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Mercedes-Benz unveil vision of luxury future

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 22 August 2016

MERCEDES-Benz has revealed a stunning interpretation of the traditional luxury car with the flamboyant 550kW electric-powered Vision Maybach 6 – a near-to-six-metre-long gullwing coupe the German car maker says embodies the ultimate in future motoring.

One of the stars of the Monterey Car Week in California, the vast new concept car has been created to pay homage to the extravagantly styled aero coupes of the early 1900s while carrying the tradition of elaborate automotive design forward with a striking combination of exaggerated cab-back proportions, extravagant lines and oversized dimensions that endow it with a truly confident appearance.

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The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 is designed as an electric car. The drive system has an output of 750 hp. The shallow underfloor battery allows a range of over 500 kilometres according to the NEDC.

At the same time, the Maybach 6 also hints at plans by Mercedes-Benz to build on its up-market Maybach range with a new Roll-Royce Wraith rivalling coupe which insiders suggest could be assembled by a new bespoke coach-building operation under consideration as a means of providing customers of some of the company’s more up-market models with greater freedom in customising their cars at factory level.

As befits a car aiming for the very top of the luxury car market, the Maybach 6 sports a self-assured look that is exemplified by its bold chrome grille, which is modelled on those of older Maybach models and features 25 individual vertical struts in what Mercedes-Benz describes as a display of precision assembly.

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Further back, the Maybach 6 receives an extraordinary long bonnet featuring Mercedes-Benz traditional three-pointed-start emblem upon its leading edge and a centre line that runs all the way back to the windscreen. There are also two prominent crease lines that run back over the front fenders to eventually form a subtle shoulder line underneath the glasshouse and back over the rear fenders.

The cabin, set well back within the new concept’s wheelbase, features a heavily rounded turret line and a shallow glasshouse ringed in chromed. Mercedes-Benz’s designers have also provided the new concept car with decadent gullwing style doors that hinge upwards from the roof to provide access to the interior.

As distinctive as the front end is the boat tail rear end of the Maybach 6. Similar in style to that of the Mercedes-Benz’s IAA (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) concept car wheeled out at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, it aims to provide the big coupe with outstanding aerodynamic properties without the need for an additional spoiler while continuing the flow of the body in an exaggerated rear overhang.

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Further emphasising its largeness, the new concept car rolls on distinctive colour keyed 24-inch wheels. A development of the hi-tech rims used by the Mercedes-Benz IAA (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) concept, they feature transparent covers in the same colour as the body to smooth airflow across the large wheelhouses while cleverly accentuating the seven spokes behind it.

The starting point for Mercedes-Benz’s bold new concept is a new electric vehicle platform to be revealed in greater detail at the upcoming Paris motor show. Known internally as the MEA (Modular Electric Architecture) structure, it features a flat floor to house a large battery as well as

As with the equally extravagant Rolls-Royce Vision 100 unveiled in London earlier this year, the Vision Maybach 6 incorporates a luggage compartment underneath its long bonnet in the space traditionally taken up by the combustion engine on more conventional luxury cars. It accepts to two suitcases created exclusively for the new concept car. Mercedes-Benz also says space has also been created for further luggage, such as picnic accessories and smaller personal items.

As well as showcasing the design ideas Mercedes-Benz is considering adopting on future Maybach models, the Vision Maybach 6 also reveals a powerful new electric drive system the German car maker says is “currently under development” for use in a range of upcoming zero-emission models.

Powered by an 80kWh lithium-ion battery mounted within a shallow floor, the big coupe employs a quartet of synchronous electric motors – two up front acting on the front wheels and another pair at the rear acting on the rear wheels – to provide the four-wheel drive concept car with a combined 550kW.

This is 160kW more than the most powerful Mercedes-Maybach model in production today, the twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine powered 600L. It is also just 2kW shy of the Mercedes-Benz’s most powerful electric car to date, the SLS Electric Drive.

Charging is via either conventional plug-in means or an inductive plate that uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy without the need to unravel a cable. A so-called quick charge direct current function that operates at up to 350kW is said to provide sufficient energy in just five minutes of charging time to provide an additional range of around 62 miles, suggesting a full charge could be completed in less than 30 minutes.

In keeping with Mercedes-Benz’s assertion that the new concept looks far into the future, the driver can switch between manual and fully autonomous driving modes. But with the focus of the new concept car revolving very much around its design at its unveiling in Monterey, no further details about its self-driving technology has yet been revealed.

In an attempt to link traditional analogue features from past Maybach models with the digital technology Mercedes-Benz says it is developing for future production cars, the new concept car has been conceived to combine classic circular instruments with needles and deep crystal look displays with a highly contemporary gesture controlled head-up display unit that displays information and other augmented reality functions across the whole of the windscreen.

The Maybach 6 is the second modern day Maybach concept to appear since Mercedes-Benz resurrected the marque in 2002. In 2003, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Exelero, a one-off coupe commissioned by German tyre company Fulda.

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