*See photos below
Mercedes-Benz presented its Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury vehicle at Auto China 2018. The high-end sedan-SUV crossover is an electric vehicle with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors and fully variable all-wheel drive.
The show car merges Western and Far Eastern influences to deliver an appealing automotive cultural dialogue, according to the company. For instance, use is made of Magic Wood ebony, which is traditional in Chinese furniture design. The same motif is also underlined by the combination of SUV and notchback sedan, which are the most successful body styles not only internationally, but especially on the Chinese market.
Smooth, extravagant surfaces with no beads or sharp edges create an image of sporty elegance, according to the company.
The front end is accentuated by a chrome-plated radiator grille with fine vertical bars in the style of a pinstripe suit. The new grille design celebrated its world premiere in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 in 2016. It also inspired the latest reinterpretation for the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
In combination with the low-profile front headlamps with three lamp units, the grille dominates the front view of the vehicle while emphasizing its brand affiliation. The large air inlets along with the horizontal air inlet with integral chrome blades underline the sportiness of the SUV sedan while lending it a dynamic look. The air inlets are crossed by the brand's typical honeycomb pattern. A continuous trim strip extends from the split bonnet across the roof through to the rear end.
Unlike a conventional sedan, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury offers a significantly higher, SUV-typical seating position. This addresses the desire of many customers for a feeling of protection and security—a challenge for the designers—according to the company. Ultimately, the task was to transform the familiar three-box design—hood, passenger compartment and trunk—into an SUV-like architecture and produce an interesting tension between the poles of sportiness and Mercedes-Maybach luxury.
The upright C-pillar, long, gently forward-sloping hood and compact notchback dominate the side view. The muscular volume of the flank is accentuated by a long wheelbase and short rear overhangs. The overall appearance is rounded off by 24-inch turbine-look wheels.
Truncated running boards in machined aluminum are integrated in the lower door area. They are illuminated in white and bear the Maybach logo. The overall vehicle is accentuated by chrome trim above the running boards as well as in the lower area of the front and rear ends. The electrically extending door handles are flush with the sides.
At the rear end, the three-part lamps are reminiscent of the design of the front headlamps. Situated above them is the visually vertically split rear window. Another feature is the modelled underride guard with diffuser look. It, too, is permeated by the Maybach pattern from the front end.
The goal of the interior designers was to provide echoes of the series-produced vehicles while transporting them into an unprecedented world of luxury, according to the company. The colors employed are typical of the brand, such as rose gold, crystal white and pearl grey. Flowing forms, delicate fabrics and aluminum parts create a contrast between the sportily elegant details of an SUV and the lightness of a sedan.
As in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the seats of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury have adjustment kinematics. Unlike in a conventional sedan, the backrest is adjusted separately while the footwell and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be adjusted separately, while the seat angle and height adjustment are combined. Knee cushions afford protection and comfort. The reclining seats feature a calf support, which is freely adjustable for length and angle. The crystal white Nappa leather seats are enhanced by diamond stitching in rose gold.
The wide center console extends through to the rear. It is equipped with a heated tray with teapot and cups.
The tea service is integrated into a sculpted wooden tray made of ebony, known as Magic Wood. At the press of a button, the handmade china service can be electrically retracted into the console under a sliding cover finished in high-gloss black.
The driver's area and cockpit are reduced to essentials. Air vents, which reflect the design of the radiator grille, surround the free-standing Widescreen Cockpit with double 12.3-inch displays. The feeling of spaciousness is further enhanced by the light, contrasting bottom part of the instrument panel as well as by the reduced height of the dashboard. To emphasize the visual lightness, the rose gold frame of the front seats is open, exposing the white leather to view.
The instrument panel features the color crystal white, the finest Nappa leather and a sensual shade of brown that features a light metallic finish. Gleaming surfaces in polished aluminum generate reflections and mirror the rose gold-coated seats.
The car was created entirely in a 3D real-time graphic environment. Like a butler, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury acts with anticipation, instead of offering long menus and lists. The vehicle plays music to match the current mood, and it knows the user’s appointment calendar and plans routes accordingly. In the rear, various flavors of tea and relaxation programs are offered, depending on who the rear passenger is.
The familiar ENERGIZING Comfort has been carried over from the S-Class. Systems such as massage, fragrance, light and music are combined, helping to regenerate and improve concentration, according to the company. This holistic comfort and infotainment system can be individually programmed and adapted.
The highlight of the Mercedes-Benz user experience in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is the comprehensive touch control concept—a combination of touchscreens, a touchpad on the center console and Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel. Alongside the intuitive control experience, reduced driver distraction is a further advantage.
The control concept of the free-standing Widescreen Cockpit comprises three levels with rising information density: home screen, base screen and a submenu. The voice control adjusts to the user's voice and adapts new vogue words or changed use of language. In addition, the system does not employ stereotypical responses, but uses interactive variation.
On the aesthetic front, it is based on the traditional Chinese ink painting style with its simplicity, white surfaces and balanced proportions.
Powertrain and Suspension
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is an electric car. Four compact, permanent-magnet synchronous motors allow fully variable all-wheel drive. The output from the powertrain is 750 horsepower. The flat underfloor battery has a usable capacity of around 80 kWh, producing a range of over 200 miles. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
The vehicle also has a fast charging function. With DC charging based on the CCS standard, the system allows a charging capacity of up to 350 kW. In just five minutes, enough power can be charged to achieve an additional range of around 60 miles.
The battery can be charged by cable at public charging stations and conventional domestic socket outlets, or by induction, in which the charging current is transmitted contact-free by an electromagnetic field below the car.
Visionary Show Cars
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury represents a continuation of the series of visionary design show cars from Mercedes-Benz, according to the company. The series so far includes the Vision EnerG-Force (Los Angeles, November 2012), AMG Vision Gran Turismo (Sunnyvale, 2013), Vision Tokyo (Tokyo, 2015), Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Coupe (Pebble Beach, 2016) and Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet (Pebble Beach, 2017). Thanks to the global footprint of Mercedes-Benz Design, these concept vehicles take their cue from local trends in design, culture and mobility while making them the focal point of the respective mobility concept.
Mercedes-Maybach stands for the ultimate in exclusivity and individuality. Target consumers include customers who place value on exquisite luxury, perfect craftsmanship and exceptional appointments, according to the company. The current Maybach lineup includes the Mercedes-Maybach S 560 4MATIC and Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Sedan. The top model from the brand is the Pullman, with vis-à-vis seating layout behind the partition (not available in the U.S.). With a length of 6.50 meters, the Pullman is the longest model of the S-Class family.