The soon-to-be revealed Mercedes-Maybach SUV has been spied completely undisguised ahead of its debut next year. Based on Mercedes’ flagship model, the GLS, the luxury SUV will go head-to-head with the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
The spy shots reveal that the SUV will receive minor design tweaks over the GLS it shares its base with. A bolder and wider front grille is the most obvious change, while a reshaped front bumper and rear-end treatment can also be picked out.
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While there are no images of the cabin expect more significant changes to take place there, with a greater focus on luxury and refinement.
Mercedes has flirted with the idea of a luxury SUV for many years; the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept car shown at the Beijing Motor Show was the first real hint at such a model, although the production car will ditch the concept’s 80kWh electric drivetrain in favour of a V8 engine.
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Speaking to Auto Express at the Beijing Motor Show, Jurgen Weissinger, Mercedes’ chief engineer for Maybach and Special Vehicles, said the SUV will also “borrow some elements from the Beijing concept,” though he wouldn’t give details of which features would be carried over.
Though the Mercedes-Maybach SUV will incorporate the GLS’s drivetrain, it will be tweaked for optimum comfort and luxury. Weissinger added: “For example, we can make special driving programmes for chauffeurs and customers. We can also smooth the gearbox, so not have so many shifts. We are looking at how to make it even more comfortable and luxurious.”
Mercedes-Maybach is also looking towards electrification and plug-in hybrids for the future. “If you look at the next two to five years, we can see Mercedes-Maybach with a plug-in. The next five to ten years, it will be more of a fully electric drivetrain.”
The SUV will also feature a brand new suspension set-up from Mercedes-Maybach, according to Weissinger. “For the SUV, we are working on a new high-level active body control to give top driving comfort, he explained. If you know the idea of a magic carpet, this is a super magic carpet. We are working on a combination with our camera system together with the future system to create new features and new level of comfort.”
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