New Mercedes-Maybach SUV to sit on GLS platform

2 May, 2018 3:18pm Martin Saarinen

The ultra-luxury SUV is set to use a V8 engine, while taking design cues from the Vision concept revealed in Beijing

Mercedes-Maybach’s new SUV will sit on the same platform as the next-generation Mercedes GLS, and will borrow design elements from the Ultimate Luxury concept car shown at the Beijing Motor Show, jumbo-bg can reveal.

The luxury SUV will also ditch the concept’s 80kWh electric drivetrain in favour of a V8. Speaking to jumbo-bg at the Beijing Motor Show, Jurgen Weissinger, Mercedes’ chief engineer for Maybach and Special Vehicles, said the SUV will also “borrow some elements from the Beijing concept,” though he couldn’t give details of which features would be carried over.

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However, Weissinger was quick to add that the SUV will be “a car for the world,” whereas the Ultimate Luxury Vision was more of a concept form the Chinese market.

Though the Mercedes-Maybach SUV will incorporate the GLS’s drivetrain, it will be tweaked for optimum comfort and luxury. “For example, we can make special driving programmes for chauffeurs and customers. We can also smooth the gearbox, so not have so many shifts. We are looking at how to make it even more comfortable and luxurious,” Weissinger said.

Mercedes-Maybach is also looking towards electrification and plug-in hybrids for the future. “If you look at the next two to five years, we can see for Mercedes-Maybach to have a plug-in. The next five to ten years, it will be more of a fully electric drivetrain.”

The SUV will also feature a brand new suspension set-up from Mercedes-Maybach, according to Weissinger. “For the SUV, we are working on a new high-level active body control to give top driving comfort," he explained. "If you know the idea of a magic carpet, this is a super magic carpet. We are working on a combination with our camera system together with the future system to create new features and new level of comfort.”

Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept makes debut

Earlier Mercedes pulled the wraps off its radical new concept at the Beijing Motor Show, combining the commanding ride height of an SUV with a full size luxury limo body. It’s called the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, and its unconventional, raised three-box design cloaks an all-electric powertrain using four permanent-magnet synchronous motors, enabling fully variable all-wheel drive.

Mercedes says the design has been inspired by the Beijing show and the Chinese car market. While European appetite for saloons is drying up, it’s a segment riding high in China. Combine that with growing global popularity for SUVs and Maybach’s trademark loud take on luxury, and the Ultimate Luxury is where things end up. 

The design itself is clearly spun off from Mercedes-Maybach’s two most recent concept car efforts. The front end takes inspiration from both the Maybach 6 coupe and cabriolet design studies, applying the large pinstripe grille and slim LED headlight face into a taller, flatter front end.

Like any modern Mercedes design, the shoulderline arches from headlight to tail, while around the back a typical saloon boot is found, plus a split rear window. A trim strip runs from badge to badge too, looping over the roof of the car and creating a two-piece panoramic roof. 

Black cladding lining the car’s bumpers, wheel arches and side skirts injects a bit of SUV ruggedness, as does the rear bash plate, though the concept’s luxury intent is undersigned by plenty of chrome lining too. The whole thing rides on huge 24-inch, chromed turbine style alloy wheels, and while the doors are conventional, pop-out handles sit flush on the sides of the car.

Up front, the cockpit has been designed with simplicity and a chauffeur in mind. The cabin is trimmed with Chinese “Magic Wood” ebony, while the dashboard is home to two 12.3-inch displays. The infotainment itself has been given a Maybach spin, with a new user interface.

The displays are touchscreens, but the driver can interact with them through a touch sensitive pad and touch sensitive buttons on the steering wheel too. A sunken centre console sits underneath and is flanked by two grab handles, while rose gold trim contrasts with the white Nappa leather upholstery. Blue, wave shaped ambient lighting stretches around the interior and towards the back of the cabin. 

The centre console itself stretches from front to rear, and is home to a tea set in the back. The pot and cups sit in a heated tray trimmed with more ebony, which is retracted underneath a cover at the touch of a button. Two large, reclining seats are found back there. 

The 740bhp all-electric, all-wheel-drive powertrain is capable of a claimed 311-mile range, while the top speed is limited to 155mph. 

The Ultimate Luxury won’t itself enter production, but reveals Mercedes’ intentions for its future Maybach SUV.

What do you think of the new raft of super-luxury SUVs heading our way? Let us know in the comments below...