Rare Rides: The Awfully Expensive Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, From 2018

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today’s Rare Ride joins the exclusive club of ultra-expensive V12 SUVs presented in this series. Thus far, the population was one: the Lamborghini LM002.

Today we take a look at a limited-run SUV that Mercedes made as expensive and gauche as humanly possible.

The long-running G-Class remained in its first generation guise between 1979 and 2018. During its incredibly long tenure, Mercedes-Benz turned the SUV from a bare bones military vehicle into a desirable luxury icon of the rich and famous. It was officially off-limits to the North American customer through the early 2000s, at which point the brass at Mercedes-Benz decided they were tired of grey market importers interfering with their profits. In 2002 the G-Wagen was introduced in the U.S., quickly finding its way into the hands of rap stars and other celebrities.

In-house tuner AMG created high-performance versions of the G-Class, adding their touches for the first time in 1993 with the creation of a 6.0-liter V8 version. The first V12 was shoehorned under the square hood in 2002. That year opened the floodgates for more AMG versions, and eventually led to some unique body styles, as well. All were created in the name of exclusive luxury (and ever-higher MSRPs).

First was the G 63 AMG 6×6, which, as the name suggested, was a longer, six-wheel version of the G-Class with portal axles and extreme off-road capability. Mercedes shifted 100 of them (more than planned) between 2013 and 2015. This sales success was followed up with the G 500 4×4². That wide-track truck used the five-door body from the standard G-Class, along with the shorter wheelbase and portal axles from the 6×6 (with the rear set of wheels removed). It was also a sales success, despite not being an AMG model.

Turning up the wick in 2017, Mercedes decided to apply its luxury Maybach name to a new version of the G: the Landaulet. It returned once more to the 6×6 chassis, but this time removed the middle wheels, leaving the rear ones in place. This created a long-wheelbase limousine. The rear convertible portion was grafted from the existing G-Class cabriolet produced circa 2013, and was electrically operated. Under hood, the Landaulet was powered by a 6.0-liter V12 shared with the standard G 63 AMG, as well as the Maybach S600 sedan. Tuned for maximum power and torque, the bi-turbo 12-cylinder produced 621 horses and a whopping 738 lb-ft of torque.

Inside, Mercedes unleashed its designers to apply fine materials and Designo labels wherever possible. A center console was installed behind the front seats, and included television screens and a glass partition — the Landaulet was intended as a chauffeured vehicle. Said glass partition turned opaque at the touch of a button, should one not want to be visible to their chauffeur while the rest of the world could see them in a convertible. The rear thrones were sourced from a Maybach S-Class, and had proper luxury provenance.

Once all the luxury and exclusivity was piled upon the G-Class Landaulet, the price settled to around $1,000,000 USD. A total of 99 examples were made, completed between 2017 and 2018. To date Mercedes has not followed up with a third heavily-modified G-Class, but perhaps they’ve been busy engineering their first-ever new generation G.

Though only 99 were made, it seems a high number are continually for sale across the globe. Never officially imported into America, there is evidence that one might import one if properly funded paperwork is present. This one’s located in Germany, and asks a cool $1.1 million.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 16 comments
  • La834 La834 on Aug 26, 2020

    Wheels for people with more money than taste....

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Aug 26, 2020

    Does the the gauche apply here? I'd drive a fake Hummer over this, and a fake Hummer will never disgrace my mitts.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.