seats. The suspension and powertrain has a mode specific to Maybach, as well, orienting everything for proper comfort.
The GLS600 badge might have you think there's a V12 under the hood, but there isn't. Instead, it's a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 550 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. That's supplemented by the 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system, which adds 21 hp and 184 lb-ft as necessary. That's not as much as, say, AMG's GLS63, but then again, this car prioritizes comfort above all else.
Otherwise, it's the same ol' GLS-Class we've come to adore. Like other members of the GLS clan, the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 will be built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It should land at dealers by the end of 2020, and pricing has not yet been announced, but knowing what we know about Maybach vehicles, expect the window sticker to be a little... lofty.