What is this thing? Mercedes says it’s a crossover based on an exclusive high-end sedan and an SUV. I can kind of take their word for it. I can also say this is a lumpen blunder of the highest order. And given that this thing is enormous – 207 inches, about three-fifths as long as a London bus – this is a huge mistake!
Just to get you up to speed, Maybach, which used to be its own company back in the 1930s, was revived a while back as its own “brand” again by its owner, Mercedes, and then absorbed into Mercedes as sort of an uber-S-Class.
Hold The Subtlety Please
Maybachs are the ultra-glitzy cars just north of the best “normal” Mercedes you can get. The only person I ever heard of buying one of the reconstituted Maybachs was Samuel L. Jackson, which kind of makes sense. I doubt that Mr. Jackson will be buying one of these, however, since he strikes me as a man of taste and bearing, both of which the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury lacks.
Oh, and while I’m here: Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury. I’ve heard more imaginative names for Soviet fishing trawlers.
I guess the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury (snicker) aims to be the nee plus ultra of luxo-crossover-SUVs. It’s as if Merc took one look at the Bentley Bentayga and said, “Halte mein Bier!” This thing is stuffed to the rafters with tech and luxury and it’s the size of a Manhattan apartment. This thing is all about presence. This car exists for the sole reason of letting all the little people know how little they are. This is the car Daisy Buchanan would bounce off Myrtle Wilson’s skull.
At least Mercedes-Maybach dials it back on the interior. Apart from there being lots of everything and even the most meaningless of materials rendered in the highest of quality, the inside is done up in a fairly conventional manner. Merc says the colors employed are “typical of the brand” which means rose gold, crystal white, and pearl grey all over the place. And since the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury (larf) is designed for chauffeur-driven use, things are sharply focused on the rear passengers and their “well-being.”
However, the front seats do have such niceties like the free-standing, Widescreen Cockpit with two 12.3-inch displays. The seats are framed in rose gold and sheathed in crystal white Nappa leather, and the instrument panel is done up in a shade of brown that features a light metallic finish. Lustrous surfaces in polished aluminum are there to “generate exciting reflections.” Like I said, relatively normal but tacky as a 4th rate casino.
Battery & Powertrain
The powertrain is, at least, interesting. Conceived from the ground up as an electric car, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury (chortle) comes with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors, offering fully variable all-wheel drive. The total system output is 750 horsepower. That’s probably just enough, because even though Merc-Bach doesn’t give a figure for this massive beast, you know the all up weight is comparable to a Kriegsmarine mine sweeper.
The battery can be charged by cable at public charging stations, conventional domestic socket outlets or, even more conveniently, via induction: the charging current is transmitted by an electromagnetic field below the car. A fast-charging function, based on the CCS standard, allows a charging capacity of up to 350 kW and can get you enough power to achieve a range of around 60 miles in just five minutes. The battery pack is underneath the floor and has an usable capacity of around 80 kWh, good enough for a range of over 200 miles. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, so that’s fun.
The caveats about the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury (chuckle) are two. First, it’s a show car. So maybe if we, those of us who have eyes, rage loud enough, Merc-Bach will hear our pleas and never, ever produce this thing.
Second, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury (sneer) is made for and will be shown at the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing, which runs through May 4th. Maybe there’s some subtleties about appealing to the nouveau Chinese oligarch set that I’m missing. Maybe this thing will hit the stands and a bunch of well-healed, routinely corrupt autocrats will say “that’s mine!”
Hey, maybe they built that wall 1,300 years ago to keep this thing in.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.