The latest X167 Mercedes-Benz GLS is a hulking SUV that is packed with technology and luxury, but highly affluent buyers might still find it a bit lacking in those departments. To remedy this, the German carmaker will introduce an even more upmarket version of the SUV, marketed as a Mercedes-Maybach model, which has been spied undergoing testing recently.

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS will have no shortage of rivals when it goes on sale, as it competes against other ultra-luxury SUVs like the Range Rover SVAutobiography, Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The company has already confirmed its first SUV model will make its debut in November this year, and this could take place at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.

In terms of design, the Maybach SUV largely retains the GLS’ profile, although there are unique styling cues to make it stand out from the crowd. As you can see, the entire front end is new, and appears “softer” than the GLS with smoother, less angular lines.

The trademark Maybach grille with multiple vertical slats is also clearly on show here, and it is flanked by what appears to be rounder headlamp clusters. Meanwhile, the aggressive lower apron found on the GLS has been toned down significantly here, featuring smaller corner vents and a less protruding chin.

At the rear, the vehicle looks pretty much like a normal GLS, although the taillights are expected to sport different graphics to create distinction. There are also revisions to the exhaust outlets as seen on this test vehicle, and those blacked-out areas will likely get some trim garnishing in its final production form.

Unfortunately, there are no shots of the interior, so the layout of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS remains a mystery for now. Autocar UK reports the SUV will come with four- and five-seat configurations – the GLS has seven seats spread across three row – with the possibility of an extended wheelbase.

The carmaker’s 4.0 litre twin-turbo petrol V8, nine-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive system are likely for the Maybach SUV, with whispers of a 6.0 litre twin-turbo V12 as an option. To ensure the level of comfort expected of a Maybach, Air Body Control air suspension should also be standard fitment here.

It’s not surprise that Mercedes-Benz is expending its flagship Maybach division, and the upcoming GLS-based SUV will join S-Class-based models that are already on sale currently.