D ie pictures from the first site Maybach are impressive, but the first encounter is terrifying. The spare wheel at the rear measures around 92 centimeters in diameter and is so high up that the 325 tires on the 22 inch rim loosely protrude over my 1.84 meters. The height of the upper edge of the spare wheel corresponds to the distance between the body and the asphalt - somehow the coarse treads keep as much distance from the exposed wheel arches as an adaptive cruise control does from the vehicle in front.
The reason is a construction that is otherwise only can be found on the Unimog: portal axles. They are characterized by wheel carriers in which the drive shafts engage in a ring gear above the wheel center so that they do not limit the ground clearance in terms of maximum off-road mobility.
Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet costs three quarters of a million
Certainly very few Maybach customers need them. What they probably appreciate, however, is the side effect of the formidable height of around 2.24 meters. Anyone who spends 749,700 euros on a car is probably used to looking at the world from above. So that the landaulet doesn't look like a high-rise, Daimler has stretched the wheelbase by around 60 centimeters to around 3.43 meters, so that the total length is now 5.35 meters - the G650 can only be overlooked with a lot of effort.
If the passengers do not want to be overlooked, for example when driving on the red carpet, then they can open the convertible top over the rear - when they sit upright, the audience can also tell when they are graciously greeting. But more on that later. We really want to drive with the 3.3 tonne presence grenade.
High level - not just in terms of price
The driver's seat is raised to truck level. Nevertheless, the G-helmsman does not have to climb to get on the Kraxler. If you press the doorknob and pull the handle (yes, this is how opening the door works with the G-Model, since 1979), a step moves towards you - according to the motto 'It sinks for you: the level'. In fact, the electric rocker does not look particularly elegant and the LED lighting integrated in the support arms does not quite meet the expectations of a Maybach. I don't feel addressed by the sticker with the weight limit of 120 kg and at least get into the car very easily - to find out that the interior isn'tis higher than in the normal G and there is no more space in the longitudinal direction. Especially since a cross member separates the rear behind the driver's seat; A partition rises out of it at the push of a button (in the rear). But more on that later.
The chauffeur will find a chic and great workplace in the Maybach-G Prospects: conventional Mercedes instruments a lot of leather and thanks to the almost vertical windshield a good overview at least of the angular front. The wonderfully grippy steering wheel in two-tone leather is a bit flat, typical of the G-model, but with its thick rim it gives the good feeling of having everything under control, especially since the large aluminum shift paddles suggest control of the mighty V12 under the front hood.
52.5 HP - per cylinder
The mighty 6.0-liter biturbo starts unobtrusively and goes into vibration-free idling. The selector lever is similar to that of the AMG GT, which is initially strange in the huge off-road monster, but the machine of the G650 is actually made by AMG. Engaging the 'D' gear is also unspectacular. Then the Maybach rolls away, completely without gas, smoothly and effortlessly. You are almost disappointed because you expect some kind of challenge to be overcome in order to get such a massive car in motion. At least the gas pedal is a bit stiff. But the V12 pushes the heavy chunk effortlessly, from 2,500 rpm the lush, smooth sound of the V12 becomes rockier, a hoarse undertone tells of 630 hp and 1,000 Nm. The acceleration from under six seconds to 100 km /h is much more dramatic from the truck perspective.
The test site in Graz will soon require deceleration with the brakes that inspire confidence and a turning maneuver in a limited space - this assessment is relative. There was probably enough room for a Smart for an eight. As a precaution, I pull back a little, and still have to push back, because a post that is only halfway up disappears to the right behind the end of the bonnet, exactly in the area where I would locate the certainly outrageously expensive carbon fender flares. Regardless, the steering is easy, if not exactly direct, but maneuveringturns out to be easier than feared. On the straight, the engine shows that it can accelerate the Landaulet to 100 km /h in under six seconds and the steering keeps pace with the extra-long G-model following the given route.
Excellent suspension comfort
Bumpy sections of the test track leave the Maybach off-roader surprisingly unimpressed. The Brocken bounces calmly over rough ground. The 32.5 centimeter wide rubbers may have played their part in this thanks to their moderate cross-section (325/55 R 22). But most of it has to come from the chassis. Gunnar Guethenke, Head of the Off-Road Vehicle Product Division at Daimler, explains: “We have worked for a long time to ensure that the information that arrives at the front adaptive dampers is used well by those at the rear axle. This is only possible in a test drive. We also spent a lot of time as passengers in the back of prototypes. At the time, the space behind the front seats was little more than a wooden box without windows and not exactly windproof, but at least with the comfort seats of the production car. That was exhausting, but it was worth it. We were able to refine the set-up more and more. The suspension comfort that we have achieved, mind you with a rigid axle, will be felt and appreciated by our customers ”. The effort was worth it.
I drive a circle for the photo admittedly with a generous radius. Of course, the G650 builds up body roll here, but almost every car does. That it feels like more is mainly due to the seat height. A fast slalom is certainly not the Landaulet's favorite discipline, but no one has to be afraid of normal curves at country road speed - provided the road width is right: the G650 is 2.10 meters wide without mirrors.
Offroad on Real G despite the long wheelbase
Then there is a small hill waiting for the super G. It has roughly the cross-sectional profile of a cuboid, consists of earthy gravel and is sparsely overgrown with grass that shines damp in the cool morning sun of the early March day. As an off-road layman, one immediately qualifies the elevation as an obstacle to be avoided- it doesn't take long. That just doesn't apply to a G-model, not even if it has a wheelbase of more than three meters. My co-driver always directs me to where I would not go under any circumstances and when, just before the ridge of the hill, you can see mainly the horizon in the windshield and I can already see a 'I'll tell you' face, he says calmly as if in a parking space : “Back a little bit” and activate the central differential above the center console. Wait a moment for the green light, take off the brakes, accelerate - that's it. We are only prevented from descending cross-country from the hillside by the whistles of the bystanders responsible for the car - but they probably only had concerns about the driver.
Open luxury in the rear
He can then try out the rear, after all, it's a landaulet all about it. Getting in is easier than at the front and inside are the first-class seats of the S-Class, lavishly covered with Designo leather that also extends over large parts of the rest of the interior. On the armchairs there is a wonderfully soft flock pillow (of course with leather cover) and the headrests are also fluffy padded. It has to be like this, because the backrests can be retracted so far that an unbelievably decadent but extremely relaxing lounging posture is achieved and the head really lies on the cushion. Wow! The icing on the cake is now, of course, when the electric hood rises and comes to rest behind the seats to reveal the blue sky or the surroundings. If that's too cold for you, you can increase the effect of the seat heating with the hot stone massage, which can be configured by remote control on the 10-inch monitor on the cross member.
Of course, the rear passengers can also choose music or watch films there. If you are disturbed by the ambient noise, you can close the well-insulated hood. The switches for this sit on the crossbar and are arranged as a visual gimmick just like those for the locks at the front above the center console. The third between “top closed” and “open” lets the partition slide silently out of the partition, a second press and the window becomes milky as if by magic - impressive. How it works? Small particles sit in a film in the pane, which can be aligned uniformly by applying an electrical voltage and thus form an opaque surface. The white surface lets a lot of indirect light into the rear, as does the large-format plastic rear window and the steep side windows. Softly bedded, gently wrapped in the padded hood - you can endure it here.