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Mercedes-Maybach GLS to debut in China in search of ultraluxury SUV glory

The Germans are coming to a segment dominated thus far by the British.

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Teaser for Mercedes-Maybach GLS

Here comes the big fancy.

Mercedes-Benz

Bentley and Rolls-Royce will be on high alert this week as Mercedes-Benz and its Maybach division prepare a proper rival to their ultraluxurious SUV models. The Maybach GLS will debut this Thursday in China and it wants a crack at the high-roller utility vehicle segment.

Mercedes-Benz teased the opulent SUV in a tweet Tuesday, which shows the model's slightly reworked front end. It still very much looks like a regular GLS, but a Maybach grille is in place. Boosting the image's brightness also showed a lower grille fascia with chrome mesh. Any other exterior changes remain hidden for now, but don't expect anything drastic.

We don't know what's under the hood, but it's a safe bet that we'll see Mercedes' turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine. But none of that will matter much to the people who will buy the Maybach GLS -- the interior will. Definitely expect some massive changes inside to make the SUV a lovely place to be. More focus on backseat passengers will surely be of high priority as well.

To date, no German automaker has really challenged the space. Sure, there's the Audi Q8 or BMW X7, and even the standard Mercedes-Benz GLS, but the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan are next-level stuff. Never mind Volkswagen Group owns Bentley and BMW owns Rolls-Royce. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will take the fight directly to the two British SUVs. And a fun fact: this will be the first Maybach model built in the US.

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