THIS is now the new toy for the big boys in town. Those in the motoring circle will know that once the rich and the famous start buying a particular brand, they will not stop.
They will outdo each other as they flex their financial muscles. There has been an upsurge of special orders of the Maybach brand over the past year through the country’s only Mercedes Benz dealership Zimoco.
Maybach is a direct rival to Rolls Royce and Bentley.
Maybach is a German luxury car brand that exists today as a part of Mercedes-Benz. The original company was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach and his son, originally as a subsidiary of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH, and it was known as Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH until 1999.
As of 2021, Daimler produces an ultra-luxury edition of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class under the Mercedes-Maybach name. The brand is now on the rise as the rich and the famous look for something that is not Rolls Royce or Bentley.
These are well appointed cars. Everything is perfectly matched and put together in an expensive and exquisite manner. Now you know why Phillip Chiyangwa took delivery of one on Tuesday this week.
He is a man who knows his cars. He loves luxurious powerful cars. He loves to be different. Most of all he loves to be among the first. He bought the flagship SUV from Zimoco, the Maybach GLS 600.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 has been priced at around US$350 000. It is the first SUV from the brand to get the 3-pointed star on the hood. Executive bench seats on 2nd row get 93 mms more space than GLS. Maybach GLS 600 is equipped with air suspension for maximum ride comfort.
It is a car that offers the luxury of the S-class, the muscle of the GLS and of course the opulence of the Maybach brand. No wonder within no time, it has become the chosen set of wheels of the rich and famous here in Zimbabwe.
The all-new Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 aims to be a perfect example of a car that offers great luxury while still keeping the prices in check. It made its global debut towards the end of 2020 and by 2021 it had started coming into Zimbabwe.
On the exterior, there is enough for you to differentiate this car with the Mercedes-Benz GLS, on which it is based. Apart from Maybach branding all over, this is also the first SUV from the brand to get the 3- pointed star on the hood. It is also 15 mm higher and 31 mm wider primarily because of the big 22-inch wheels it comes with.
There is extensive use of chrome on the grille on the huge number of vertical slats. Same is the case with the chrome inserts on the skid plate as well.
The SUV also gets LED headlamps and adaptive LED tail lamps, which add some more character. There is more chrome on the profile especially on the B-pillar, which is really likeable.
Maybach GLS 600 is all beauty inside. One of those cars that you are even scared to touch the insides lest you dirt the Nappa leather upholstery. There is an auto-retracting footboard here which pops out the moment you open the door.
You get executive bench seats. Compared to the GLS there is 93 mms more space on offer. Chiyangwa’s Maybach that I saw came with Nappa leather upholstery in a combination of mahogany brown and macchiato beige. There are also other options to choose from.
Everything that contributes to providing more luxury is provided on the second row. The seats recline by almost 45 degrees and they can be adjusted in multiple ways to give you maximum comfort including giving you a foot rest.
There is an integrated tablet in the centre armrest through which you can control multiple functions in the car. There is also a wireless charger here and the seats provide ventilation as well as a massage function.
On the front row, two 12.3-inch screens catch your attention and the car is equipped with the latest MBUX infotainment system with the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command system and Mercedes Me connected car technology.
Then there is a high-performance 13-speaker 590-watt Burmester sound system, which can be fine-tuned for each seat. In all there are 7 type-C charging ports in the cabin. There are many Maybach insignia all over including on the pedals which is a nice touch. Rounding off a luxurious cabin is a huge panoramic sunroof, 64 colour ambient lighting and head up display which is optional.
Under the hood of the Maybach GLS 600 is an AMG derived 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo petrol engine that churns out 400kW and 730 Nm, while being mated to a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission.
The engine is coupled with a 48-volt EQ boost system, which offers an additional 250 Nm of torque and 15kW when needed. It clocks triple-digit speeds in just 4.9 seconds which is impressive for an SUV that weighs over 3200 kgs, and its top-speed in limited at 250 kmph.
These massive figures mean that this beast is more than eager to perform, or over perform. Sometimes you are caught by surprise just how quick is this setup to respond despite the massive weight it is carrying.
The gearbox is absolutely smooth and fits in nicely in this enthusiastic setup. The sound insulation of the acoustic comfort package significantly reduces disruptive exterior noise and you can barely hear any unwanted noise inside the cabin.
The SUV is equipped with a sensor system, which is programmed to set the dampers, according to the quality of the road ahead in a bid to ensure that the cabin is at its stable best even on bumpy terrains.
The undulation faced by any one wheel is not transferred to the axle and therefore the cabin. And if you want the best ride quality, then switch to the Maybach drive mode where the ride becomes softer and the throttle response is not very enthusiastic.
Now a car this big, tall surely there has to be somebody to roll here. Well not really if you switch to the Curve mode on the Maybach GLS 600. 3 lean levels of this mode limit body roll even while taking corners at decent speeds. In fact, the mode uses the air suspension to in fact, actively lean into corners almost making you forget that you are sitting in such a tall car.
Then there is the E-active body control suspension where the purpose is to get you out of low grip surfaces like sand or mud. Once the system is active the air suspension starts pumping and tyre pressure is also altered to provide better grip.
It is actually quite a sight as the car moves without moving and you can check it out in your video review. Using individual wheel control in the off-road assist, you can also change the height of individual ride height of the wheels.
In terms of safety, the SUV is equipped with driving assistance package which includes Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist, and Active Steering Assist. It also gets 8 airbags, adaptive high beam assist plus, tyre pressure monitoring system, parking package with 360-degree camera, downhill speed regulation and attention assist.
This car is truly the quintessence of exclusive luxury in every possible way.