The newly-launched Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4Matic makes you sit back and ask yourself, what even is an SUV anymore? Because at 5.2m long and with a kerb weight of 2,785 kilos, this thing – this monster, if you will – can’t possibly have any ‘sport’ in it, right? And as for ‘utility,’ the GLS 600 has an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 2.43 crore, so who on earth is going to use it as a load-lugging workhorse? Then again, the Maybach tag represents extreme luxury and apart from the GLS is only used on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, so this SUV clearly isn’t meant for the plebeians; only Arabian oil sheikhs, European royalty and newly-minted tech billionaires in Asia need apply.


The other thing about the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 is that today, on the day of the launch, the company has already pre-sold the entire 50-unit batch of these vehicles allocated for the Indian market for 2021. So, even if you have Rs three crore lying idle in your bank account and you want the most luxurious SUV that Mercedes-Benz makes, you can’t have one – at least not this year – because they’re all gone. The next batch of the GLS 600 will only be here during the first quarter of 2022. A raging pandemic and its possibly deleterious effects on the economy be damned – the Indian stock market is hitting new lifetime highs and Indian car buyers are purchasing luxury SUVs costing crores and all is well with the world.

So, what is it about the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 that makes it so special? If you can look away from its sheer opulence, massive front grille, flashy lashings of chrome and the loud paintjob, the GLS 600 actually does have a few things going for it. First up is the 4.0-litre V8 under its hood, which produces a rather respectable 557 horsepower and 730Nm of torque, along with an additional 22bhp and 250Nm with EQ boost, which is the assistance that the onboard electric motor provides to the main IC engine. With a 9-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic permanent all-wheel-drive, the GLS 600 can sprint from zero to 100kph in 4.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 250kph. Given its substantial heft and generous dimensions, such sprightly performance is admirable.

The big story is, of course, inside the GLS’s cabin, which has been built to cocoon its occupants in utter luxury and isolate them from whatever the hell it is that’s happening outside. Nappa leather-clad front and rear seats can all be fully reclined and pushed back for added legroom, there are electrically operated leg-rests for the rear seats, and there’s a rather decadent massage feature that rivals the best that spas from Bali to Budapest have to offer.

In addition to the massive infotainment system at the front, there’s another large tablet at the back for rear seat occupants, which lets them control the car’s functions (AC settings, music playback etc.), folding tables and a refrigerated compartment for storing champagne, chocolate, caviar etc. A sophisticated air suspension system with adaptive damping ensures a super-smooth ride, so you don’t spill a drop of that very expensive grape-juice that you and your companion might be drinking. The GLS even has an active body control system that improves both ride comfort and handling, while automatically adjusting and optimising suspension settings according to road conditions.

The list of the GLS’s safety equipment stretches from here to the Moon. And back. There’s the latest and the best of everything – anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, adaptive headlamps and as many as eight airbags all around, for unmatched safety. A driving assistance package helps the driver stick to his or her lane, and also provides steering and braking assistance when required. And while you’d scarcely believe it – this is a luxury barge after all and not a rough-roading 4×4 – the GLS even has an off-road driving mode and retractable running boards, so you can keep driving even when the tarmac ends.

Mercedes-Maybach offers endless customisation options for the GLS 600 and you can have all the Nappa leather, open-pore wood and two-tone paint that your heart desires. If you’re willing to spend, Mercedes will help you pimp out your GLS to any extent imaginable. ‘The Maybach brand represents the pinnacle of luxury and this SUV will elevate customer experience to an unmatched level. It blends supreme comfort with the most cutting-edge technology to redefine the luxury experience on wheels,’ says Martin Schwenk, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India. ‘We have witnessed a strong demand for our products as we see the hope and aspiration of our customers remain unbroken. With this positivity, we look at restarting and ramping up our business in phases, in sync with the unlocking of different markets. Our 2021 product strategy remains on track and we expect further uptick in demand, especially for top-end products,’ he adds.

Admittedly, there is some competition in India for the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600; SUVs like the BMW X7, Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan all offer similar levels of luxury and performance and some cost even more. No other car, however, screams “Look at me, I’m rich!,” louder than the GLS, which really lets people know you’re rolling in it. So, more power, we say, to Mercedes-Maybach, its top-end cars and SUVs, and the opulence they bring to ultra-HNIs. May the party never end.