After teasing and taunting us, Mercedes has whipped the cover off the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 at Pebble Beach. The enormous coupe harks back to a time where excess wasn't frowned upon on the outside, but is thoroughly modern underneath the skin. Put simply, it looks brilliant.
There's always a risk that cars designed with one eye on the past will look overblown an unoriginal, but the Mercedes design team has managed to make the Vision 6 look modern and old-fashioned at the same time. It's a gorgeous piece of design, measuring up at almost 6 meters (19.6 ft) long for maximum impact.
Up front, the grille's vertical struts are inspired by pinstriped suits, and there's a traditional three-pointed star sitting proud of the nose. Lower down, the bumper is trimmed in chrome to match the grille. While we're talking about the nose, there's no avoiding the looooong bonnet stretching out in front of the cabin. In the past a high-powered V8 or V12 might have been nestled underneath, but in the Vision 6 the nose plays host to two specially designed suitcases.
Instead of relying on petrol power, the Mercedes-Maybach concept is fully electric. Total system output is 550 kW (750 hp), and the 80 kWh underfloor batteries are said to offer up over 500 km of range on the New European Drive Cycle (over 200 mi on the EPA cycle). Mercedes says that thanks to a 350 kW DC charging system it takes just 5 minutes to add 100 km (62 mi) of range, and wireless charging is also supported.
In spite of its size, the electric powertrain means the Vision 6 is still quick off the mark. 0-100 km/h (62 mph) takes less than four seconds, and the top speed is electrically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).
Take a walk along the side of the Vision, and eagle-eyed concept spotters will notice there are a few similarities to the Concept IAA launched in Frankfurt last year. The 24-inch wheels are based on the IAA's aero-shutter rims, and the sloping rear deck mimics the shape of its tail with the aerodynamic segments extended.
The exterior combination of old-world grandeur and modern technology is continued on the inside, where elm wood and soft leather contrast with a display integrated into the windscreen and upper dashboard. Although there are two traditional hooded dials sat behind the steering wheel, everything from mapping to seat settings are controlled through the wraparound glass screen, while the windscreen acts like a gesture-controlled HUD.
Both the driver and passenger sit in white lounge-style leather seats with built-in body sensors. Having measured an occupant's vital signs, the sensors are able to tweak the climate control, seat massaging and cabin lighting. In spite of the car's gargantuan size, Mercedes make no mention of any rear seats.
At the moment, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 is just a concept. It's on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, which runs until August 21.
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