- New Maybach SUV
- Based on the regular Mercedes GLS SUV
- Unlike the regular GLS, there's no third-row seat
- Kicks off the first year for the Maybach GLS
What is the Maybach GLS 600?
The new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is the German automaker's latest and greatest luxury land yacht.
Based on the standard Mercedes-Benz GLS, the Maybach ups the opulence with a revised interior and retuned powertrain aimed at making backseat passengers just as comfortable as those in the front. Mercedes expects a significant number of GLS 600s to be driven by chauffeurs, so the aim was to make sure those in the back are as comfortable as possible. It's the same formula Mercedes-Benz has used for years with the Maybach S-Class, though basing the new model on the GLS gives Mercedes much more room to work with.
How does the Maybach GLS 600 drive?
Well, the Maybach GLS 600 doesn't feel all that much different than a standard GLS from behind the wheel. That's hardly a bad thing since we think the GLS is one of the best SUVs on sale today.
The Maybach GLS 600 gets a revised version of the turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 found in the GLS 580. It gains 67 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque for a total of 550 hp and 538 lb-ft. Not bad, though the AMG GLS 63 still retains ultimate bragging rights with 603 hp.
The engine and transmission have been tuned for super-smooth acceleration. Mercedes' goal was to make it feel like the V12 engine you'll find in the Maybach S-Class. While it's not quite that silky, pressing down on the Maybach-badged gas pedal provides instant and effortless acceleration. Really lay into it and Mercedes estimates this big leather- and wood-filled behemoth will scoot from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds.
On just about every road surface, the Maybach GLS 600 feels polished and refined. The Maybach comes with the E-Active Body Control adaptive suspension, which is optional on the regular GLS. It's a sophisticated camera-based system that scans the road ahead and adjusts the air springs and adaptive shock absorbers at each corner, and on the fly, to adapt to whatever road you're on.
Despite its size and weight, the Maybach GLS 600 doesn't feel overly large or unwieldy. While the suspension can provide a plush ride, it also keeps the GLS composed around corners. The steering helps too. It doesn't provide much in the way of feedback, but it's light and direct, so maneuvering through parking lots or navigating tight back roads is a breeze.
As with the standard GLS, the Maybach GLS 600 features multiple drive modes that adjust engine response, transmission shifts and suspension tuning to give you various degrees of comfort or sporty handling. Of particular note are the Curve and Maybach modes. When in Curve mode (also featured on other Mercedes models with E-Active Body Control), the Maybach GLS 600 will lean into a corner like a motorcycle. It acts to keep the vehicle flat and reduce roll. The sensation feels a bit odd at first, but it does work fairly well.
Maybach mode is new and tailors settings for passenger comfort. The suspension adjusts to provide better rear-seat comfort. It also provides even smoother acceleration; for example, the transmission will start in second gear to make taking off from a dead stop even smoother. The stop-start system is also deactivated so there won't be any vibrations when the engine turns off or on.
How comfortable is the Maybach GLS 600?
Very, and not just in terms of the excellent and pillow-soft ride quality. It's dead quiet inside, with next to no wind or road noise entering the cabin. The exhaust note, too, is subdued until you really dip into the gas pedal. You get a nice growl that offers just a hint of that AMG-derived flair without being attention-grabbing. Mercedes added a fixed partition behind the rear seats. That means you can't fold the rear seats down, but the partition greatly cuts down on the noise that enters the cabin.
The seats are comfortable and supportive, especially those in the rear. The Maybach GLS 600 doesn't have a third-row seat like the standard GLS. Instead, there's more second-row legroom. The Maybach comes standard with two seats in the second row. These seats offer roughly the same level of adjustment as you'll find on a business-class flight, and the copious legroom means passengers can recline and stretch out on the adjustable footrest. The seats are heated, ventilated and massaging. An optional fifth seat is available that replaces the fixed console with one that folds.
How's the Maybach GLS 600's interior?
As you'd hope — or expect — the Maybach GLS 600 has one of the most handsome and well-appointed interiors of any vehicle on sale today. Just about every surface is covered in leather or wood. Everything you touch has a solid premium feel, and nothing inside looks or feels cheap.
The back seat is where the GLS 600 really shines. The Maybach GLS has a full-length console running between the seats (unless you opt for the five-passenger version). In addition to extra storage, there are heated and cooled cupholders and space for the optional Champagne flute holders as well as a refrigerated compartment for the Champagne itself. Rear passengers also have full controls for the infotainment system and seats. That means a rear passenger can control the radio and climate control as well as slide the front passenger seat forward for more room.
How's the Maybach GLS 600's tech?
The Maybach GLS is fitted with every last bit of tech Mercedes-Benz has to offer, and all of it is standard equipment. Mercedes' excellent MBUX infotainment system is one of the best around, with a clean, responsive interface, robust and genuinely useful voice commands, and trick features such as an augmented reality overlay for the navigation system. Rear passengers can control the system from a removable tablet that's mounted between the seats, too, so there's no need to ask your chauffeur to change the radio station or adjust the temperature. There are also screens mounted on the back of the front seats that can be used to watch videos.
And then there are all the driver aids. The Maybach GLS 600 comes standard with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist and more. These are some of the best driver aids you'll find on any vehicle today. Despite the complexity, it's all easy to use and operate. The adaptive cruise is smooth, and the emergency braking system isn't overly sensitive like some other systems.
How's the Maybach GLS 600's storage?
Despite the GLS 600's size, storage is one of its weakest areas. There are plenty of cubbies, bins and pockets up front, but fitting larger items into the cargo area can be troublesome given the lack of folding rear seats and fixed partition. Its 18.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats is more than you'll find behind the third row of a standard GLS, but that's peak capacity. If you opt for the refrigerated compartment, you lose even more space since the cooler juts into the center of the cargo area. There's still a decent amount of room, but don't expect to be able to haul the same amount of cargo you would in a typical large luxury SUV.
What are the Maybach GLS 600's trim levels?
The 2021 Maybach GLS 600 comes in a single well-equipped trim level. It's powered by a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 paired to a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Just about everything that's optional or available on the regular GLS is standard on the Maybach.
Standard feature highlights include:
- 22-inch wheels
- E-Active Body Control adaptive suspension (dramatically improves ride comfort)
- 12.3-inch infotainment screen
- Digital gauge cluster display
- 7-inch touchscreen for the rear seat
- Wireless charging pads in the front and rear
- Burmester audio system
- Head-up display (displays important information in your sight line onto the windshield)
- Four-zone automatic climate control
- Heated and cooled cupholders
- Heated, ventilated and massaging seats both front and rear
- Panoramic glass roof
Driver aids include:
- Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Maybach and the car in front)
- Automatic emergency braking (warns if a front impact is imminent and applies the brakes if you don't respond in time)
- Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
- Lane departure warning (alerts you if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane)
- Surround-view camera (gives you a top-down view of the Maybach GLS 600 and its surroundings for tight parking situations)
- Folding tables for rear passengers (four-seat configuration only)
- Two-tone leather upholstery
- Two-tone exterior paint
- 23-inch wheels
- Refrigerated compartment
- Champagne flutes and built-in holders
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Maybach GLS 600 takes one of the best luxury SUVs on sale today and dials up the luxury factor even further. It's not as practical as its three-row brethren, but we hardly think you'll care when you're sipping Champagne from your massaging rear seat while your chauffeur handles driving duties.