STUTTGART, Germany – It’s a G-Class like never before, according to Mercedes: the G 650 Landaulet described by the automaker as “presenting a new masterpiece of automotive engineering”
It’s a V12 biturbo off-roader that, perhaps, will be laughed at by hard-core bundu-bashers but for some (not) among us it will be a handy ranch vehicle, something with which to tour one’s private game reserve, something for the rich and famous to show off in, say, Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
The open-top G Class (it appears to be the standard Gelandewagen in the metallic equivalent of khakis – wonder if a gun rack is an option?) is the first off-roader from the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. The exceptional G 650 Landaulet follows the equally spectacular variants AMG G 63 6×6 and G 500 4×42.
With its monstrous V12 engine, portal axles, powered fabric top and exclusive equipment in the rearmost compartment it joins other examples of automotive exclusivity from the Maybach brand (if ‘brand’ actually qualifies as an adjective for wheels from the big ‘M’).
‘BACK TO THE BEGINNING…’
If you are The Corner’s only super-rich reader (though we admire your taste in that, at least) get in quick before the oil Arabs snatch them all up: only 99 will be assembled. Why not 100? We neither know nor care…
“The name Maybach dates back to the beginnings of the automobile,” said Dr Jens Thiemer, marketing boss with Mercedes-Benz Cars. “It stands for supreme luxury with tradition and high-tech so in 2015 we took the logical step of opening a new chapter in the luxury class with our Mercedes Maybach sub-brand.
“Since then more than 5000 Mercedes-Maybachs have been produced – one in every 10 S Class units. Now we’re extending the Mercedes-Maybach portfolio to include the world’s most iconic and prestige off-roader.”
It’s the fifth model after the S Class Saloon, Pullman, Cabriolet and Vision 6 show car.
Some specs (bundu-bashers read on…) length 5.345m, wheelbase 3.428m, height 2.235m and ground clearance of more than a half-metre and seating for four people, the G 650 Landaulet surpasses all standards. The driver and front passenger are accommodated under the hard roof, the rear under a retractable cloth top.
Guess you could be practicing the Royal Wave for your loyal subjects… er, staff. BTW, the first vehicle able to raise and lower itself for passengers was a Range Rover for HM Elizabeth II – which, sometimes she drove herself.
2017 MAYBACH AWD LANDAULET: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress
The rear passengers enjoy the majestic open-air experience from their single seats. On demand, an power-operated glass partition can go from transparent to opaque at the press of a button to keep Jeeves out of the conversation.
Those passengers also get a calf rest and, if a kip or massage is desired on a long drive or perhaps post a particularly stressful luncheon,be fully reclined. If awake, there are a large business console, thermal (that means keep hot or keep cool) cupholders and controls for opening or closing the partition.
Two tables fold out. And further forward are three push-buttons for interior lighting or up/downing the roof; the cross-member which hosts the glass partition has two 25cm highres media screen.
Two-tone designo upholstery in one of four trim colours and LANDAULET lettering is worked into the rims of the ceramically polished 22″ spoked alloy wheel rims, between them power steps for elegantly regal access and egress.
‘ENGINE? NAH, ONLY 463kW’
Familiar from the AMG G 63 6×6 and G 500 will be the extra-lift portal axles.
Tyres of size 325/55 are turned by 100% differential locks with low and lower range. Oh year, and by the 463kW / 1000Nm turbo V12.
Like all other variants of the G-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet is not, strictly speaking, German – it’s assembled in Graz, Austria and will be premiered at the March 2017 Geneva auto show ahead of distribution much later in the year.
Not that it will matter a jot to buyers, but fuel consumption is listed as 17 litres/100km while snorting out 397g of carbon every 1000m.
*If you’re a senior member of the ANC or genuinely self-made rich, you can ask Mercedes-Benz what it might cost to import a collectors’ model because they won’t be assembled with right-hand drive.