Tuesday, 14 February 2017 13:28

Meet the world's most outrageous off-roader – it's more powerful than a Porsche, higher than a LandCruiser and more expensive than a Rolls-Royce.

The radical machine is called the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet and is part limousine, part cruise convertible and part off-roader.

It's also the world's most powerful and most exclusive SUV.

With an estimated price tag upwards of $800,000 the V12-powered off-roader is also be the most expensive.

Shamelessly out-there

Appropriately, the boxy 4WD will be sold under the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand designed to challenge Rolls-Royce, although there are no direct rivals for a car that is more about being shamelessly out-there rather than trying to reset any automotive benchmarks.

For the big dollar outlay you're all but guaranteed your friends won't have one – even if they live in another country – with just 99 of the open-top four-wheel drives to be produced globally.

Expect America and the Middle East to be prime markets for the chunky Merc.

Super luxury experience

Based on the iconic G-Wagen military-inspired four-wheel drive that first appeared in 1979, the G650 Landaulet has been stretched almost 60 centimetres for a cavernous interior that's loaded with a mix of metal, leather and carbon fibre trim.

The rear seats have been borrowed from Mercedes-Benz's most luxurious limousine, the S-Class, and include a "relaxing hot-stone massage" function and thermal cupholders, as well as tables that fold out of the centre console.

It's just the start of a super luxury experience that includes a partial convertible roof to allow those in the rear a sports-car-like open-air experience.

Or, if privacy is demanded, those out back can raise a frosted glass partition for their own secluded cabin, complete with TV screens and individual gloveboxes.

Stunning specs

Under the bonnet is an AMG-built twin-turbocharged V12 engine that pumps out 463kW of power, more than the most powerful Porsche on the market.

Despite the extreme performance and luxury, Mercedes is pitching the G650 Landaulet as a highly capable off-roader that can "overcome even extreme obstacles in masterly fashion".

Ground clearance is 450mm – double that of a Toyota LandCruiser – and there are three differential locks for the ultimate in off-road traction.

It's fair to say the G650's natural environment is anywhere other cars aren't. At 5345mm it's one of the longest vehicles on the road and at 2235mm high it won't fit into many underground carparks.

It also slurps almost double the fuel of modern V8s, with consumption claimed at 17.0 litres per 100km.

No word yet on how much this behemoth weighs, although expect it to be well over three tonnes.

Left-hand drive

But before you go priming the bank account be aware all G650 Landaulets will be built with the steering wheel on the left, so they can't be registered in Australia.

While that hasn't stopped local enthusiasts in the past adding them to a collection – already Mercedes Australia says it has 10 orders for the upcoming "Project One" AMG supercar, which will use a Formula One engine – the company says it has not fielded enquiries for the Landaulet ... yet.

Previous low volume iterations of the G-Wagen – including the radical 6x6 six-wheeled version – have prompted local enquiries.

The G-Wagen is the only car in the Mercedes-Benz lineup without an end date on it.

Despite approaching its 40th birthday the loveable retro design and authentic off-road hardware have seen sales set new records in recent years.

The company plans to keep building it as long as it meets safety and emissions regulations around the world.

Source: 14 February 2017, www.executivestyle.com.au 

 

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