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Saturday, May 21, 2022

2022 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 review

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Have you ever looked at the Mercedes-Benz GLS and thought: you know what, this luxury SUV needs more luxury?

The guys and girls at Mercedes-Maybach thought they’d have a crack at Maybach-ing the GLS and have come up with an uber-luxury SUV called the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600.

While Mercedes-Benz doesn’t split sales numbers within the GLS marque, we understand a decent number of these have already been delivered to customers in Australia, so it’s not going to be as rare as you may think on Aussie roads.

How much does the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 cost?

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 4Matic is a more decadent version of the Mercedes-Benz GLS, which foregoes the third row for a more palatial second row.

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS400 is priced from $358,300 before on-road costs.

That’s more than twice as much as a Mercedes-Benz GLS450 and $68,400 more than the current GLS flagship, the Mercedes-AMG GLS63, though it’s a cool $300,000 less than a Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

It’s available in 10 exterior colours, with all but Hyacinth Red and Diamond White free of charge (the two special colours are $1100 extra). Two-tone colours are also available to further differentiate the Maybach GLS from lesser models on the road.

What do you get?

Standard features include:

  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 12.3-inch infotainment system
  • Dual 11.6-inch rear touchscreens
  • Heated, ventilated and massaging front and rear seats
  • Power-adjustable front and outboard rear seats
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Power running boards
  • Airmatic air suspension
  • 23-inch alloy wheels
  • Burmester 28-speaker sound system
  • Head-up display
  • Semi-autonomous parking assist
  • E-Active body control fully-active suspension
  • Matrix LED headlights with adaptive high-beam
  • Colour-adjustable ambient lighting
  • Four-zone climate control

Options include:

  • Four-seat Executive Rear with centre console, extending folding tables and refrigerator ($9500)
  • Refrigerated rear console ($3200)
  • White Nappa leather upholstery ($28,400)

Is the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 safe?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS and its derivatives haven’t been assessed by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, although the related GLE (pictured above) has a five-star rating from both.

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 comes standard with the following safety features:

  • AEB with pedestrian detection
  • Traffic sign assist
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Exit warning alert
  • Evasive steering assist
  • Nine airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Surround-view camera

What is the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 like on the inside?

When you hop inside a car it’s often not hard to spot the first piece of plastic without spending a great deal of effort.

The GLS600 on the other hand feels like plastic is the exception to the rule with almost every other surface leather-wrapped. This includes things like the A-pillar, the roof and even the boot surrounds.

When parked next to a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, which carries a price tag of $300,000 more than this, you really struggle to understand how anybody could justify the price difference – yes, they’re very different products for very different buyers, but just from a visual standpoint you really don’t notice the difference.

But the GLS600’s biggest issue is that it feels quite similar to a ‘regular’ GLS in the first row. Outside of some Maybach lashings (and the acres of leather) it could be mistaken for a regular GLS.

That means dual-12.3-inch displays fitted with the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system that’s driven either through touch or the controller on the centre console.

The GLS600 didn’t pick up the S-Class-esque big screen in the centre of the cabin, but it’s our understanding that will come as part of a facelift to the GLS range at some point next year.

It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with AM/FM and DAB+ radio and that’s all sent through a crazy 28-speaker Burmester sound system – probably one of the best ones we’ve heard in a standard car. There are speakers literally everywhere throughout the cabin.

As you’d expect, the first row features heated and cooled seats along with a massage function with a number of different hot and cold massage settings.

A particularly cool feature in the first and second rows is a heated and cooled set of cup holders. If you drop a hot or cold drink within them, you can then keep the drink hot or cold while it’s seated on the metal plate.

Realistically it’s the second row where the magic happens. The four-seat executive configuration in our test car is built for comfort.

We drove the (now outgoing) Range Rover recently and found that there wasn’t a great deal of leg room available unless you opted for the long-wheelbase version.

The GLS600 on the other hand offers a stack of leg and head room in the second row on both sides of the fixed divider. The passenger side actually almost fully reclines by moving the front passenger seat forwards and then reclining the seat.

It offers enough room for me (185cm tall) to stretch out with my feet on the front passenger seat. Like the first row, the second row is heated and cooled and offers massage function. Even the armrests are heated – because you don’t want cold elbows.

The second row is where the Maybach version of the GLS really differentiates itself from the regular GLS.

There’s storage in the centre console, media screens for the passengers with wireless headphones. There’s even a detachable Android tablet that’s able to control the front and second row infotainment systems.

Fold out tray tables also make eating food and doing work a whole lot easier. For those conscious of carrying children, there are also two ISOFIX points with two top tether points on the outboard seats.

If you don’t option the fridge, the console between the two second row seats is just an open space for storing odds and ends.

As you’d expect, there are four individual climate zones and the panoramic roof and side blinds can be closed by first or second row passengers as required.

Cargo capacity comes in at a commendable 520 litres, which is pretty impressive given how much room the reclining second row takes up.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 is powered by a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 teamed with a 48V mild-hybrid system.

Quoted outputs are 410kW of power and 730Nm of torque, and the engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Fuel economy comes in at 12.5 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle.

How does the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 drive?

Unlike the ball-tearing Mercedes-AMG GLS63, the GLS600 is all about comfort and power. It misses out on the V12 engine offered in the Maybach S680 available abroad, and instead settles for Benz’s stellar twin-turbocharged V8 engine developed by the AMG performance division.

Not that you’d know, though. When you turn it over there’s a small bit of grumble, but for the most part it’s incredibly subdued and matches the character you’d expect of a car like this.

One of the things I thought would really hamper the GLS was the 23-inch alloy wheels. It’s an enormous set of wheels, but you’d never know it was riding on such big rims with relatively low-profile 40/35 (front/rear) tyres.

It uses air suspension with adaptive damping linked to E-Active body control (a 48V suspension system that individually controls each corner of the car and offers almost immediate height changes) and a stereo camera that can anticipate potholes and speed humps to smooth out the ride.

When I say it smooths out the ride, I mean you can go over a speed hump and not notice you’ve gone over it at all. It’s surreal and something that’s hard to describe (check out our video review above for a shot of it in action).

The E-Active body control comes with a Curve mode that can lift one side of the car mid-corner to minimise the amount of body motion within the vehicle (that is human body movement). It prevents you leaning over as you move through a corner and makes faster-paced driving even more comfortable.

Further supplementing this mode is the Maybach drive mode. It offers the most comfortable ride, it kills the stop/start system and also takes off in second gear to make everything even more imperceptible to your passengers.

Despite featuring a near-identical drivetrain, this feels like a very different beast to the GLS63. It’s much smoother, far more luxury-oriented and doesn’t feel at all connected to its AMG cousin.

But, that all changes if you flick it over to Sport mode. Despite its size – with a kerb weight of just under 2900kg – it feels surprisingly agile when the pace picks up. Sport mode brings out a little more exhaust character and when you get stuck into the throttle it pins you back in the seat just like the GLS63 does.

It’ll do the 0-100km/h dash in 4.9 seconds and on faster sweeping bends it feels comfortable with plenty of steering feel and a playful character. It’s nowhere near as floaty as the Cullinan and puts a big smile on your face as it darts through sweeping bends.

It’s not built for it, but it feels very comfortable being driven hard.

Fuel economy was also surprisingly good. We averaged around 13L/100km during our time with the car and it included a mix of city and highway driving, plus a stint on the ride and handling track at the VinFast proving ground.

How much does the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 cost to run?

All Mercedes-Benz vehicles are covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Servicing occurs every 12 months or 20,000km and capped price service prepaid comes in at $4000 over three services, averaging $1333 per service.

Buyers can prepay for up to five years of servicing in advance. If they choose to do that, servicing cost comes out to $4550 over five years, which comes out to $910 per service.

CarExpert’s Take on the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600

This is a tricky one.

As a luxury SUV, this is excellent. It does everything you’d expect it to do for this price tag and it couples the luxury with performance from a brilliant twin-turbocharged V8 engine.

But does it feel as opulent or special as a Rolls-Royce or even a Range Rover? Not quite.

Visually it’s not different enough from a regular GLS. Yes, the chrome highlights help set it apart, but ultimately it’s likely to get confused for a non-Maybach GLS all too often.

If that’s not a concern to you, then this could be the ultimate luxury SUV. It’s big, has heaps of room inside, it’s uncompromised in terms of ride and handling and best of all, is covered by five-year warranty with reasonable servicing costs.

If I was buying one, I’d be going all out with two-tone paint, a white interior and the champagne fridge.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz GLS

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