Is Merc planning a Maybach SUV?
Fancy the idea of a big, luxury Mercedes-Maybach SUV? Well, you might be in luck, oh discerning Middle Eastern oil baron!
Speaking to TopGear.com, the vice president of the firm’s SUV and sports car division said a yet-posher Merc 4x4 is under consideration.
Wolf Dieter-Kurz, talking at this year’s New York Motor Show, told TG that though MB hasn’t decided on an SUV as the next Maybach in the line-up, it’s definitely a possibility.
“There are several [Maybach] options within the Mercedes portfolio,” he said, “it’s just obviously a question of which one comes first.”
When it appears, such a Maybach could also be offered as a hybrid, too, following in the footsteps of the GLE 500e launched at New York; a car that essentially uses the S-Class hybrid’s drivetrain. “This is always an option,” says Dieter-Kurz. “We see the hybrid models as a growing part of the segment overall,” he added.
In fact, Mercedes is promising ten new plug-in hybrids by 2017 across the entire range. And a potential fully electric SUV at some point in the future, too. “There are other brands talking about electric SUVS,” he said, “so we’re keeping an eye on that, but if you’re looking at the future of electric vehicles, you have to look at your entire portfolio.”
Ah yes, the portfolio - if you’re still confused by the new nomenclature, Kurz explains it all.
“The ‘GL’ nomenclature we use for all the SUVs [GLS, GLA, and the new GLE - which replaces the ML], the other is the ‘SL’ nomenclature for SL and SLK [later turning into the SLC], while the third one is ‘CL’, for the CLS and CLA,” he said. So that’s all clear, then.
So, the new GLE is the car formerly known as the ML, here unveiled at the New York Motor Show as a facelifted model. “The front bumper, bonnet, wings, and lights are completely new,” he told us. “The rear is also new, we further refined the suspension and the steering to make it more direct, with less body roll, than its predecessor.”
Dieter-Kurz also hinted that a self-driving Mercedes SUV might not be too far away. “We still have a way to go with autonomous driving,” he stated, “but if it’s there, it’s technically no issue to put the system into any one of the model range.”