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TESTED: The 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 Is a 3-Ton Thunderbolt

TESTED: The 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 Is a 3-Ton Thunderbolt

Just because Mercedes went all-out with luxury doesn't mean it skimped on power

  • The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is the first SUV from the German automaker's premium sub-brand
  • This large luxury SUV pairs an extremely well-appointed interior with a 550-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine
  • Is that enough power to handle more than 3 tons of curb weight? Our testing team was eager to find out

The Maybach name dates back more than 100 years to the early 20th century. Originally an independent company, it was bought by Daimler in 1960 and has operated as a Mercedes sub-brand since 2015. The two current Maybach models are essentially top-level versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan and GLS-Class SUV. We took the new Maybach GLS 600 to our test track to see how it performs.

What makes a Maybach?

A herd's worth of leather and enough wood to build a small boat. We might not be kidding. Nearly every surface inside a Maybach is covered with leather or wood, save for some nice-looking plastic on touch points like the steering wheel, light controls, window switches and a few other places. It gives the whole interior a supremely premium feel, even compared to other Mercedes-Benz models.

It's more than just some nice upholstery. The standard Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is a three-row SUV. In the Maybach, the third row is removed and the rear seats are pushed back to allow more legroom. There are only two highly adjustable rear seats by default (a five-seat configuration is available at no cost), with a large center console running between them. The console can be fitted with everything from a tablet that controls various functions from the rear seat to a refrigerator for chilling bottles of Champagne, glasses included. Compared to the regular Mercedes GLS-Class, the adaptive air suspension has been retuned for better ride quality for rear passengers. Like all Maybachs, this is a vehicle that's designed for chauffeur operation and maximum rear-seat comfort.

Great, so how did it do at the track?

Each GLS 600 is powered by a hand-built 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 550 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque. Output-wise, it splits the difference between the standard GLS 580 and the performance-tuned GLS 63 AMG. The engine also uses a 48-volt mild hybrid system for smoother acceleration and improved efficiency. And smooth it is, with plenty of lazy, low-end power that offers brisk and even acceleration without having to floor it or even come close.

At our test track, the GLS 600 went from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, crossing the quarter-mile marker in 12.9 seconds at 106.9 mph. That's pure performance-car territory from an SUV that weighed in at an eye-watering 6,272 pounds on our scales. Three-plus tons is a lot of mass to slow down too, so the stopping distance of 113 feet from 60 mph — a respectable performance for a sport sedan weighing barely half as much — is mighty impressive. Notably, our test vehicle was fitted with Pirelli P Zero summer performance tires, and braking distances would likely be significantly longer with regular all-season tires.

How does the GLS 600 stack up against other luxury SUVs?

Edmunds tests just about every new car that hits the market, so we're able to compare the Maybach to other SUVs in this class using data we've gathered during our instrumented testing. On paper, the Maybach doesn't fare as well as the competition.

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 ($172,200 as tested)

  • 0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
  • Quarter-mile: 12.9 seconds @ 106.9 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 113 feet
  • 6,272 pounds

BMW Alpina XB7 ($156,345 as tested)

  • 0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds
  • Quarter-mile: 12.2 seconds @ 115.1 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 98 feet
  • 5,843 pounds

Bentley Bentayga V8 ($250,195 as tested)

  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
  • Quarter-mile: 12.1 seconds @ 112.2 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 113 feet
  • 5,422 pounds

Lamborghini Urus ($295,751 as tested)

  • 0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds
  • Quarter-mile: 11.4 seconds @ 118.6 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 108 feet
  • 5,173 pounds

Aston Martin DBX ($195,586 as tested)

  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
  • Quarter-mile: 12.5 seconds @ 112 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 107 feet
  • 5,139 pounds

Maserati Levante Trofeo ($151,190 as tested)

  • 0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
  • Quarter-mile: 12.1 seconds @ 113.9 mph
  • 60-0 mph braking: 114 feet
  • 5,125 pounds

Weight seems to be the biggest factor holding the Maybach back. It's more than 400 pounds heavier than its heaviest rival and more than 1,000 pounds heavier than the relatively svelte Maserati. In real-world driving, however, the GLS 600 feels plenty quick — 4.7 seconds to 60 is quicker than most cars on the road today regardless of class. And when you're rolling around in such a comfortable and well-appointed vehicle, does it matter that you're not as quick as the Lamborghini in the next lane over?

Edmunds says

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is one of the most opulent vehicles on sale today, but you knew that already. Our track test shows that its powerful V8 and beefy brakes are more than up to the task of making this behemoth feel like an accomplished athlete.