2022 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600: Review
2022 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600: Review

Can there really be too much presence or opulence? The Maybach GLS 600 is flirting with that line. Its one of the most luxurious and hippie in a cool way rides we have set our eyes on in Zimbabwe for years. Its makes a fashion statement in a bold and beautiful way.

We have all seen the GLS on the road and have a fair idea about the size. Take that idea and throw it out of the window because the Maybach is massive! It is not down to the dimensions, as apart from the height, which is a centimeter and a half longer, the other parameters match the regular GLS. It is that large 29-slat grille that amplifies the presence.

It has the Mercedes star hood ornament but customers can of course opt for a Maybach hood ornament which further adds to the presence. Speaking of which, there is tonnes of chrome. On the grille, the full airdam of the bumper and even the skid plate, an area which is supposed to protect the underbelly from damage, is chrome!

However, the most brilliant element of the design is in the side profile -- the massive 22-inch 16-spoke (that looks like 32-spoke) wheels. It is not just in diameter; these things are a massive 285/45 in profile. They stick out of the bodywork a little and look properly taller. The SUV is over 6 feet tall. Final interesting touch in the bodywork is the Maybach moniker on the D-pillar.

The most exciting part however has to be the fold-out side steps. They pop out from under the side sills on either side as soon as you open either of the doors and then retract and sit flush when you shut them. Even when they are out, they look the part of a Maybach and even feature a double-M moniker. Despite having a folding mechanism, they are extremely sturdy.

The rear is gives you the Maybach feel you are accustomed to. It has a chrome treatment on the skid plate, tailpipes and the boot garnish. The other highlight is the Maybach lettering. Overall, the Maybach GLS is not pretty in the traditional sense. It is the chrome jewellery and the massive proportions that make sure you take notice of it. If you love presence then this is your ride.

Of course, the first door you would open in the Maybach GLS is to the second row. Open it and you are greeted with two lounge-like seats draped in two-tone leather. It perfectly complements the exteriors with a maroon-tan shade for the seats and the rest a light shade of creamy white. There are cushions on the seats and neck pillows that you would just want to fall asleep on. The luxury quotient is so intensive that even the grab handles are leather wrapped with beautiful stitching.

The two recliners are separated by a centre compartment which houses the fridge. It has optional champagne glass holder - sans the glasses - with Maybach logo on the cover and on top when you open it. Then there is a well-padded armrest which opens up to give access to two folding tables. At the end is a touchscreen tablet that can be taken out of its casing. However, a little ahead of this tablet is a floating wireless charger which oddly looks out of place. Then there is a hidden cup holder and the rear AC control units.

The doors themselves are wrapped in the same dual-tone shade of Nappa leather with contrast stitching and even the panel which houses the seat controls gets a nice brown finish. Finally, the metallic speaker grille, which is as sharp as a cheese grater. The Maybach illuminated sill welcomes you in the cabin and while some may find the soft door close an overrated feature, it ensures that the door shuts properly every time you close it. It looks and feels impeccable.

Master Seat
Climb into the rear seats and you feel your body being supported throughout. The cushioning is not too soft but just right, and the armrests fall nicely in place. Now is decision time: you can either straighten the seatback and wave to your fans outside, or recline the seats and switch on the heated massage function to relieve stress, and not worry about what is outside the cabin. For massaging, you can either use the seat-back monitors which take touch inputs or simply use the tablet. There are multiple options you can choose from, including a full back and a heated one as well. The massage, though enjoyable, is not as powerful as the Swedes have to offer in their flagships. The heated massage on a cold and rainy shoot day was just what the doctor ordered. It even heats up the armrest!

Adding to comfort is the soft neck cushion and the ottoman. The latter can be extended all the way up and with the front seat all the way ahead, people of average height will be able to just squeeze in. Anyone taller, 6 foot or above, will find the space a little too limited to stretch out. Still, with most of your body supported, the recline angle all the way back to 43 degrees, sunroof shade open, massage on -- the backseat experience does not get any better.
You can also control all the sunshades - namely both the windows and the sunroof - from this palace. The seats are both heated and ventilated and with the touchscreen you can even control the infotainment and the ambient lights. Speaking of the ambient lights, like on all Mercedes cars, the front three sides of the cabin are wrapped in them. In the Maybach, you even have them behind you! Finally comes the cabin insulation. Mercedes has worked on this aspect to make sure you remain insulated from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, and it has worked.

Then comes the 13-speaker 590-watt Burmester sound system which is impressive. It even features a 2-way in-car communication system which offers voice amplification to allow you to have a conversation across all seat rows without raising your voice.
The entire experience is awesome. It’s loaded with comfort, tech and luxury. The seats will hug you.

Driver’s Life
While you are sipping chilled champagne at the back seat, the driver too will be as comfortable as one could be. He too gets massage seats draped in leather, heated and cooled, and the steering wheel feels properly premium to hold. And then there is the view. No, not in the rear-view mirror but outside. As you sit tall, you can see the bonnet all the way to the hood ornament and the overall visibility is excellent. You can easily see the roof of the much smaller cars on the road. The dashboard is wrapped in soft touch materials and the Mercedes dual-screen layout has never looked so classy, with its underlining AC vents and the large centre console. The attention to detail even here is impressive, with the accelerator and brake pedals being special and featuring Maybach inscription. That they should surely be, because they control...

What is under the hood?
A 4.0-litre V8 biturbo, 410kW, 730Nm, fuel guzzling, Mammoth propelling engine. Which at first, you cannot even hear as the startup is incredibly smooth and silent. Until you really rev it up, it is barely audible. Like how it is the quieter clouds which pour out the most rain, this AMG tuned engine can get this 3.2 tonne luxury barge to 100kmph in a claimed 4.9 seconds. While doing so, it is a sight to behold. The SUV sits down and silently launches off, until the engine revs up and gives the theory exhaust note.
While it can really cruise, a Maybach is not about its speed. It is about effortless and smooth performance. In that respect too, the motor is competent. Put it in the Maybach drive mode and the throttle response gets sedated. While you will still have acceleration on tap, the acceleration is smooth and jerk free. Brakes too are tuned on the softer side so you do not accidentally make the owner spill champagne and you get fired. Gear changes in the 9-speed shifter are precise and lag free as well. All in all, while you can be a hooligan in the Maybach, the rewarding experience of the smooth drive in the Maybach mode is more satisfying.

You have to be moneyed because the fuel prices as of today are US$1.69 litre in Harare and this is not a fuel saver. It is a guzzler. The fuel efficiency of this beauty is between 5-10kmpl, depending on how you drive. Even with a 90-litre fuel tank, expect a range of about 600km. However, if you drive whilst looking at the fuel gauge then these huge engines are not for you.

Glide like a Maybach
The GLS Maybach gets air suspension (dah!). It can lower or raise itself depending on what drive mode you select. Even in the Dynamic mode where it is at the lowest setting, there is enough ground clearance to tackle potholes or stupid-breakers. Even in the sportiest setting, the ride is cushiony. It separates you well from the tarmac but larger bumps do cause a judder in the cabin. However, until that happens, everything is super silent.
Switch to Maybach mode and the suspension makes the cabin float. Yes, there is a bit of floating sensation in the cabin but in a rather good way. The tarmac is disconnected and the judder now happens only when you hit a pothole. Even while turning, the suspension firms up the loaded side to keep the ride flat in the cabin. Inside the city or out on the highway, the GLS Maybach’s ride, cabin insulation and smooth power delivery gives a relaxing and bother-free experience.

If you have reached a point in your life where you are being ferried around in a Maybach, chances are you may have a lot of baggage. However, your GLS Maybach might not be equipped to take it along. The boot is large and should easily carry a couple of leather-draped suitcases and bags. It comes pre-installed with a large spare wheel which, despite being a space saver, is massive. And the rest of the space is occupied by the refrigerator, the jack and other accessories. With that, you can only store a couple of laptop bags. Which is why in most cases the GLS is preceded by a couple of SUVs for both your security contingent as well as your designer luggage.

Big Bucks
It costs about USD350000.00 imported for you by the local dealership Zimoco. You can build it up with optional upholstery, paint and accessories.

Maybach has always been a flavour for those for the flamboyant and classy. It competes with Rolls. That alone tells you it’s a brand for the who is who. The GLS Maybach marks its presence and impresses its occupants by its flair, not its subtlety. There is no way you will mistake it for anything else on the road or miss noticing it at all. It is large, loud and proud. Even the interiors are draped in a luxurious dual-tone scheme. By changing the character of this particular Maybach, Mercedes is targeting a very different audience.

The GLS Maybach is for the classy baller who marks his/her arrival with gold chains and an entourage if it were in the USA or the rapper’s world. But it will appeal to the young CEO who knows what time it is. It will appeal the rich who enjoy the finer things of life swathed with modernity. That is the GLS Maybach’s forte, being noticed that is.
DRIVEtorque believes it will do well in Zimbabwe.

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