At "Auto China 2018" in Beijing this year, Mercedes-Benz rolled out the stunning Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept. The design of the crossover, based on an exclusive high-end sedan and an SUV, follows the philosophy of Sensual Purity.
The show car was designed to combine the comfort and typical strengths of both body styles. It does it pretty well. It certainly has the raised seating position and athletic looks of an SUV.
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is conceived of as an electric vehicle with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors and fully variable all-wheel drive.
The front end is accentuated by the distinctive chrome-plated radiator grille with its fine vertical bars in the style of a pinstripe suit.
The new grille design celebrated its world premiere in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, the exclusive coupé concept car that delighted aficionados and fans of the brand in 2016. It also inspired the latest reinterpretation for the Mercedes-Maybach S‑Class.
Large air inlets along with the horizontal air inlet with integral chrome blades stress 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 hood 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 and therefore a better driving experience. This addresses the desire of many customers for a feeling of protection and security – even though this was said to have been a challenge for the designers.
Ultimately, the task was to harmoniously transfer the familiar three-box design – hood, passenger compartment and trunk – into an SUV-like architecture. This produces an interesting tension between the poles of sportiness and Mercedes-Maybach luxury, and gives the car a very distinctive look that will set it apart from others on the road.
The upright C-pillar, long, gently forward-sloping hood and compact notchback dominate the sporty-but-elegant 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 aluminium are integrated in the lower door area. They are illuminated in white and bear the Maybach logo. The overall vehicle is accentuated by subtle 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 tail lights mirror the design of the front headlamps.
Above them is the vertically split rear window - a stunning feature that hearkens back to earlier Mercedes designs of the 1930s (and one, sadly, that has featured on several concepts of the past, which never seem to make it to production.)
Another striking feature is the modelled underride guard with diffuser look. It, too, is permeated by the Maybach pattern from the front end.
The car was almost obviously designed with the Chinese market in mind. Far more than Western countries, Chinese Elites love to be driven, and this car certainly lends itself to that proclivity.
The interior features a beautiful ebony wood surrounding the entire cabin, which is either extremely beautiful and comforting, or makes it feel as if one is riding inside a piano. The soft leather seats, especially in the rear compartment, are supple and extravagant.
One hopes that this vehicle makes it to the roads in both China and the West in the same basic format. If it does Mercedes will have and it's large and varied lineup one of the most striking vehicles ever produced.