Mercedes-Benz Considering Maybach, Smart SUV Variants
Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche has said the brand is considering a Maybach and a Smart SUV for the future, according to Autocar. The utility vehicles, which would obviously occupy the opposite ends of the SUV spectrum, would be based on the company’s other models. A new Mercedes-Maybach SUV would likely be based on Benz’s GLS SUV, the fullsize vehicle that will replace the GL in the company’s lineup, while a Smart would take its platform from the unique new Forfour city car.
The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will follow the Maybach S-Class’ example with an ultra-luxurious interior and Double-M–specific powertrains. The obvious choice for the GLS would be a version of Mercedes’ 6.0L biturbo V-12 engine, which produces 523 hp in the Maybach S600, although Autocar postulates that the standard GLS’ 4.0L biturbo V-8 could be used in the Maybach as a way of avoiding the tax that some markets place on cars with higher engine displacements. Either way, with Mercedes-AMG covering high performance, expect the Maybach GLS to be ultraluxurious and not overtly sporty, more a competitor for the Range Rover SVAutobiography and Bentley Bentayga than the Lamborghini Urus.
Zetsche also said that if the company was to expand Smart’s offerings outside the current line of city cars, a small crossover would be the best choice. Based on the rear-engine, rear-drive platform of the Smart Forfour and Renault Twingo (shown here), a Smart SUV would be undoubtedly unique. But as Autocar reports, it would give the company yet another product to offer on that platform to make its economies of scale more favorable, particularly since city-friendly crossovers are extremely popular worldwide.
Will we see a Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 or a Smart ForCross on our shores any time soon? The standard GLS isn’t due until 2017, but when it does arrive, the Maybach version will almost certainly be earmarked for U.S. consumption. However, only the two-seat smart fortwo is sold in America, likely eliminating the possibility of the Forfour-based SUV. Still, stranger things have happened.