Super luxury SUV could give the Bentley Bentayga some headaches

You know the SUV market is alive and healthy when a company that was axed just three years ago and revived last year could now get its own (luxury) family hauler. I am, of course, talking about Maybach and the possibility that Mercedes could finally green light an über luxurious SUV for its premium brand.

Mercedes board member Ola Källenius let the cat out of the bag in a conversation with Top Gear, although he did throw out the nugget of information with a couple of caveats. First, it’s still not an absolute certainty. Second, if Mercedes does give the thumbs up, it’s not going to arrive anytime soon. As it is, Källenius explained, a Maybach SUV isn’t likely to happen if Mercedes tapped into its current platform. It wouldn’t make sense using that because a Maybach SUV would need to be carefully planned if it hopes to make a dent in a market that’s currently populated by the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and Maserati Levante.

The safer bet would be to develop the next-generation platform with the model in mind, something that the German automaker is unlikely to rush just so it can accommodate the model. While that’s a little disappointing, those who have been eagerly waiting for a Maybach SUV aren’t going to sweat the specifics if it means that there’s renewed consideration for the model.

The good news is that it’s back on the table and that the growing clout of the premium SUV market means that Mercedes won’t be too quick to dismiss the model the way it did in the past. So cross your fingers that the decision-makers over at Stuttgart will consider the benefits of having a Maybach SUV on the market. At the very least, having that model means that Mercedes will have a presence in what is fast becoming one of the most competitive segments in the business.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

As much as I want to get excited about a Maybach SUV hitting the market, I’ve been around this merry-go-round before and every time, the ride prematurely stops. So yes, I am a little skeptical about it, but I will admit that if there was ever a time for Mercedes to finally make this dive, now – or in the future – this would be it.

Here’s why: the SUV market as a whole is already one of the biggest and most lucrative segments in the auto industry. That includes the premium SUV market, which has been inundated with new models left and right in the past few years. It’s not just the Bentayga and the Levante. The Lamborghini Urus is currently under development. Same thing with Aston Martin, which is currently working on not one but two entrants – the Lagonda and the DBX – into this segment. Oh, and let’s not forget about Rolls-Royce and its Project Cullinan. Premium luxury brands looking into SUVs isn’t a myth anymore and Mercedes, for all of its starts and stops in the past, would be smart to at least consider the possibility of joining in on the fun with a Maybach SUV.

It can point to the skyrocketing popularity of the SUV market to justify its decision, or it can just look at its own models. The S-Class, the German automaker’s flagship luxury sedan, is exceeding sales expectations, proving that deep-pocketed buyers are more than willing to fork down the money it takes to buy them. If a Maybach SUV hits the market, it’s going to attract a lot of attention, now more than ever.

It’s only natural for the Silver Arrow to take a look inside the curtain to see what it has with a Maybach SUV. I can’t speak for some people, but I do know that there is a significant population that’ll want to see this model come to life. I count myself as one of them, and hopefully Mercedes delivers the goods this time around.

2018 Mercedes-Maybach GLS

2018 Mercedes-Maybach GLS Exclusive Renderings
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Maybach GLS here.

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