When you chauffer needs a more capable vehicle

Leave it to Mercedes-Maybach to come up with something like this. Ostentatious doesn’t even begin to describe the marriage of excess off-road capability with luxury. Meet the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet. Think of it as a G-Wagon mixed with a Maybach S-Class. In fact, that’s an extremely accurate description, seeing as the rear seats on this convertible beast are lifted from the Maybach S600. Oh, and its 6.0-liter V-12 is present, too.

Yes, extreme excess is the theme of this monster. It’s basically built to accommodate four occupants – two in great comfort, and two in spectacular comfort. You can guess which seats provide what. The G 650 Landaulet rides on a stretched wheelbase of the “standard” G500 4x4², with an extra 22.75 inches between the wheels. The extra length, combined with the rear captain’s chairs placed nearly over the rear axle, creates a huge amount of legroom. It’s enough space to fully recline the calf leather-covered seats.

Of course, the G 650 Landaulet doesn’t lose any off-road capability from the G500 4x4². It comes with the same portal axles, underbody skid plating, three locking differentials, 4WD High and Low ranges, and enough ground clearance to put a mil-spec Humvee to shame.

The G 650 Landaulet is motivated by the 630 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque pumped out by the 6.0-liter biturbo V-12 and managed by Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic transmission. Surprisingly, the G 650 Landaulet manages double-digit fuel economy, with Mercedes estimating 13.8 mpg combined. Then again, anyone willing to write a six-figure check for the G 650 Landaulet isn’t worried about fuel economy.

Updated 03/13/0217: We added a series of new images taken during the car’s official debut in Geneva. Check the "Pictures" tab to see how great this car looks in white.

Continue reading about the 2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705204
2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705205

Intimidating ‘uge, the G 650 Landaulet is certainly an exercise in opulence, even from the outside. This Mercedes-Maybach creation carries much of the aesthetics from the G500 4x4², which is a lifted version of the standard G-Wagen. Those familiar with Mercedes G-Wagen history will also know the G500 4x4² is the shorter version of the even-more-outrageous G63 AMG 6x6, the triple-axle truck Mercedes introduced for the 2015 model year.

The G 650 Landaulet takes that theme and morphs it into a four-door convertible, similar to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Unlike the Wrangler Unlimited, the G 650 Landaulet benefits from a power-operated top. There’s no work involved with this convertible SUV. Sadly, the front row is confined under a fixed roof panel, making this a true Landaulet top.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705212
2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705214
"This Mercedes-Maybach creation carries much of the aesthetics from the G500 4x4², which is a lifted version of the standard G-Wagen."

Time out for a history lesson: The Landaulet is a type of convertible top that covers only the rear passengers, while the front row is housed under a fixed roof, as it would in a standard sedan. Landaulet-equipped cars became a hot choice for public figures during the early 20th century and ended with the assassination of JFK. The Landaulet top is not to be confused with the Landau top, which is a tacky disgrace of form murdering function in cold blood before killing itself out of self-loathing. That self-loathing is generated out of the hideous nature that the Landau top became known for in American car culture during the 1970s and 80s.

The Landau top is basically a padded, cloth covering fitted over the existing roof of a coupe or sedan. Prime examples include your grandfather’s Lincoln Town Car, your aunt’s Cadillac DeVille, both from the late 1990s. Today, no automaker even offers a Landau top option, though some aftermarket companies still keep this terrible fad from going extinct. Again, don’t confuse the terrible landau top for the terribly awesome Landaulet-equipped G 650 from Mercedes-Maybach.

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"The Landaulet is a type of convertible top that covers only the rear passengers, while the front row is housed under a fixed roof, as it would in a standard sedan."

Beyond the top, the G 650 Landaulet rides on a longer wheelbase than the standard G500 4x4². This likely gives it a better on-road feel, but also helps even out the proportions of the tall-and-stubby G500 4x4². The G 650 Landaulet comes equipped with power-folding side steps, helping dignitaries look more dignified when entering the cabin. Ground clearance is listed at 17.7 inches, making it a rather hefty climb otherwise.

Around back, the G 650 Landaulet carries the same aesthetics as the G500 4x4² - at least from the beltline down. It even has the awkward chrome bumper hanging down. It’s assumed the bumper helps guard against lesser vehicles from submarining under the G 650’s rear bumper. Then there’s the full-size spare tire hanging behind the tailgate. A swing-away tire carrier supports its weight and allows the fold-down tailgate to operate independently.

Mercedes-Maybach didn’t skimp on the details, either. The G 650 Landaulet sports those side pipes with dual tips on each side. Not only do they look cool, but fill the cabin with the wonderful sounds of twin-turbocharged V-12 thunder. The fender flairs are carbon fiber, as are the side moldings. The 325/55-series all-terrain tires dwarf massive 22-inch AMG-style wheels. The wheels have the “Landaulet” badging etched into the flange for posterity, as well. And Mercedes sure didn’t forget the V-12 Biturbo badge on the front fender, either.

Interior

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As interesting as the G 650 Landaulet is from the outside, the best is reserved for those inside. The usual Maybach touches are all present, including quilted and two-tone leather with contrast stitching. There’s carbon fiber trim throughout, and each switch and control is crafted from metal.

The front seats offer much of the same experience as the G500 4x4², only with nicer materials. The gauge cluster, center stack, and console are all familiar. There’s not much news up here. It’s a different story behind the B-pillars. The Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet features a full partition between the front and rear seats. A solid plate of glass keeps the interior airy, even with the top in place. When privacy is wanted, a simple button push turns the clear glass opaque, creating privacy for those in back. This isn’t the fist time this technology has been used in a vehicle, but it’s very likely a first for a production SUV.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705199
2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705197
"The usual Maybach touches are all present, including quilted and two-tone leather with contrast stitching."

The pair enjoying the rear seats’ amenities will find heated, cooled, and massaging seats, capable of reclining backward with a power-operated footrest. A heated and cooled cup holder, airline-style tray tables that fold front the center armrest, and two, 10-inch touch screens that operate independently. It can go without saying the rear compartment enjoys its own HVAC controls and access to the premium audio system.

Mercedes-Maybach also gives its customers plenty of choice when it comes to interior color. Four trim colors are available, with three choices for the fabric Landaulet top. Four exterior paint colors options are present, too.

Drivetrain

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What’s opulent luxury without omnipotent power? Nothing. Thankfully Mercedes knew this going in, choosing to forego the 416-horsepower, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the G500 4x4². Instead, the S600 Maybach’s 6.0-liter biturbo V-12 was shoehorned under the G-Wagen’s hood. Mercedes knew it fit though, as the big engine is available in the Mercedes-AMG G65.

"What’s opulent luxury without omnipotent power? {Nothing.} Thankfully Mercedes knew this going in, choosing to forego the 416-horsepower, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the G500 4x4²."

In this application, The twin-turbocharged V-12 kicks out a whopping 630 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of toque. That mountainous power is routed though the G-Wagen’s seven-speed automatic transmission and onto its full-time 4WD system with Low range. At full tilt, the G 650 Landaulet should hit 60 mph in a few ticks over five seconds. That’s darn impressive considering its size and unashamedly off-road-biased running gear.

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² - image 622578

Speaking of the running gear, the G 650 Landaulet uses the same suspension and axles as the G500 4x4². That means it gets the same portal axles, dual shocks at each corner, and high-performance brakes. Hard-core off-roaders will know portal axles afford an insane amount of ground clearance. They are designed with the axle shaft mating to a gear hub above the center point of the wheel. This hub assembly then uses more gears to direct power downward, then into the wheel hub. Essentially, this allow the axles to ride higher than the center point of the wheels, giving far more ground clearance than conventional systems.

And like all other G-Wagens, the G 650 Landaulet comes equipped with three locking differentials: the front differential, the rear differential, and the center differential, otherwise known as the transfer case. With all three locked, power is evenly distributed to all four wheels, all the time.

Pricing

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Mercedes-Maybach has not released pricing for the 2017 G 650 Landaulet. Obviously it will be laughably expensive, especially considering only 99 examples will be built. Considering Mercedes charges $256,200 for the G500 4x4², we’d expect the Maybach version to start around $350,000 to $500,000. Needless to say, don’t expect to see one parked at your neighborhood Whole Foods unless you live in Beverly Hills or Dubai.

Competition

Well, Mercedes has essentially created an entirely new market with its lifted and portal axle-equipped G-Wagens, so its nearly impossible to line up a legitimate competitors. So in this case, we’ll just compare the different variants of the G-Wagen.

Mercedes-AMG G500 4x4²

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² - image 622571
2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² - image 622572

The G500 4x4² is basically the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet without the stretched wheelbase, über luxurious interior, and V-12 engine. Both share the same portal axles, tall ground clearance, and exterior shape (minus the differences out back).

The G500 4x4² is a bit more utilitarian, if you can call it that, thanks to its more manageable wheelbase, standard SUV-like cabin, and somewhat more understated 4.0-liter biturbo V-8. What’s more, Mercedes hasn’t put a limit on how many it will build. That means anybody in the U.S. and around the world with $250,000+ can write a check and take delivery.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG G500 4x4² here.

Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6

2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6 - image 494836
2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6 - image 494841

It’s hard to believe the G63 6x6 has been around since 2013, though Mercedes halted production of this six-wheeled wonder in early 2015. This beast is also the originator of Mercedes’ obsession with portal axles on its G-Wagen, and is the father to both the G500 4x4² and G 650 Landaulet.

The 6x6 is based on the standard G-Wagen, but gets a sizable increase in frame length to accommodate the rear-most axle. A truck bed is added and the cab closed off behind the second row seats. A chrome roll bar helps fortify the 6x6’s masculine appearance, too.

The 6x6 came powered by Mercedes’ 5.5-liter biturbo V-8, which made 536 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. The same seven-speed automatic and full-time 4WD system as in the newer models underpinned the 6x6.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6 here.

Conclusion

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Mercedes keeps upping the ante with its G-Wagen. It makes sense though, as these models sell rather well while paying tribute to the current G-Wagen’s last few years. Mercedes is deep into preparing its next-generation G-Wagen. It’s rumored to be wider and more comfortable inside, while still maintaining a high level of off-road capabilities. It’s yet to be seen if Mercedes will continue the G500 4x4² or G 650 Landaulet into the next generation, but considering the amount of press and attention these models bring, it would be a dumb decision not to.

So, what do you think? If you had the cash, would you get the G 650 Landaulet? Is the idea worthy of the Mercedes-Maybach name? Would you really want a convertible off-roader that couldn’t be hosed out like a Jeep Wrangler? Let us know in the comments below.

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Press Release

A G-Class like never before: With the G 650 Landaulet*, Mercedes‑Maybach presents a new masterpiece of automotive engineering. After the Mercedes-Maybach S‑Class and the S 650 Cabriolet, the open-top G‑Class is the first off-roader from the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. The exceptional G 650 Landaulet follows the equally spectacular variants AMG G 63 6x6 and G 500 4x42. With its superlative V12 engine, portal axles, electric fabric top and exclusive equipment specification in the rear compartment, this very special all-terrain vehicle, which is limited to 99 units, meets the expectations of customers who demand the very highest standards of their vehicle. The Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet is surely the most exclusive form of stylish open-top motoring.

The history of the G-Class is rich in superlatives and landmarks. With the new Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, the off-road icon demonstrates that the definition of unique luxury can always be taken to a new level. Not only that: the cult vehicle among off-roaders is forever reinventing itself and providing yet more evidence of the potential that still resides in this classic all-terrain vehicle today, which has been in production since 1979.

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"The name Maybach dates back to the beginnings of the automobile. It stands for supreme luxury with tradition, combined with high-tech. In 2015, we took the logical step of opening a new chapter in the luxury class with our Mercedes‑Maybach sub-brand. Since then, over 15,000 Mercedes-Maybachs have been produced. Hence, one in every ten vehicles sold in the S‑Class segment was a Mercedes-Maybach. With the Mercedes-Maybach G‑Class Landaulet, we are now extending the Mercedes-Maybach portfolio to include the world’s most iconic and prestigious off-roader.

*Fuel consumption (combined): 17.0 l/100 km. CO2 emissions (combined): 397 g/km

With the fifth model after the S‑Class Saloon, Pullman and Cabriolet as well as the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 show car, we are underlining the importance of the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand for the Mercedes brand family," says Dr Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars.

With a length of 5345 millimetres, a wheelbase of 3428 millimetres, a height of 2235 millimetres, almost half a metre of ground clearance and ample space and comfort for four passengers, the G 650 Landaulet surpasses all standards. This extrovert G‑Class thus represents a unique combination of luxurious chauffeur saloon and off-roader. While the driver and front passenger are accommodated under the closed roof, the rear passengers can revel in a maximum of comfort: at the press of a button, a large folding top opens electrically to offer a view of the blue sky. The rear passengers enjoy the majestic open-air experience from their single seats. On demand, an electrically operated glass partition separates the rear compartment from the driver’s section. In addition, the glass can be changed from transparent to opaque at the press of a button.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet - image 705214

First-class rear seats with calf rest and fully reclined position

Thanks to the 578 millimetre longer wheelbase, the passengers in the Mercedes‑Maybach G 650 Landaulet benefit from extensive freedom of movement. The first-class rear seats from the S‑Class significantly enhance the seating comfort and spaciousness: the electrically multi-adjustable individual seats can be conveniently set to a fully reclined position. The active multicontour seats with ENERGIZING massage function have inflatable air chambers to provide high seating comfort and excellent lateral support. Massage programs make for enhanced well-being – according to the principle of a relaxing hot-stone massage, including with heat. The rear seating concept is augmented by a calf rest, which is freely adjustable in length and swivel range.

The other appointments of the G 650 Landaulet also leave nothing to be desired. To afford the rear passengers the optimum in comfort, there is a large business console with thermal cup holders between the individual seats. These allow beverages to be cooled or heated over a lengthy period of time. The controls for opening or closing the glass partition are integrated behind the cup holders. Similarly to an aircraft seat, the centre console comes with two tables, which can be easily folded in or out with one hand. The table tops have leather inserts to provide a comfortable writing surface or to allow the use of tablets and notebooks.

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Individual Entertainment System with two monitors in the rear

Positioned in front of the cup holders is a control for the rear air conditioning. Further forward is a "G cockpit" in the style of the driver’s instrument panel. The centre console houses the three distinctive, centrally placed pushbutton switches. These switches are not used to operate the three differential locks, however: one switch is for the interior lighting, while the other two are used to open and close the soft top. The rear "G cockpit" also includes two glove compartments as well as grab handles typical of the G‑Class. The cross-member, which also holds the glass partition, accommodates two 25.4 cm (10‑inch) high-resolution media displays of the Individual Entertainment System.

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Two-tone designo upholstery in four trim colours

The luxurious, exquisite character of the Landaulet is emphasised by the high-grade designo upholstery with diamond stitching, which is in all cases two-tone and available in four trim colours. Customers can choose between three different matching colours for the fabric top as well as four attractive designo paint finishes, including a matt finish. "V12 BITURBO" lettering on the front wings points to the ultimate in motive power, the 12‑c ylinder engine. The radiator grille features a chrome-plated double louvre and a chrome-plated screen.

Exclusive "LANDAULET" lettering is worked into the rim flanges of the ceramically polished, 55.9 cm (22‑inch) 5‑twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. Electrically extending entry aids make for easier access to the vehicle. Other exclusive exterior design features include front and rear underride guards, large wheel-arch flares in genuine carbon fibre as well as, mounted on the right at the rear, the spare wheel with integral holder for the third brake light.

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Portal axles and 325/55 R 22 tyres

As is customary with the off-road icon, the "G" is forever breaking new ground: unlike previous Landaulets, which were based on prestigious saloons, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet also has what it takes to deliver an unforgettable off-road experience. Familiar from the AMG G 63 6x6 and G 500 4x42, the portal axles provide ample ground clearance of 450 millimetres, allowing the open-top all-terrain vehicle to overcome even extreme obstacles in masterly fashion. In contrast to a conventional rigid axle, the wheels are not at the height of the axle centre, but are instead situated much further down on the axle heads owing to the portal transmission.

Tyres of size 325/55 R 22 form the ideal basis for perfect handling both on- and off-road. Of course, the latest "G" also features the typical 100‑percent differential locks, which can be engaged while on the move, as well as the low off-road ratio of the transfer case. The combination of this 4WD technology, unique in the off-road segment, makes the G 650 Landaulet stand out from all other 4x4 vehicles.

High drive comfort comes courtesy of the most powerful available engine, the Mercedes-AMG V12 biturbo, which delivers a maximum output of 463 kW (630 hp) with a peak torque of 1000 Newton-metres.

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Over 100 years of famous Landaulets from Stuttgart

Landaulet vehicles have a long tradition at the Stuttgart-based car maker. This special class of vehicle included the Benz 25/45 PS of 1910. Other famous examples of this exclusive genre are the Mercedes-Benz 300 d Landaulet (from 1960), the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet (from 1964) and the Maybach Landaulet (from 2008).

Limited to 99 units, market premiere in autumn 2017

Like all other variants of the G-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, too, will be produced by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. The open-top four-seater will celebrate its world premiere and sales release at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017. The market launch of the special series, which will be limited to 99 units, will start in the autumn.

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