Mercedes has decided to build its forthcoming Maybach SUV at its Alabama plant alongside its GLS-class platform mate, a new version of which is being launched soon. The report comes from Automotive News, who also state that it will carry an expected price tag of around $200,000, making the SUV the most expensive passenger vehicle made in America. The new model will likely debut in China this year and go on sale early next year, AN says.
Mercedes previewed a potential Maybach SUV with a concept last year, although it looked a bit more like a high-riding sedan. The Vision-Mercedes Maybach Ultimate Luxury Concept featured four electric motors making a total of 738 horsepower and offered a range of more than 200 miles per charge. The concept was bold and dashing, especially riding on 24-inch wheels. Inside, the opulent interior featured white Nappa leather, rose-gold diamond stitching, and a fine-china tea set in between the two rear seats.
It’s unknown if the production version will have a more traditional rear hatch, but expect it to be differentiated from the regular GLS via the grille design, lighting elements, chrome trim, wheels, and, of course, an even more sumptuous interior. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will likely offer a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. The engine could make more than 577 horsepower if it’s similar to the one found in the new Mercedes-AMG G63.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler says the Maybach GLS is a “halo car” that “will help build the Mercedes brand, no question.” The model will compete with other ultra-luxe SUVs like the Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and the sportier Lamborghini Urus is in the same price neighborhood, too.
Mercedes is looking to expand the Maybach lineup to other models. “We’ll logically extend it where it makes sense,” Exler said. “I cannot imagine you will have a Maybach A-class. But on the top luxury cars, to have the luxury edition makes a whole lot of sense for us.” The automaker is also working to expand its Alabama plant with a new battery-assembly facility. In the early 2020s, the Alabama plant will begin churning out vehicles under the automaker’s EQ sub-brand.