For the last three years, my favorite car has been the Mercedes-Benz G65. Mostly because it’s definitive proof that, in an era of hypermiling and pedestrian safety, cars can still be fun. Even the original civilian G-Wagen was an utterly ridiculous car that was conceived by the Shah of Iran (and to some extent, His Holiness) and got co-opted by the Shahs of Sunset 35 years later. The 65, though, is the pinnacle of absurd, it’s an irrational step up from the G63 — already an irrational step up from the G550. Just by virtue of throwing in a V12 instead of a V8, the G65 costs 80,000 more dollars than the G63. It has essentially the same performance figures and looks nearly identical but it’s not. It’s like asking Jay-Z what the difference is between a 4.0 and a 4.6. And the best part about designing cars just because they’re the biggest and the most expensive? They just keep getting crazier.
Case. In. Point.
The Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet is here, and it’s magnificent. Officially debuting at the Geneva Auto Show, the G650 takes the general chassis of the G500 4×42, the massive V12 from the G65 and the general audacity of the old Maybach Landaulet rolled into the most gauche package possible.
Let’s hit some highlights: The G650 is 17.5 feet long, it has a foot and a half of ground clearance, the rear seats are partitioned from the front with a glass that switches from clear to opaque electronically, the rear seats not only boast “energizing” massage mode but can be reclined to flat and the center cupholders can heat or cool your drinks in a matter of minutes. But let’s not forget what all this wood veneer and peeled cow is attached to — it’s also got diff locks, a low-range gearbox, portal axels, 630 horsepower and 738 foot-pounds of torque.
A lot of the motoring press who (like me) demand that their Maybachs be suitably nuts were disappointed when the Maybach S650 Cab debuted last year and was more or less a normal S65 with some fancy upholstery. This feels like MB trying to balance the scales. It’ll be a limited run of 99 vehicles and it won’t be coming to the US, but you’ve got property elsewhere, right?