► Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6
► Stretches out in Paris again
► Designers: ‘This is a wow car’
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 was first shown at Pebble Beach in summer 2016 – but it’s hopped back across the Atlantic to stretch out in style at the 2016 Paris motor show.
We met its designers for a guided tour around the longest car we’re likely to encounter for some time. Click here for more on the nearly six-metre long Maybach.
1) It’s really very, very l-o-n-g
This car is huge, stretching out so far that you fear for the barriers on its engorged stand at the show. But it could’ve been even longer. Design lead Stefan Lamm, recently departed from Ford, said that when he arrived in Stuttgart at the start of the project in January 2016 it was going to be even longer. ‘It’s actually 5.7 metres long, so it is shorter than earlier Maybachs we’ve done, such as the 62. When we looked at the clay model, it was a bit too long. It’s difficult to make a beautiful car that’s too big. We didn’t want to make the Batmobile.’
2) Why electric cars still have radiators
Fuel-less EVs surely don’t need radiators, so why the big grille? Not so, according to Lamm. ‘Electric cars do need radiators – especially when they come to a standstill after high-speed driving. Teslas and others have radiators on EVs, they’re just packaged in different places… We think the grille is a very important expression on the face – it’s recognised by luxury customers worldwide. So we are developing the Maybach grille further. Although this one is huge, only a small part of it is functional.’
3) Headlamps are shrinking by the year
Those slimline, squinting headlamps ‘will be feasible very soon,’ according to Maybach’s design guru Steffen Koehl. ‘We want to get the headlights as small as possible. What you see here is a real glimpse of the future.’
4) Ancient and modern: a 2016 take on the 1930s streamliners
Mention the word ‘retro’ in front of the Mercedes-Benz design team and you’ll get a withering look. We know, because we did. ‘It’s not retro; it’s classical influences reintrepreted in a modern way,’ says Lamm. ‘It’s about amazing proportions, about some lovely 1930s details. The Bugatti Atlantic was the most famous car from that era, we admit that, but our company was doing similar, boat-like rear ends at the same time. The rear end with its twin windows and that fabulous vertical third brake light was inspired by the 1930s Maybachs too.’
5) Size matters for luxury customers
Why the big bonnet, when there’s no internal combustion engine? Because premium customers expect it. And because it makes space for an enormous front boot – complete with picnic set and luxury luggage set. ‘It’s an extravagant two-seater. Why do you need a big bonnet? It’s so you can go for a romantic drive with your partner – there’s a lot of space in the front and you can have a picnic there when you arrive.’
6) Adjustable aero is happening, folks
Check out those wheels. Remind you of the shape-shifting IAA concept from 2015? They should. Mercedes-Benz is actively working on cars that change shape, and those sleek, smoothed-off wheels are very realistic, according to Koehl. They combine playfulness – the red tinge to match the bodywork and multiple, delicate spokes – with a slick aero function to cleave through the air. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 doesn’t extend like the IAA, but it is aerodynamically efficient, they claim.
Click here for more news and world debuts from the Paris motor show