More often than not, automakers throw out concepts as thinly veiled previews of cars arriving in the next year. There’s a bit of that in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept, but the rest of it is a wild departure from the norm. It might not be for everyone (or most people), but its daring design deserves recognition.

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept debuted today at the Auto China show in Beijing. One quick look at the Ultimate Luxury concept’s side profile is all you need to realize this isn’t just another SUV. Instead of a traditional bulky SUV rear end, which would match the rest of the concept, Maybach grafted on the rear end of a sedan. The result is like nothing before it. It’s weird as hell, but weirdness deserves its place in a concept car.

It might be ugly, but it’s something we haven’t seen before, and it embodies the idea that concepts should be out there. Credit where it’s due.


Mercedes-Benz

The interesting design bits don’t end there. The grille is a throwback to the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 super-coupe concept. The sunroof runs the length of the vehicle, but it’s split into separate left and right pieces, like two piggy banks next to one another. The front air dam has a bunch of little Maybach logos in it. Some people claim the next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV will draw some of its inspiration from this car. Let’s hope that’s true, just with more usable cargo space, maybe.

The Maybach’s exterior might be polarizing, but the interior is straight-up regal. The interior is covered in what appears to be the smoothest leather known to man. The seats carry a fine quilted pattern. Wood trim with embedded LED lighting swings from the dashboard all the way to the back seats and beyond. There are only four seats, the backs of which are adorned in rose gold like everyone’s favorite iPhone. There’s a freakin’ tea set built into the long center console, and its tray is referred to as “Magic Wood.”

Perhaps the only “normal” part of the interior is the dashboard, which packs a pair of 12.3-inch widescreen displays. That’s an option on a wide variety of Mercedes-Benz sedans these days, and once you experience it, you’ll wonder how you ever made do without it.

This car is so wild, I almost forgot to talk about the powertrain, which is also ridiculous, but not as much as its design. It relies on four electric motors — one at each wheel — that combine for a net 750 horsepower. Its 80-kWh battery provides an estimated range of more than 200 miles, and it can take advantage of the 350-kilowatt fast charging option that’s slowly being added to current EV infrastructure worldwide. It can also be charged wirelessly, because of course it can.

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