Mercedes-Maybach Premieres Ultimate Luxury SUV With Perplexing Three-box Design
Mercedes-Maybach gently teased its new “Ultimate Luxury” concept before its official debut at the Beijing Motor Show, but one outlet’s itchy trigger finger resulted in every official image of it being sprayed all over the internet prematurely. The vehicle, dubbed the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury, is incredibly difficult to summarize.
While it’s considered a sport utility vehicle by the manufacturer, the bodywork is so unabashedly sedan-like that it almost seems like a parody of modern crossovers. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 was similarly ridiculous, but that concept coupe was intentionally fantastical. It was a “look what our styling department can do” kind of car, whereas the Ultimate Luxury is something else entirely.
We think it’s the automotive equivalent of when a successful businessman decides to remove his shoes and socks on an airplane — upscale, but disgusting.
Were it simply a sedan, it’d be a passable design. There’s a lot of face, mostly taken up by the signature Maybach grille, but that’s the only aspect that even hints at this creature being intended for an elevated ride height. Otherwise, it looks like someone took a generic concept sedan and chucked on a lift kit.
Details, initially leaked by Car News China, claims that a production version of the vehicle will become available around 2020 and possess a twin-turbo V8 with roughly 500 horsepower. We’ve heard nothing of the sort. In fact, the concept model doesn’t even use a gas engine. Instead, Daimler has outfitted the Maybach-branded crossover with a quartet of electric motors offering a combined output of 738 horsepower. Power is stored inside an 80-kWh battery pack wedged beneath the floor. Range is expected to be 310 miles using the New European Driving Cycle, which is notoriously generous.
Some speculate that the Vision Ultimate Luxury is a way for Mercedes to premiere the Maybach variant of the upcoming GLS. If you’re overwhelmingly worried that this is what it’s going to morph into, do not fret. The camouflaged test vehicles show the new GLS to have a much more boxy and traditional SUV design. That could change for the Maybachs, but we doubt it.
Vision concepts don’t typically reach production, either. Normally, that’s a shame because they’re often incredible designs — we’re looking at you, Mercedes-AMG Vision Gran Turismo.
We think what we have here is a crossover concept, borrowing a bit of styling from the A-Class concept, that Daimler is using to test consumer acceptance of an ultra-rounded SUV. While three-box designs have worked for decades, it’s flat-out weird to see them on an SUV. Ease up Mercedes, we’re not even accustomed to the styling of the BMW X4 yet.
Gregg Mulry on Apr 24, 2018
Anything out of the ordinary tends to gather a lot of hate, or at least be polarizing. Because it has a trunk, rather than a hatchback, it is uglier than things like the Bentayga or the BNW X6? Like it or not, it has presence and integration of form that many other luxury vehicles do not. It combines the stateliness of a sedan with the almost-required-today SUV stance. It could do very well for Maybach in some parts of the world.
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