Zep­pelin on flight of fancy

May­bach looks to the past for some mod­ern in­spi­ra­tion, writes KEVINHEPWORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IF YOU want your limou­sine with the sweet smell of suc­cess and a stonetrimmed in­te­rior there is only one place to look — the May­bach stand at the Geneva Mo­tor Show.

May­bach, the su­per-lux­ury arm of the Mercedes Benz em­pire, has pulled out all the stops to launch an iconic badge from the 1930s — the Zep­pelin, so named be­cause the V12 en­gines from the orig­i­nal car also pow­ered the Ger­man air­ships.

Start­ing at a tick un­der $1 mil­lion, the May­bach Zep­pelin is avail­able in the 57 or long-wheel­base 62 con­fig­u­ra­tions but it will be the rare owner who doesn’t turn their car into a per­sonal state­ment of wealth.

The Zep­pelin is pitched as a car for the con­nois­seur.

Among the

‘‘stan­dard’’

op­tions be­ing of­fered to com­ple­ment the kid-soft leather and pi­ano-lac­quer in­te­rior trim sur­faces are a per­fume atom­iser that uses noth­ing less than pu­ri­fied air to spread the owner’s per­sonal fra­grance through the cabin.

May­bach will sup­ply two be­spoke fra­grances from renowned per­fumer Gi­vau­dan and use an owner’s per­sonal favourite or even de­velop an in­di­vid­ual fra­grance to the owner’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The atom­iser is a mere $5000 or so.

Over-the-top trims have be­come al­most passe at May­bach, where own­ers have in the past had leather trim made from their own herds of favoured cows, wood in­serts from a tree of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance felled on their own prop­erty or in­te­rior bright­work in gold in place of the rather com­mon pol­ished steel.

In the Zep­pelin, for the first time, an owner can have the in­te­rior trimmed in In­dian Star Galaxy gran­ite— and not just flat sur­faces but com­plex curves us­ing a process de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for the car.

In com­mon with ear­lier May­bach mod­els, the Zep­pelin is of­fered with the elec­tro­trans­par­ent panoramic glass roof that changes from trans­par­ent to opaque and back again by pass­ing an elec­tric cur­rent through the liq­uid crys­tal mem­brane.

Un­der the bon­net the 6.0-litre bi-turbo V12 gives the Zep­pelin per­for­mance lev­els to ri­val high-end sports cars. The en­gine’s 471kW and 1000Nm can launch the 57 S from stand-still to 100km/h in 4.9 sec­onds (5.1 for the 62 S) on the way to an elec­tron­i­cally gov­erned top speed of 275km/h (250km/h for the 62 S).

Mercedes Benz Aus­tralia, which sup­plied four May­bachs to Aus­tralian own­ers last year, will be able to sup­ply a Zep­pelin to any ex­tremely well-heeled Aussie in need.

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