Mercedes-Benz’s up-market Maybach sub-brand has made public its plans to add a new SUV model to its line-up with the unveiling of the Vision Ultimate Luxury concept at a media presentation on the eve of the 2018 Beijing motor show in China.
The new leather-lined concept, which Mercedes-Benz’s chief design officer Gorden Wagener says has been conceived to underscore the position of Maybach as an ultimate luxury brand, combines the high-riding characteristics of a modern-day SUV with the three-box silhouette of a traditional sedan to create a roomy and luxurious four-seater featuring a flamboyant combination of Western and Eastern design flourishes.
While the smooth surfaced Vision Ultimate Luxury is unlikely to see production in the form shown in Beijing, various elements of its exterior design, including its bold chromed grille, are expected to be seen on a new Mercedes-Maybach production model based on the third-generation GLS as a rival to the Bentley Bentayga and upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
The production version of Mercedes-Maybach’s first SUV will also forgo the sedan style rear end and split rear window design of the Vision Ultimate Luxury for a more conventional upright tailgate similar to today’s second-generation GLS.
Mercedes-Benz officials have also indicated to Drive that certain cues, including the heavily chromed side window graphic and C-pillar design, could ultimately influence the design of the next-generation S-class.
At 5260mm in length, 2110mm in width and 1764mm in height, the latest in a trio of Maybach concepts is 130mm longer, 180mm wider and 86mm lower than the existing second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS.
By comparison, the Bentley Bentayga measures 5140mm in length, 2000mm in width and 1740mm in height.
As with certain elements within its exterior, the dimensions of the new concept are claimed to mirror those of the upcoming production version of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS planned for launch in 2019.
Inside, Mercedes-Maybach has left no leaf unturned in its bid to provide the Vision Ultimate Luxury with the sort of sumptuous features to take on the Bentayga in a lavish leather-lined cabin boasting an extravagant combination of fine leather, wood and rose gold.
The new Mercedes-Maybach concept, which rides on 24-inch wheels, has been conceived to run a pure electric powertrain. In a set-up similar to Mercedes-Benz’s earlier SLS Electric Drive, it uses a quartet of electric motors – one acting on each individual wheel to provide fully variable four-wheel drive. The combined output of the electric motors is put at 550kW.
Energy used to power the motors is stored in a battery housed entirely within the new crossover’s flat floor structure. With a capacity around 80kWh, it is foreseen to provide the plush new Maybach with a range of over 500km and an electronically limited 250km/h top speed.
Charging is via a DC system that allows a charging capacity of up to 350kW. Mercedes-Maybach claims five minutes of charging provides sufficient energy for 100km/h of range. Alternatively, the Ultimate Luxury concept can be charged at public charging stations, on conventional mains power and inductively through a contactless charging plate.
Although Mercedes-Benz officials refused to be drawn on the plans for the new powertrain, suggestions are it could form the basis of a new pure electric EQ S saloon model confirmed for production by the German car maker's chairman, Dieter Zetsche, as part of an extended family of zero-emission EQ models at the recent launch of the new fourth-generation A-class in Croatia.
Mercedes-Maybach currently offers one model in the form of the S560 4Matic.
The Vision Ultimate Luxury is the third concept car to be shown by Mercedes-Maybach in recent years, following on from the earlier Vision 6 Coupe and Vision 6 Cabriolet revealed at the 2016 and 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance respectively.
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