Apparently the ultra-luxury Bentley Bentayga SUV is making Mercedes-Benz a little jealous. In an interview with Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz U.S. sales chief Steve Cannon hinted at plans to introduce an equally decadent and high-end SUV, albeit under the Maybach banner.
“There’s just an almost unending appetite for SUVs, and luxury SUVs are proving that,” Cannon told AN at the Frankfurt auto show. “When we get to that point that we expand the Maybach offering — and we will expand the Maybach offering — that would be a natural place to go.”
Cannon is right to be looking in that direction, considering how successfully Mercedes-Benz already sells heavily loaded GL-Class and G-Class SUVs, especially in high-performance AMG trim. The Bentley Bentayga, with its interior outfitted in extravagant layers of choice leather and fine wood, will start at over $200,000 when it goes on sale in mid-2016.
Mercedes once prepared a lavish one-off Maybach version of the GL-Class SUV (pictured at top) in 2009, but the project never came to fruition once the Maybach brand was shuttered in the wake of the global financial crisis. Now that the demand is back for ultra-luxury vehicles and Maybach is back in business, the time is looking ripe to grow its lineup to include a mega-SUV with a luxury quotient high enough to match its generous margins for Mercedes-Benz.
Maybach’s recent return to form comes courtesy of the S-Class-derived Mercedes-Maybach S600. For $192,025 to start, the S600 comes with a stout turbo V-12 making 523 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque, as well as a stunning interior that includes rear-seat captain’s chairs more elegant than anything you’ll find outside of a private jet.
When the Mercedes-Maybach SUV eventually begins production, it will most likely be based on the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, which will be a refreshed version of the existing GL-Class. The GLS will be built at Benz’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant.
Look for more on the upcoming Mercedes-Maybach SUV over the next year.