Mercedes-Benz showed a uniquely designed top-end Maybach EV concept at Auto China 2018 in Beijing, combining elements of a sedan and SUV, the high-riding vehicle looking like a SUV from the front and a notchback sedan from the rear. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury was conceived as an electric vehicle with four electric motors for fully variable all-wheel drive.
“The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is a totally new archetype of a kind never seen before," said Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. “Our concept combines the DNA of an SUV with that of a sedan to produce an ultra-modern SUV of three-box design.” The design task was to transfer the familiar three-box design—hood, passenger compartment, and trunk—to an SUV-like architecture.
The new vehicle carries on a vehicle theme and size set by recent concept cars from brand such as the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Coupe (Pebble Beach, 2016) and Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet (Pebble Beach, 2017). The generously dimensioned Beijing concept is 207 in (5257 mm) long, 83 in (2108 mm) wide, and 70 in (1778 mm) tall, with a long (unspecified) wheelbase, short rear overhangs, and 24-inch turbine-look wheels.
The front end has a chrome-plated radiator grille with fine vertical bars lifted from the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 coupe concept and used in the latest Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. A continuous trim strip extends from the split hood across the roof to the rear end. Truncated running boards, machined from aluminum, are illuminated in white with a Maybach logo. Electrically extending door handles are flush with the sides. At the rear end, the three-part tail lamps echo the front headlamp design and the rear window is split vertically.
The concept is intended primarily for chauffeur-driven use, so its interior design is strongly focused on the rear passengers. The driver's area and cockpit are reduced to the essentials, with air vents, which reflect the design of the radiator grille, surround a free-standing Widescreen Cockpit with double 12.3-in displays. Wave-like, flowing lines of light are integrated into the wood side surfaces from front to rear. The wide center console that extends to the rear is equipped with a heated tray with teapot and cups, the tea service integrated into a sculpted wooden tray made of ebony known as Magic Wood.
Like a butler, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury acts with anticipation, instead of offering long menus and lists. The vehicle plays music to match the current mood, knows the appointment calendar and plans the routes accordingly. Lifted from the S-Class is the Energizing Comfort feature with systems such as massage, fragrance, light, and music combined to regenerate and improve concentration.
A highlight of the user experience is a comprehensive touch control concept, which combines touchscreen, touchpad on the center console, and touch control buttons on the steering wheel. The control concept of the free-standing Widescreen Cockpit comprises three levels with rising information density: home screen, base screen, and a submenu. The voice control adjusts to the user's voice and adapts to new words or changed use of language.
The electric powertrain’s four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors produce 550 kW. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). A flat underfloor battery pack has a capacity of around 80 kW·h for a range of over 200 mi (320 km), or 500 km (310 mi) according to the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). A fast-charging function using direct current based on the CCS standard allows a charging capacity of up to 350 kW, which can be good for up to 60 mi (97 km) in just 5 min. The battery can be charged by cable at public charging stations and conventional domestic outlets or by contactless induction transmitted by an electromagnetic field below the car.