Just when Rolls-Royce must have thought that nobody could possibly ever eclipse the enormous statement of extravagance that is the Cullinan, along comes Mercedes-Benz unveiling a concept car the likes of which the world has never seen. Meet the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, the colossal crossover to end all crossovers, which has just been presented to the public at Auto China 2018 in Beijing.
Rude contemporaries may say the newest Maybach concept car looks like an S-Class on stilts, but the brand prefers to describe the shape of this 5.26m-long and 2.11m-wide rolling hotel as a combination of SUV and notchback sedan elements. There is no denying its imposing appearance, with limousine-like curves sitting atop huge 24-inch wheels, framed by a gleaming chrome-plated radiator grille at the front and a short overhang with S-Classy connotations at the back. A split-type rear window tries to confuse the eye even further by throwing in a touch of retro design, while chrome running boards introduce an almost rugged element to the mix.
Power is not supplied by a mighty 12-cylinder engine as one might expect, but by four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors, making this the most upmarket electric car ever assembled. Total power output stands at 750hp, with the 80kWh underfloor battery pack giving a range of over 500km and an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. Because rich people don’t like to wait overnight at some service station until the battery is fully charged again, the Maybach is fitted with charging technology that allows for a range of 100km to be added in just five minutes using a suitable fast charger.
Knowing full well that such a car is usually driven by a chauffeur and not by the owners themselves, the cockpit has been reduced to the essentials and features an almost minimalist look. Two 12.3-inch displays give the driver all the information he needs, while the lack of a cluttered dashboard definitely adds to the light and airy appearance of the cabin. Whoever is lucky enough to take a seat in the rear of the vehicle can look forward to an experience that makes a normal S-Class look like a common taxicab in comparison.
Just reading the description of the materials used in the interior of this mobile chalet erases any doubts that the German carmaker was extremely serious about producing the most luxurious ride possible. Nappa leather is attached to rose gold-coated seats, which in turn are surrounded by polished aluminum elements and crystal-white cabin panels. The picture of superior sumptuousness is completed by a wide band of ebony—called “Magic Wood”—that takes its origins in Chinese furniture design and runs all around the interior, creating a strong visual contrast to the rest of the space.
Because plush materials alone aren’t enough when you want to build the ultimate embodiment of the good life, Mercedes has also added a number of additional creature comforts aimed at making passengers feel well taken care of. The company claims that the car will anticipate what occupants would like and play music to match their mood, and even serve various flavors of tea to make the rear-seat masters feel totally at ease. Massaging functions in the seats, mood lighting and a fragrance system round out the opulent package.
While the car is officially a one-off concept vehicle, there can be little doubt that Mercedes is using it to gauge interest in a Maybach production SUV. The fact that it contains a number of Chinese design elements and was unveiled in Beijing also gives a strong indication as to where the brand intends to market and sell it. For now, we’ll have to wait and see what the world thinks of this hedonistic concept, and if a high-bodied Maybach will indeed be parked on the marble floors of luxury car dealerships soon.