MAYBACH’S PREMIER LARGE BARGE
We were expecting Mercedes to build a direct rival to the Bentley Bentayga, RollsRoyce Cullinan and upcoming BMW X7, but we thought it would simply be a rebadged Maybach GLS.
Mercedes relaunched Maybach in 2015 to serve as a sub-brand in the range. Like AMG is linked to performance, the Maybach name is meant to be the very last word in luxury.
Instead of adding an additional layer of luxury to the already opulent GLS, Mercedes seems to be developing an entirely new car. It’s still in the concept phase, however, and is currently called the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury.
The Vision is a striking vehicle, thanks to design language carried over from Maybach’s long history. It’s extravagant, majestic and sporty. Like an S-Class that’s been sent to the gym after it spent six months in butler training.
Being the ultimate expression of luxury, the interior obviously matters. Interior colours are a mix of rose gold, crystal white and pearl grey. Mercedes doesn’t state exactly what materials were used but it’s safe to assume the leather hide isn’t simply from some cow it picked up on the outskirts of Stuttgart.
Mercedes makes no secret that the Vision is all about being driven. The driver’s area is actually relatively plain, as it features only the bare necessities like air vents, a fancy steering wheel and a widescreen cockpit display.
The fanciest toys are to be found in the back. The seats are equipped with the kind of adjustment and support only found on cars where the retail price is given on application. They recline, have extra-soft knee cushions and are shod in crystal white nappa leather.
The rear centre console is equipped with a heated tray with a teapot and cups. The tea tray is made of the finest ebony and it retracts at the touch of a button.
It can also apparently sense your mood, knows what appointments you have to attend on any given day and will accommodate the driving experience accordingly. Unlike every other luxury barge, the Vision has almost no buttons, touchscreen with sub-menus and the like. It only wants to offer you an agreeable playlist while serving you any one of the various flavours of tea.
It’s also a fully electric vehicle, with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors, one for each wheel. It offers fully variable all-wheel drive, which makes sense considering that it has 550kW of electrifying power on tap. Top speed is limited to 250km/h to avoid any tea spilling and Mercedes claims it has a driving range of over 500km.