The Beijing Motor Show 2018 starts on April 25 and German auto giant Mercedes-Benz will be presenting two very important models at one of the most important auto shows in China. The automaker has announced two important models that will be showcased at the auto show. This will include the global premiere of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Concept, along with the A-Class sedan. The Mercedes-Maybach Concept is understood to preview the Maybach version of the GLS SUV, with the manufacturer joining the elite club of super exclusive uber SUVs.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS SUV will go on sale in 2019 and a production version is expected to debut at Los Angeles Motor Show later this year. The Maybach GLS will be joining the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Range Rover SVAutobiography and the upcoming Rolls Royce Cullinan. Mercedes-Benz will be taking the same concept taking the standard S-Class and giving it the super luxurious Maybach finish, but this time, the concept will be replicated with the next generation GLS.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS is called the S-Class of SUVs and is already a preferred buy for its sheer size and opulence. For the Maybach version, expect to see a host of subtle but effective design changes including the more traditional Mercedes grille, new and larger alloy wheels, new bumpers at the front and rear. The changes though to the interior will be extensive with most changes being made to the rear seats for a more luxurious experience. The Maybach crest will find its to the headrests, upholstery, touchscreen system and the hood as well. Expect upgrades like reclining seats, improved rear legroom and overall plush materials all over, similar to what's available on the Maybach S-Class. The new generation Mercedes-Maybach GLS will also feature autonomous driving functions as part of the standard kit.
Internally codenamed as Maybach 9, underpinning the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will be an aluminium and steel body, shared with the standard GLS SUV. The new generation GLS will be based on Mercedes-Benz's MHA (Modular High Architecture) platform, which has been developed from the car maker's current MRA architecture. This will not only bring overall weight, and will also support a plug-in hybrid setup indicating at an additional variant to be offered in the future.
Powertrain options on the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will be top-of-the-line including the AMG-developed 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine tuned to produce 462 bhp and 700 Nm of peak torque. This version is likely to be badged as the GLS560 (like the S560); while a plug-in hybrid version could be the GLS560e and will draw power from the 3.0-litre V6 engine tuned for 357 bhp and 500 Nm of torque, paired with an electric motor that produces an additional 119 bhp and peak torque of 440 Nm. The combined output is not known yet and the model is likely to be unveiled next year.
With the growing popularity of SUVs globally, car makers have also seen a niche yet profitable demand for uber luxurious SUVs. This segment is as a natural upgrade for the current fleet of Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Range Rover customers, who are looking for something more opulent in their next purchase. Much like the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, you can expect to Maybach GLS to make it to India sometime next year. Prices are expected to be well over ₹ 3 crore (ex-showroom) with a tonne of personalisation options.