Maybach G650 Landaulet | Showpiece of the Week

Having been reborn as a thoroughly-modern performance SUV in 2018, the G63 today ranks among the most broadly capable vehicles on sale. For a good long while there, however, Mercedes' G-Wagen was one of the most paradoxical cars available on the new market. Having started life as a utilitarian military machine, it had evolved to become a luxury symbol of wealth and status, and was priced accordingly; beneath the surface, though, very little at all had changed since its introduction.

Over the rough stuff it remained supreme, but its antiquated design was ill suited to the on-road driving it was more often than not required to perform. Vague recirculating ball steering made it difficult to pilot around a corner, let alone thread through a city, while its body-on-frame underpinnings resulted in a what could politely be described as agricultural ride quality. Despite its many flaws, though, G-Class sales continued to increase year-on-year right up until it was replaced, a rare and impressive feat indeed.

But before that replacement came, there was just time for one final swansong. And to appropriately turn the page on the 20th century car, Mercedes pilfered its back catalogue, picking and choosing all of the most desirable features and combining them to create a Now That's What I Call G-Class album of greatest hits.

There was the deep, bassy note of the twin-turbo V12 - borrowed from the G65, it produced a proportionately enormous 630hp and 737lb ft, for a top speed of 144mph. Portal axles, originally devised for the six-wheeled G63 and latterly bolted onto the G500 4x4 squared, were also implemented here, facilitating a doubling of the G650's ride height versus the standard car - to 450mm from 210mm.

Then Maybach was brought in. Between the axles the G650 was 258mm longer than a long-wheelbase S-Class, providing plenty of space to play with. Mercedes' luxury arm wasted no time in doing just that. Replacing the rear third of the car's roof with a power-folding soft top seemed like a reasonable place to start, followed closely by swapping the rear bench for two individual luxury seats from the S-Class Pullman. Lying between them, a 'central business console' featured thermal cup holders, to cool or heat occupants' beverages, while a glass partition - able to be changed from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button - separated the passengers from their chauffeur.

It all made for what must be one of the most opulent four-wheeled experiences ever devised, and was priced accordingly at around Β£500,000. The final example of the 99 cars produced sold at a charity auction for more than double that, however, so how much this week's Showpiece will go for is anyone's guess. The one thing you can be reasonably sure of is that despite representing the zenith of one of the greatest off-roaders of all time, it'll likely rarely leave a garage, let alone the tarmac. What could be showier than that?

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Comments (30) Join the discussion on the forum

  • sidesauce 26 Aug 2019

    So unbelievably over the top but somehow, as someone who doesn't like SUVs, this kind of appeals to me - I'd prefer a G500 4×4² though!

  • RP2000 26 Aug 2019

    Spotted this on the Amalfi coast in May 2017. Looks to be this under development.

  • ducnick 26 Aug 2019

    I wonder what the reserve price is on this.... I suspect it will be a hard sell as the very few people in the market for this sort of thing with silly money at their disposal will want the latest and greatest, not the 'old' model.

  • richinlondon 26 Aug 2019

    Taste and money are often not proportionate

  • scottygib553 26 Aug 2019

    Interestingly it’s the red interior that bothers me the most. The rest is so unapologetic you have to respect it.

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