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For many buyers, the ‘standard’ versions of the BMW X7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS suffice as far as luxury goes. However, some customers want something a bit more luxurious. That’s where the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 and the BMW Alpina XB7 come in. But which one should well-heeled buyers turn to? YouTube team The Straight Pipes decided to take a look.

How much performance do you get with the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 and BMW Alpina XB7?

A dark-green 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 in the desert next to some mountains
2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 | Mercedes-Benz

In terms of on-paper performance, the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 is more in line with the AMG version of the GLS than the Maybach one. That’s because, although the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 has the same basic powertrain as the GLS 63, it’s not quite as potent, MotorTrend reports.

The GLS 600 is motived by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 equipped with a mild-hybrid starter/generator. Together this system makes 550 hp and 538 lb-ft routed through a nine-speed automatic and an AWD system. And with all this, the Maybach SUV goes 0-60 mph in a claimed 4.8 seconds, Autoblog reports.

A blue 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 on a racetrack
2021 BMW Alpina XB7 | BMW

The 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 doesn’t have a mild-hybrid system. But it does have AWD, an eight-speed automatic, and a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 rated at 612 hp and 590 lb-ft. As a result, it goes 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds, Autoblog reports. However, it can ‘only’ tow 7500 pounds, while the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 can tow up to 7700 pounds.

Besides straight-line speed, both of these luxury SUVs have features that serve equally well for handling and comfort. But the only commonality between the two is their adjustable air suspension systems.

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, for example, has ‘E-Active Body Control.’ This uses onboard cameras to sense oncoming imperfections and curves and changes individual shock settings to compensate, Hagerty explains. And it also lets the GLS 600 bounce in Off-Road Mode so it can free itself from soft sand.

Meanwhile, the BMW Alpina XB7 doesn’t have ‘Active Body Control.’ But it does have active anti-roll bars, rear-wheel steering, and Brembo brakes, Car and Driver reports. And unlike the Maybach, the XB7 offers optional performance brake pads, drilled rotors, and summer performance tires.  

What kind of luxury features are available in a $187,200 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 and a $146,300 BMW Alpina XB7?

The black-leather reclining rear seats in a 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600
2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 rear interior | Mercedes-Benz

Performance, though, is arguably of secondary concern to most luxury SUV buyers. It’s material quality and features that matter more here. And both the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 and BMW Alpina XB7 have luxuries to back up their price tags.

Speaking of price, the GLS 600 is the more expensive of the two. It’s actually the most expensive American-made factory SUV, with a starting price of $160,500. And the example in The Straight Pipes’ video stickers at roughly $187,200. Meanwhile, the Alpina XB7 starts at $141,300; the example in the video costs roughly $146,300. However, you’ll have to wait until 2022 to buy one, because the 2021 production run is sold out.

The tan-leather front seats and wood-trimmed dashboard of a 2021 BMW Alpina XB7
2021 BMW Alpina XB7 front interior | BMW

In terms of luxury features, the two SUVs have several things in common. Both offer leather upholstery, rich wood trim, extensive ADAS suites, heated massaging front seats, heated and cooled cupholders, and multiple screens. Plus, both SUVs offer panoramic sunroofs, four-zone automatic climate control, acoustic glass, power sunshades, and soft-close doors.

However, while the BMW Alpina XB7 has one more row of seats than the GLS 600, the Maybach has it beat on additional features. The GLS 600 has standard ventilated front and rear seats; the XB7 doesn’t. The Maybach also has a power liftgate, power-extending running boards, massaging rear seats, and an optional champagne chiller. However, it doesn’t have the XB7’s crystal shifter.

Which is the luxury SUV for you?

Between the two, the 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 is “definitely sportier” than the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, The Straight Pipes reports. From a rolling start, it simply walks past the Maybach. And while it’s for sure not an X7 M, the XB7 is stable in sweeping corners without sacrificing a comfortable ride, Road & Track and Roadshow report.

However, the GLS 600 is “definitely the more luxurious one of these two,” The Straight Pipes point out. Its cabin is quieter, its ride is even more comfortable, and a more premium-feeling interior. Plus, while it only has two rear seats, they have more in common with first-class airplane seats than car ones, with their foldable trays and removable tablet. Automobile describes the interior as “a mobile office, lounge, and spa.” The only downside is that, unlike the Alpina XB7’s seats, the ones in the GLS 600 don’t fold flat.


Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 2007 BMW Alpina B7

Ultimately, choosing between these two six-figure super-luxury SUVs depends on your priorities. If you value personal comfort above all else, the GLS 600 is the one to get. But if you prefer handling and more passenger seating space, the Alpina is the better buy.

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