Mercedes-Maybach GLS: Born in the USA

By CARSIFU | 18 March 2019

PETALING JAYA: Luxury SUVs are the in-thing these days and car makers are cashing in on the trend before it fizzles out. Mercedes-Benz has announced that it would be making the Mercedes-Maybach GLS at its US plant in Alabama.

Sources say the "halo car" would be priced at around US$200,000 (RM817,000), making it the most expensive passenger car to roll out of an American plant.

Based on the third-generation GLS platform, it uses a 560+ hp V8 mill. The Maybach GLS is expected to go on sale in 2020 after its world premiere this year, probably in China.

The full-size Maybach GLS in full camouflage has been spotted testing in November last year. From what we know, it will have a more advanced Magic Body Control aka an enhanced suspension for ultra-comfort. The drive mode is expected to have a setting customised to chauffeurs.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury.
Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury.

It is likely to have the same wheelbase as the regular GLS but the back row would be remodelled to specifications that billionaires and Arab oil sheiks are more accustomed to. Think two seats and plenty of creature comforts and bespoke fittings to delight the senses.

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury that was introduced at Auto China 2018 in Beijing last April hinted of the Maybach GLS to come, though the actual production model would not have the heavily stylised lines of the show car.

Daimler is aiming the Maybach GLS at luxobarge rivals like the Bentley Bentayga and the Range Rover SVAutobiography.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018 Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, Auto China 2018

Mercedes has been making cars in the US for over 22 years. At present, the Vance, Alabama plant is the global production hub for the GLS, GLE and GLE Coupe. The plant is being expanded and will be assembling EQ-series electric vehicles in the early 2020s.

You may recall that BMW's global production hub for its SUVs is also stationed in the US, some 570km north-east in Spartanburg, South Carolina. With the impending arrival of the Maybach GLS, BMW would need to respond in kind to the challenge. A more luxurious X7 is  in the pipeline, we gather.