2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600
Delivers the Ultra-Luxury Experience that “Money is No Object” Buyers are Looking For
If you're familiar with the Mercedes Maybach sub-brand, you know it delivers the ultimate in luxury sedan opulence to the select few buyers for whom money is no object. Well now, they're turning their attention to the all-important utility vehicle segment for the first time. So, let's find out what their high-dollar high-roller is all about.
There are luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, and then there are ultra-luxury brands along the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Maybach is Mercedes’ strategy for going after the latter, and this 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is their first SUV effort.
Based upon the already quite luxurious 3-row GLS, the brand’s largest utility, the Maybach gets a new vertical slat grille similar to the Maybach S-Class sedan, with hood-mounted Mercedes logo leading the way just like the old days.
There’s plenty of added chrome trim, and unique wheel choices in either 22 or uber 23-inch sizes. Lots of subtle changes to the back end too, including the Maybach logo added to the D-pillar.
GLS 600 power comes from a 550-horsepower version of Mercedes’ twin-turbo V8. The 4.0-liter puts out 538 lb-ft. of torque, and receives another potential 184 lb-ft. from a 48-volt EQ Boost. 4MATIC all-wheel-drive is standard, working with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
So, there was more than enough power for any situation we encountered; and the Maybach delivers a different driving experience compared to the standard Benz GLS thanks to AIRMATIC air suspension, Adaptive Damping System Plus, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL, and a unique driving mode that prioritizes ride comfort for the rear seat passengers. Other modes range from 80’s Buick floaty, to the more traditional nailed-down Euro vibe, with good steering feel through it all.
Off to Mason Dixon Dragway for further research.
At the line, it was primed and ready for take-off, requiring a strong press of the brake pedal to keep from creeping forward. Upon releasing the brake and going full on the accelerator, a ton of torque rushes on as the GLS 600 digs in and takes off, hitting 60 in just 4.5–seconds.
You only get a hint of the nice V8 growl, due to lots of additional sound deadening materials, but shifts are quick with a nice little jolt of performance with each one. The ¼-mile passed by in 13.0–seconds at 107 miles-per-hour; and it feels super stable and smooth at triple digits.
It maintained quite a pace through our cone course too; body roll was kept to a minimum, and the quick steering was very accurate. Stability control systems stayed mostly in the background, only surfacing when we began pushing extremely hard. All in all, a very entertaining vehicle, despite its size, and without feeling like a super-stiff performance utility.
Brakes were very consistent, bringing us to a halt from 60 in just 110-feet. Perhaps the most surreal experience of all, as you’re totally isolated from the harsh reality of how hard the binders are working to stop this heavy machine so quickly and smoothly.
Most everything inside has a hint of familiarity, yet is also a significant step up from any current Mercedes-Benz. The dash is lined in Nappa leather and there are many wood finishes and metallic trims to choose.
Front seats are supremely comfortable, but it’s the rear seating area that sees the biggest transformation, turning into a first class luxury suite complete with twin reclining seats and a tablet for controlling most of the car’s features, including the standard panoramic roof with opaque blind.
And for getting in and out, when the doors are opened, not only are illuminated running boards deployed automatically, but the suspension lowers itself.
With pampering the ultimate priority, the Maybach ditches the 3rd row and folding 2nd row seats; so you’re limited to just 18.4 cubic-ft. of cargo space.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 19-Highway, and 16-Combined; our average an appropriate 15.4 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
There’s not really any such thing as sticker shock in this segment, as buyers are willing to pay a premium for the type of experience Maybach delivers. But, for the record, starting price is $161,550.
With this type of vehicle, appealing to as many people as possible is not the goal. The object is to supply the kind of ultra-luxury experience that buyers with the “money is no object” means are looking for. The 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 delivers that and more.
- Engine: 4.0L Twin Turbo V8
- Horsepower: 550
- Torque: 538 lb-ft
- 0-60 mph: 13.0 seconds at 107 mph
- 1/4 Mile: 4.5 seconds
- EPA: 15 City / 19 Highway / 16 Combined