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You could argue that no brand is more synonymous with luxury than Mercedes-Benz, but what happens with a standard GLS SUV just isn’t exclusive enough for your tastes?
This thing screams money like Louis Vuitton or Cartier, only it has four wheels and will transport passengers in nearly unrivalled levels of refinement and comfort.
But is it more than just a showpiece? And can it handle the rigours of day-to-day life without losing its shiny, jewel-like lustre? Let’s go for a drive and find out.
|Mercedes-Benz Maybach 2022: GLS600 4Matic|
|Engine Type||4.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
The best things in life might come free, but the most luxurious things certainly come at a cost.
Wearing a price tag of $378,297, before on-road costs, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is probably out of the reach for most mere mortals, but there’s no denying Mercedes has thrown in a lot for the spend.
And with it positioned nearly $100,000 north of the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 ($281,800) – with which it shares its platform, engine and transmission – you’d want to get a bit of bang for your buck.
Standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, Nappa leather interior trim, a head-up display, a sliding glass sunroof, power-closing doors, heated and cooled front and rear seats, and interior ambient lighting.
But, as the epitome of Mercedes’ luxury SUVs, the Maybach also scores 23-inch wheels, a heated woodgrain and leather steering wheel, open-pore wood trim and five-zone climate control – one for each passenger!
Handling multimedia duties is Mercedes’ 'MBUX' 12.3-inch touchscreen display, complete with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto support, digital radio, a premium sound system and wireless smartphone charger.
Rear seat passengers are also treated to an entertainment system with TV tuner so you can keep up with the Kardashians from the road, as well as a bespoke MBUX tablet with functions for climate, multimedia, satellite navigation input, seat controls, and more.
Sadly, the Samsung-branded tablet glitched out a few times while we were using different functions and required a reset.
No doubt, a software update can fix some connection issues, but it's still something that shouldn’t be happening in a high-dollar, ultra-lux SUV.
Options with the Maybach GLS are surprisingly limited, with buyers able to choose between different exterior colours and interior trims, second-row comfort seats (as fitted on our test car), and a rear champagne chiller box.
Look, nearly $400,000 for an SUV might seem like a lot, but you really are wanting for nothing with the Maybach GLS, and it's comparable in price to other high-end SUVs like the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover SV Autobiography.
If you have wealth, why not flaunt it? I reckon that might be the philosophy of the Maybach designers back at HQ, and it kind of shows!
The styling of the Maybach GLS might be the most controversial thing about it. But honestly, I love it!
The liberal lashings of chrome, the three-pointed star hood ornament, and especially with the optional two-tone paintwork, it’s all just so over the top and in your face that it brings out a smile.
From the front, the Maybach is also distinguished by an imposing grille that gives it serious presence on the road, while the profile is characterised by massive 23-inch multi-spoke wheels – better park well clear of any gutters!
You’ll also notice the Maybach eschews the usual black-plastic cladding around the wheelarches and underbody found on lesser/cheaper SUVs in favour of body-coloured and gloss-black panels.
There is also a little Maybach badge on the D-pillar, which is a nice attention-to-detail touch. From the rear, there’s more chrome, while the dual exhaust outlets hint at the performance on offer. But it’s inside where you really want to be.
Everything in there is just a sea of soft-touch and premium materials, from the dashboard to the seats and even the carpet under your feet.
Though the layout of the interior mirrors the GLS, the extra detailing, like the Maybach-stamped pedals, unique multimedia surround and woodgrain steering wheel, elevates the cabin into something truly special.
And if you opt for the comfort rear seats, well they wouldn’t look out of place on a private jet.
The second-row seats also feature contrast stitching on the headrests, cushions, console and doors for that add a touch of class.
I can see the Maybach GLS might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it certainly stands out from the sea of samey-looking luxury SUVs out there.
The Maybach GLS is based on Mercedes’ largest SUV offering to date, which means there is plentiful room for occupants and cargo.
The front row feels positively palatial, with heaps of head-, leg- and shoulder-room for six-foot (183cm) tall adults.
Storage options include generous door pockets with room for large bottles, two cupholders, a smartphone tray that doubles as a wireless charger, and an underarm storage cubby.
But the rear seats are where you want to be, especially with these second-row comfort seats fitted.
It’s rare when there is more room in the rear than the front, but it does makes sense for a car like this, especially when you consider the GLS this car is based on is a three-row vehicle.
The removal of seats six and seven mean there is more room in the second row, especially with the comfort seats fitted, allowing you to recline fairly flat and to get into a comfortable position.
Storage is also plentiful in the second row, with a bespoke centre console in our test car, the aforementioned drinks fridge, backseat storage and a nice door bin.
Open the boot and you will find 520 litres (VDA) of volume, which is plenty for golf clubs and holiday luggage.
However, if you opt for the rear seat refrigerator, the cooler box will eat into boot space.
In this application, the engine is tuned to produce 410kW and 730Nm, which is admittedly less than you get in something like the GLS 63, but the Maybach isn’t designed to be an outright powerhouse.
With drive sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Maybach SUV will accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds – also helped by a 48-volt mild-hybrid 'EQ Boost' system.
Though not designed for outright grunt, the Maybach GLS’s engine is nicely tuned to deliver smooth power and seemless shifting
The Maybach is more than a match for rivals such as the Aston Martin DBX (405kW/700Nm), Bentley Bentayga (404kW/800Nm) and Range Rover P565 SV Autobiography (416kW/700Nm).
Official fuel consumption figures for the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 are pegged at 12.5 litres per 100km, and it’s recommended to fill up with 98 RON premium unleaded, so be prepared for a big fuel bill.
This is despite the 48-volt mild-hybrid tech that lets the Maybach coast without using fuel in certain conditions, and extends start-stop functionality.
In our brief time in the car, we managed to get 14.8L/100km. Why is the Maybach so thirsty? That’s simple, it’s weight.
All the cool features like Nappa leather interior, woodgrain trim and 23-inch wheels add weight to the overall package, and the Maybach GLS tips the scales at nearly three tonnes. Ouch.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 has not been tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, and therefore doesn’t wear a safety assessment rating.
Despite this, the safety equipment found on the Maybach is comprehensive. As standard, there are nine airbags, a surround-view camera system, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), tyre pressure monitoring, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
The 'Urban Guard' suite also adds an alarm, tow-away protection, parking damage detection, and an interior motion sensor, which can send notifications to your 'Mercedes Me' app.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Scheduled servicing intervals are every 12 months or 20,000km, whichever occurs first.
While the first three services will cost owners $4000 ($800 for the first, $1200 for the second and $2000 for the third service), buyers can opt to save some money with a pre-paid service plan.
Under the service plan pricing, three years of maintenance will cost $3050, while four- and five-year plans are on offer at $4000 and $4550 respectively.
While you might not find many owners of the Maybach GLS in the driver’s seat, it’s nice to know it can hold its own in the driving dynamics department.
Don’t get me wrong, this won’t give the AMG-blessed GLS 63 a run for its money, but the Maybach SUV is far from dull.
And the engine plays a large part in this. Sure, it’s not as savage as some AMG models, but there is still plenty of grunt to come out of corners with enthusiasm.
The tune of the engine is obviously weighted towards smoothness and comfort, but with 410kW/730Nm on tap there is enough there to make things feel urgent.
The nine-speed automatic transmission also has to be called out, as it is calibrated in such a way that the shifts are imperceptible. There’s none of that mechanical jerkiness and clunkiness involved in swapping cogs, and it just makes the Maybach GLS feel that much more luxurious.
The steering, while straying a towards numb, still offers plenty of feedback so you know what’s happening underneath, but it’s the active body control that works to keep this hefty SUV in check in the bends.
The best bit, though, has to be the air suspension, which floats the Maybach GLS over bumps and uneven roads like a cloud.
The front-facing camera can also read the terrain ahead and set-up the suspension for incoming speed bumps and turns, taking comfort up to a whole new level.
All this is to say, yeah, the Maybach might look like a boat, and cost as much as a boat, but it doesn’t actually feel like a boat behind the wheel.
But really, are you buying this car because you want to be the driver? Or are you buying one because you want to be driven?
In the second row, it’s as close as you’ll get to a first-class flight on the road, and the seats are genuinely plush and cosy.
It’s eerily quiet and supremely comfortable in the second row, leaving you free to carry on with important business like drinking your champagne or uploading to the 'gram.
And while I usually suffer from a bout of motion sickness within minutes of looking at a phone in a car, I didn’t feel such ill effects in the Maybach GLS.
Even after about 20 minutes scrolling through Facebook and emails while being driven around, there was no sign of a headache or queasiness, which is all thanks to how well the suspension is tuned and the active anti-roll technology doing its thing.
It’s big, it’s bold and totally baller, but that’s kind of the point.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 might not win over many fans with its in-your-face design or its sky-high price tag, but there is definitely an appeal here.
Taking luxury to another level is no easy feat, especially in a Mercedes, but the attention to detail, lavish second row and butter-smooth V8 engine combine to turn the already-good GLS into this exquisite Maybach.
Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with accommodation and meals provided.
|S680||6.0L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO||$574,000||2022 Mercedes-Benz Maybach 2022 S680 Pricing and Specs|
|GLS600 4Matic||4.0L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO||$380,198||2022 Mercedes-Benz Maybach 2022 GLS600 4Matic Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||10|
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