If like us you were wondering what a ‘landaulet’ is you aren’t alone. In very basic terms a landaulet is vehicle in which the roof is a hybrid of a hard top and an open top car. Usually these are luxury cars in which the driver and co-driver are encased in the hard top front section of the car while the passengers are seated in the more luxurious rear section and are treated to open top motoring. The Maybach G 650 is only 6th in a short list of landaulets from the Maybach family. It follows the Maybach Landaulet of 2008 and the 1964 Mercedes-Benz Pullman Landaulet.
Landaulets have a long standing tradition of ferrying world leaders and royalty around. In 1966 Queen Elizabeth 2 and Prince Philip on their state tour to Munich were chauffeured in a Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet. This is the heritage and pedigree of the Landaulet and that is the caliber of people who use such cars. Fortunately, in today’s world this luxury isn’t reserved for the aristocrats. However, it is reserved for the 99 wealthy people who will be afforded the opportunity to purchase the G 650 when it goes on sale. It will have its world premier at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Even though G-Wagon is famous for its off road capabilities, as highlighted in the very capable G 500 4×4², the G 650 is a beast with a different manner. It has been designed with comfort and luxury in mind. Special attention has been paid to the rear passengers to give them the most comfortable off-road experience, should they desire it. The rear seats have been transplanted from the S-Class. They are independent of each other and are electrically adjustable and can be fully reclined. They also include a ‘hot stone’ massage function. They are also equipped with calf rests which are adjustable. There are two trays which extend from the center console in the rear.
As an option, there is a glass partition which separates the rear passengers from the driver and co-driver. This is operated at the touch of a button and can be switched from being transparent to opaque. The rear roof mechanism is also operated electronically. However. Mercedes hasn’t yet revealed as to whether the roof can be lowered and raised on the move.
To help the passengers have a dignified entry into the car there are electrically operated entry aids that extend from the sides of the car. We can’t help but picture henchmen with machine guns using this as a platform to stand on while they protect their principle(s).
Technically the G 650 is a G-Class affair. There is nearly half a meter of wading depth, no doubt a necessity for crossing the moats surrounding the owners’ Chateaus. There is a low ratio gear box for going off road and the tyres are 22 inches all round. The are 100% locking differentials which can be activated while in transit. The engine is AMG’s twin turbo V12 which produces 463 kw of power and 1000 Nm of torque.
The only true rival to the G650 is the Bentley Bentayga with the W12 engine. The Bentley produces slightly less power at 447 kw and only 900 Nm of torque. While lacking the distinction of having an electrically operated folding roof the Bentley features a panoramic sun roof which covers about 60% of the roof’s surface. But that’s like comparing a car with a sunroof to a convertible. They just aren’t the same. In terms of looks the Bentley takes the crown, heads and shoulders way over the G 650.
The G 650 has a wheel base of 3428 mm compared to the Bentley’s 2995 mm. This may translate to more legroom for the passengers if they have done the ergonomics right. It is also longer than the Bentley at 5345 mm. A whole 205 mm longer.
Mercedes hasn’t yet released a price for the G 650 but it will most likely be priced in the same bracket as the Bentley. While Mercedes hasn’t yet released the performance figures of the car we think it is safe to assume that the Bentley is the more sporty offering with the G 650 sacrificing sportiness for off road capability.
The G 650 will go on sale later this year.