When Mercedes-Benz had a second attempt at reviving the Maybach name, it took a more understated approach than the hefty limousines built for the earlier, 1997, iteration. Mercedes-Maybach, as the standalone luxury division was renamed in 2015, became a sub-brand, creating highly personalised and lavishly finished versions of the company’s flagship S-Class model.
However, something of the original marque’s devil-may-care ostentation broke cover at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. At 5.7m long, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 was a spectacular foray into cyber-sybaritic excess. An all-electric 2+2, it made up for its modest environmental footprint by excelling in both scale and form, evoking pre-war coach-building, yacht design, art deco sculpture and aviation-inspired dynamism all in one package.
For 2017, Mercedes-Benz is returning to Pebble Beach with a sequel, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet. Chopping the top off the Vision 6 has cost the car its rear seats, but has greatly increased the sense of sheer luxury abandon. For a start, there’s a sweeping rear deck and tail that would look more at home bobbing about in the Monaco harbour than humming along the Autobahn, finished off with a vertical LED brake light bisecting the trunk lid.
The cockpit is a nappa leather-lined cocoon, quilted like a Chesterfield and illuminated in every nook and cranny by LEDs and sporting a wrap-around digital dashboard that seems to blend into the doors, while the front is almost all grille, with headlights reduced to slender slivers that echo the flashes of chrome down each flank. Massive 24-inch wheels complete the picture.
The company is unapologetic about the Cabriolet concept’s role: to define ‘the ultimate in luxury of the future’, while also referencing the grand style of the past. As with the closed roof version, this concept is purely electric, with a promised 200 mile range and high performance from four electric motors. Rather more hypothetical features include a friendly ‘concierge’ – a form of on-board AI – and biometric sensors to keep track of occupants’ health.
It’s highly unlikely that the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet will ever reach series production, although deep-pocketed car collectors have been known to twist the right arms when it comes to getting what they want. More importantly, the Vision 6 cars show that Mercedes-Benz – and Mercedes-Maybach – are looking seriously at the idea of an all-electric, super-luxury car.
The time is fast approaching when the most expensive cars will make the leap to zero emissions; with over a century of high-end experience, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring it stays on top of the market.