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The new Maybach Landaulet resurrects the legend of the classic luxury landaulets, a feature of which is that only the chauffeur's area is closed.
An extra-large folding roof opens up over the pampered rear-seat passengers when required, leaving no obstructions between them and the sky above.
Maybach has decided to offer the hand-built Landaulet based exclusively on the customer's specifications. A limited number of vehicles will be built in the Manufaktur workshops in Sindelfingen, Germany.
According to the latest Luxury Brand Status Index, a survey of 531 US millionaires recently voted Maybach the most prestigious luxury brand.
Since two-thirds of its customers wish to tailor cars to their tastes, Maybach is constantly expanding its range of customisation options.
In technical terms, the Maybach Landaulet is based on the Maybach 62 S, which can claim to be the world's most powerful series-produced chauffeured saloon.
When closed, the black soft-top of the Maybach Landaulet rests on the roof frame and is wind- and weather-proof. On request, the chauffeur can operate a switch in the centre console. Automatically, electric motors open the two locks which fasten the folding top to the roof frame; the top is folded on to the parcel shelf in the rear, together with its integral rear windscreen made of single-layer safety glass. Hydraulic cylinders on each side open and close the top almost noiselessly.
The necessary driving power is furnished by an electro-hydraulic motor hidden away in the side of the boot. Opening and closing the roof can be completed in less than 20 seconds.
The folded roof can be enclosed in a leather tonneau cover, which conceals the roof mechanism and completes the picture of elegance.
The tonneau cover comes in the same colour as the interior of the rear compartment.
The passenger compartment in the spacious rear of the vehicle is styled in white, whereas the chauffeur's area is in black.
The chauffeur's area is modelled on the successful Maybach 62 S, but has been upgraded in a number of important ways. The centre console and all trim elements have black piano-lacquer surfaces and black leather appointments.
The individual rear seats allow even tall passengers to enjoy a comfortable reclining position, which travellers would normally expect to find only in the first-class sections of modern passenger jet aircraft.
Rear passengers can call up a pre-set reclining position at the push of a button, whereupon the backrest smoothly tilts backwards by up to 47 degrees while simultaneously, a lower-leg support and footrest extend forward. This means that occupants can enjoy the ride in an extremely relaxed reclined position.
Seat comfort is further enhanced by pneumatically adjustable air cushions in the backrest and a program-controlled massage function. Each relaxing back massage lasts for five minutes and can be repeated as often as required.
The rear head restraints are slightly larger than on the saloon and effectively help reduce wind turbulence. Another slim wind deflector is automatically raised at speeds above 70km/h to further reduce the risk of any draughts. The deflector, which measures around five centimetres, can be activated manually. The switch is positioned for rear passengers in the centre console.
The intercom in the passenger compartment is fitted with an additional handset in the centre console, allowing passengers to communicate with the driver while the roof is down.
Designed from the outset as a chauffeur-driven limousine, the Maybach Landaulet is equipped with a partition. The lower section of the partition consists of an aluminium sandwich structure. The upper section comprises an electro-transparent laminated glass panel that can be lowered by electric motor.
The Maybach Landaulet will cost $US1.35 million.
The first customer vehicles are due to leave the factory late this year.
Engine: V12, twin turbochargers, 3 valves per cylinder, 5980cc.
Power: 450kW @ 5100rpm.
Torque: 1000Nm @ 2000-4000 rpm.
Transmission: 5-speed automatic.
Suspension: front, double-wishbone axle, Airmatic full air suspension system with level control, anti-dive, torsion bar stabiliser; rear, multi-link independent suspension, Airmatic full air suspension system with level control, anti-squat and anti-lift, torsion bar stabiliser.
Brakes: Sensotronic brake control electro-hydraulic braking system, internally ventilated disc brakes all round, drum-type parking brake at rear, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP
Steering: Power-assisted recirculating-ball steering, steering damper
Wheels: 8.5 J x 20.
Tyres: 275/45 R 20.
Kerb weight: 2780kg.
Fuel: 110 litres, 16.4L/100km.
Performance: 0-100km/h 5.2sec, top speed 250km/h