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Beijing: Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept

by Ronan Glon

Maybach promises exclusive motoring at the highest level.

Following a leak, Mercedes-Maybach has introduced the Ultimate Luxury concept during the biennial Beijing auto show. The brand promises its latest design study delivers "exclusive motoring at the highest level."

The Ultimate Luxury concept is an SUV, which we fully expected, but it wears a sedan-like three-box design reminiscent of models like the Volvo S60 Cross Country and, if we look back far enough, the AMC Eagle. Its front end stands out with thin lights and an oversized grille with vertical slats, a look previewed in Geneva on the Maybach-badged S-Class. The back end gets a tall trunk lid and lights loosely inspired by the ones found on the S-Class Coupe, among other Mercedes-Benz models.

Inside, the concept comes equipped with Mercedes' familiar dual-screen setup, which combines the driver-configurable digital instrument cluster and the infotainment screen under a single piece of glass for a more streamlined look. The rest of the interior is draped in leather upholstery (some of it perforated and diamond-stitched) and accented by numerous chromed parts.

Clearly aimed at the Chinese market, it's equipped with a center console wide enough to fit an entire tea set, including two cups and a kettle. The rear passengers sit on individual, business class-like seats that recline at the push of a button. They can sit back, sip tea, and enjoy the ride. Maybach points out the wood on the center console is the same kind found in high-end Chinese furniture.

Don't look for a V12 engine under the hood. Entirely electric, the concept boasts a 750-horsepower drivetrain made up of an 80-kWh battery pack and four electric motors. Range checks in at over 200 miles. 350-kilowatt quick-charging gives the Ultimate Luxury about 60 miles of range in just five minutes.

Widespread media reports claim the Ultimate Luxury concept previews the next-generation GLS. Spy shots tell a different story. Some styling cues could carry over, notably up front, but the second-generation GLS will arrive with a conventional two-box design. Time will tell whether Maybach will be bold enough to put a three-box SUV into production.