Mercedes is taking crossover to a new level with the introduction of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury show car, combining the utility-vehicle stance with a sedan’s notchback design in a presentation.
Mercedes says the design combines the comfort and strength of both models (such as the utility’s command of the road seating and athletic looks) while keeping the brand’s traditional styling cues (though you’d be hard-pressed to notice them, outside of the 3-pointed star).
Like many of today’s show debuts, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is conceived as an electric vehicle, using four permanent magnet motors (one at each wheel for a total output of 550 kW) to deliver fully-variable all-wheel drive. The 80-kWh lithium-ion battery resides under the floor, offering up 500 km of range (with fast charging able to add 20 km per minute of charging, and capable of being charged wirelessly).
“The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is a totally new archetype of a kind never seen before,” says Gorden Wagener, Daimler’s Chief Design Officer. “Our concept combines the DNA of an SUV with that of a sedan to produce an ultra- modern SUV of 3-box design. With sensual and pure sophistication, we have created a timeless vehicle that underscores the position of Mercedes-Maybach as the ultimate luxury brand.”
Debuting at Auto China 2018 in Beijing, the concept merges cultural influences from Western and Far-Eastern hemispheres, such as “Magic Wood” ebony traditionally used in Chinese furniture.
There is no denying the odd-looking exterior cuts an elegant swath, with its waterfall grille (reportedly meant to convey the style of a pinstripe suit), low-profile 3-lamp headlamps, and large honeycomb-faced air inlets to underline sportiness. The exterior is devoid of character lines, with the sole examples being a chrome stripe just below the window line and a longitudinal “spine” stretching from the grille, over the roof (splitting the glass roof and the rear window in two) to the decklid trailing edge.
The sport-utility muscularity is emphasized with a long wheelbase, short overhangs, slab-sided doors with flush door-handles that extend electrically when needed) and 24-inch wheels, connected by machined aluminum running boards.
The interior is a blend of sportiness, elegance and modernity, with extensive use of exclusive materials. Contrasting colours further convey sophistication and are presented in traditional Maybach hues — rose gold seat frames and crystal white diamond-stitched Nappa leather, for example.
Particular attention is paid to rear-seat occupants, since the car is envisioned to be primarily chauffeur-driven. Hence, the cockpit is stripped down to the essentials with the most prominent features being dual 12-inch displays (the left performing as the instrument cluster). Most controls are touch activated — touchscreen, touchpad and touch-control buttons — with voice controls also in the mix.
The full length centre console features a retractable warming tray in the rear with teapot and cups, perfect for serving tea during the commute to bring “body and mind into balance while discovering the path to inner calm and vitality.”
And because it’s meant as a chauffeured driver, it’s thoroughly connected to allow the chauffeured to keep up with work, market reports and busy schedules. It knows owners’ appointment calendars, plans their routes, and even plays music to match the current mood. Systems such as massage, fragrance, light and music combine to generate a calming atmosphere.