The Mercedes-Benz GLS, formerly known as the GL-Class, has been one of the most luxurious full-size SUVs in the market. It combined an expansive eight-seater cabin with all the trappings and silky smooth ride of an S-Class saloon. But despite its time-tested luxury credentials, Stuttgart knows that to stand a chance against the Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, it has to upgrade the flagship offering from the three-pointed star to a more exalted Maybach badge. In fact, there has been rumours about a Maybach version of the GLS for a while now, and these were confirmed by the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, shown at the Auto China in Beijing early this year. And this week, we have the first spy shots of a prototype testing in Germany.

From the photos, it seems the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will follow the basic design and shape of the standard GLS as opposed to the coupe-SUV lines previewed by the Beijing concept.  But the radiator grille appears to have taken cues from the one seen in the concept with its vertical slats. The prototype doesn’t seem to have a longer wheelbase than the standard GLS, however, it is likely that the third row seats will be deleted to create a cavernous four-seat layout inside. And the cabin is expected to be as lavishly appointed as its uber-luxury rivals and will most likely feature fully reclining rear seats.

The Mercedes GLS is also being redesigned and is expected to be launched at the Los Angeles motor show end of this month. It will share the MHA platform with the Maybach variant, which is expected to be revealed early next year.


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