The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet Floats Into Pebble Beach
The ocean-sized convertible concept has us dreaming of a new Maybach—one that’s not a trendy, hulking SUV.
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 concept nearly stole the show at last year’s Pebble Beach concours in California, even surrounded by hundreds of vintage, billionaire-friendly Bugattis, Ferraris, Packards and Isottas. The Cabriolet version, which Mercedes unveiled this evening in Pebble Beach, can’t quite top the Cupid’s Arrow of a coupe for sheer, streamlined fabulousness. But this oceangoing convertible, which stretches nearly as far as a Rolls-Royce Phantom, might still move a Saudi prince to let his girlfriend drive.
Gleaming in appropriate “Nautical Blue” metallic paint (versus the cherry-red coupe) the nearly 20-foot-long boattail convertible floats on 24-inch rose gold center-lock wheels. Mercedes says the vertical struts of the dramatic radiator grille are inspired by a pinstripe suit—clearly a bespoke one.
Compared with last year’s coupe, the convertible better flaunts its interior, even if it’s the kind of high-concept fluff that’s reliably toned down before the car enters showrooms. The “360-degree luxury lounge” is one part Miami Art Deco—with Eames-style chairs, open-pore wood, and crystal-white leather fit for Marilyn Monroe—and one part Ex Machina AI, with peekaboo blue fiber-optic ligatures and massive head-up displays that sweep the entire windshield. Individual buttons on seat upholstery are actually tiny Mercedes stars, backlit in blue. An “intuitive communication system” suggests Siri with a German accent—"Fritzi," perhaps—a concierge that an owner can talk to, or bark orders at, without predetermined voice commands.
Digital wonder continues with the electric drive system, including a flat battery in the underbody and four compact, synchronous electric motors producing 750 horsepower. That’s good for a 0-60 mph surge in less than four seconds, a 155-mph top speed, and a driving range beyond 200 miles. The Mercedes-Maybach also highlights DC charging based on the new CCS standard, with a capacity up to 350 kW that could add about 60 miles of range in five minutes, speeding a butler’s run to Seven Eleven. The Haagen-Daz will fit easily under an insanely stretched two-piece hood, with slots left over for custom luggage, picnic gear, and other accoutrements.
Where callow luxury brands like Infiniti have to exaggerate or fake a history as they strain for attention and relevance at Pebble Beach, it comes more naturally to Mercedes. The Maybach brand itself is named for Wilhelm Maybach, who designed the first Mercedes in 1901 and was a pioneer in automobiles, internal combustion engines, and even the French auto industry, having been dubbed the “king of designers” in France. And for all its modernity, the Vision 6 Cabriolet tucks neatly into a continuum of swoopy classics that includes Mercedes’s “motorway couriers” like the 500K and 540K Special Coupe, or the famous 1938 540K Streamliner that appeared at Pebble Beach in 2015—a Benz one-off that underwent 4,800 hours of loving restoration.
As it did last year, Mercedes insisted the Vision 6 Cabriolet is merely a Pebble Beach party favor, a styling exercise that won't make it to showrooms. Yet against the alternating backdrops of the Pacific Ocean and hordes of the world’s wealthiest car collectors, the convertible raises hope that Mercedes will create some Maybach, any Maybach, that doesn't ape the luxury trend of three-ton, gloopy-looking SUV’s. Because we'd rather not show up at Pebble Beach in 2067, being wheeled around by a comely assistant, only to finally stroke out over a show lawn full of Maybach G-Wagens, Bentley Bentaygas, and Rolls-Royce Cullinans.