Mercedes-Benz has wowed the Monterey Car Week crowds with a stunning concept car called the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6. An intentionally far-sighted ‘vision’ into the future, it reveals Mercedes-Benz’ determination for the Maybach brand to become a genuine Rolls-Royce rival with an indulgent super-coupe of its own.
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 is genuinely jaw-dropping. Nobody expected Mercedes-Benz to reveal a concept car like this at Pebble Beach – not least because the Maybach coupe is such a phenomenally lavish and outlandish machine. Its length alone makes it extraordinary: it’s almost six metres nose to tail…
Mercedes-Maybach is adamant it’s not a retro design: instead, the voluptuous lines reference “the glorious age of aero coupes and consciously (carry) this tradition forward into the future”. The ultra-long bonnet, low roofline and rearward-set cabin are classical 1930s design cues, but reinterpreted for the 21st century.
Naturally, being a classic Mercedes-Benz coupe, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 has gullwing doors, “a hallmark Mercedes design element,” says the firm. Take that, Rolls-Royce, with your rear-hinged doors. With one eye on the future, the firm has fitted ultra-slim rear-view mirrors… only they’re not actually mirrors, but cameras pointing backwards. (All we need now is the legislation that would make them legal…)
And if you thought the exterior was amazing… check out this incredible interior, all natural leather, pure elm wood and the most amazing array of ultra-modern digital displays. Incredibly modern yet, somehow, not so far beyond the realms of believability for production, is it? This is intentional…
The twin round dials in front of the driver are classic Mercedes-Benz, says the firm, so they’ve been retained. But the infotainment forms a continuous glass hoop around the cabin, even down to the seat controls on the door. Again, futuristic but production-intent. You’ll also notice it’s a 2+2-seater – the rear seats aren’t as decadent as those in the front (that’s what cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe are for), but they still mean future Maybach coupe owners can take the kids out for a spin.
And what’s this? A steering wheel? Yes, and two pedals. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 has autonomous functionality but it’s still predominately a futuristic concept car to be driven. How refreshing.
Check out those wheels: monster 24-inch rims with aero-style transparent shields. The front wheels will be driven as well as the rear: the electric drivetrain uses four compact motors, one for each wheel, which should easily deploy the 550hp it’s expected to produce (the electric drive system is currently in production-intent development, teases Mercedes-Benz).
The long tail is incredible. The firm calls it a rounded ‘boat tail’, mimicking a luxury yacht (also likely owned by most potential owners). Tail lights are ultra-thin LED strips and the simple chrome feature lone strip running along the side accentuates the simplicity of the lines. Mercedes-Maybach sweated on making the basic shape “aerodynamically intelligent” to ensure the Vision 6 could be as simple and pure.
Note these dual ultra-shallow rear windows, creating a split window design either side of the raised central spine: exquisite detailing indeed. The Mercedes-Benz logo proudly sits in the centre, with Maybach logos on the side quarter panels. If it goes into production, it will indeed be called Mercedes-Maybach rather than simply Maybach.
Elm flooring continues the yachting look inside: Mercedes-Benz says it’s the palest open-pore pure wood it’s currently working on for series production. It doesn’t have seats, but “sitting surfaces”, which are described as having a Chesterfield look and are far posher than boring old car seats. They even have sensors that detect how hot you are and what colour clothes you’re wearing, and alter the interior accordingly. The concept hints at a feature-packed head-up display on the windscreen: expect any production version to have something similar, although perhaps not with this level of detail…
The Vision Maybach-Mercedes 6 will certainly be a high-performance super-posh all-electric coupe. Mercedes-Benz is talking of 0-62mph in less than four seconds and a top speed limited to 155mph; it’ll have a range of 500km (310 miles) according to the European NEDC electric car test cycle, or more than 200 miles when measured on the United States EPA test cycle.
But is it production intent? Almost certainly. Mercedes-Benz has pressed the restart button on the Maybach brand and the models it’s currently producing, including a Maybach version of the S-Class and a new ultra-long Pullman, have been very well received. Now’s the time to take the next step and challenge the Rolls-Royce Phantom with a £300,000-plus super-coupe of its own. It may yet be a few years off, but based on what the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 hints at, we like what we see.
It’s certainly a whole lot more successful than the previous Maybach coupe concept, 2004’s Maybach Exelero. Designed as a one-off for Fulda Tyres, it was created to show off a new generation of ultra-wide tyres and itself was intended to be a modern interpretation of 1930s aero-style streamliner coupes. But…
…As you can see, the heavy, edgy, slab-sided and humongous machine was hardly an aesthetic success. It too is almost six metres long, and looks it: this is Maybach not quite sure what it’s trying to be, something that’s all too clear from this visual mish-mash.
Like with today’s Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, the car above is what the firm was trying to recreate with the Exelero. How on earth did they think they’d cracked it with this monstrosity?
Just look at this. More like a kit car than a hyper-expensive luxury coupe, isn’t it? Go back a few slides and contrast this to the instant beauty of today’s Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6.
It’s similarly epically ugly at the rear. We have no idea what on earth is going on here.
Move on, nothing to see here, other than an S-Class interior that’s been ruined.
You have to wonder if the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 designers had this image on the studio wall when fashioning their beautiful new design. Because the car at the top is also beautiful, and elegant, and pure. The car at the bottom is not.
The Maybach Exelero was later bought by rapper Birdman for a mighty $8 million, and featured by his pal Jay-Z in a video. Sorry, Birdman and Jay-Z, it’s not for us.
This is, though. That’s how you recreate a 1930s streamliner coupe, Mercedes. This is how you make the Maybach brand a genuine Rolls-Royce challenger. You have our vote: over to you to tell us when you’re going to put it into production.
Oh, and if you’re hyper rich and can’t wait for a Mercedes-Maybach to part the crowds, don’t forget you can now buy a 21st century version of the classic 1960s Pullman. It may even be one to buy now anyway, just to guarantee you a place on the order list for the first production-spec Mercedes-Maybach 6…