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Hyper-Car Royalty: Maybach Exelero

July 11, 2012


Deep in the recesses of every boy’s mind is the reveille of an amazing piece of machinery. Take away the humdrum that is everyday life, and imagine a life without limitation. They say a man is not what he currently has, but what he chases, what drives him. What drives you dear reader?

Personally I am driven by a lot of things, but when it comes to engineering miracles I would like to call my own one day, this one stands at the top of the bucket list. I know there are a few Maybachs in Africa today.

I know King Mswati of Swaziland is rumored to have one as well as Patrice Motsepe closer to home. And a few of the oil barons and other dictators surely own a few, across the continent. But the most commonly owned Maybach on the continent is the 57, and then maybe a few other people own the 62.

As for this particular one, it’s as rare as super-cars come. This is my kind of car.  Just gazing at the above image it is safe to say it looks as if it eats parked cars for brunch, parties with deceased rock stars, and went to school with Frankenstein’s son. Yes it’s a monster.

In the unlikely case that the stance and proportions leave you cold, the sound effects will seize you by the eardrums.

The two-seat land yacht measures 232 measures from bow to stern, exceeding the imperial Maybach 57.  Equally peculiar  is the engine, a twin-turbo charged 5.9 liter V-12 that coughs up max power of 691 hp and 752 lb-ft of very low end torque. And then there’s the styling. Vulgar, over-the-top, and utterly beguiling, it’s perfect transport for Darth Vader.
By show-car standards, getting into the malevolent-looking monster is a piece of cake. The long door opens wide, and the cushy leather seat moves back far enough to accommodate the longest limbs. Despite the Fulda-red stripes and the shiny carbon-fiber door panels, the instrument panel is essentially pure Maybach. The piano-black center stack, for instance, incorporates Comand along with the familiar HVAC controls, and the power adjustable steering wheel is a four-spoke device with a hub cushion so big it could house enough air bags for the entire Addams family.

Unlike most styling exercises, the Exelero is definitely a runner. Once put the test, it proved its point on the Nardo high-speed oval in Italy, where racing driver Klaus Ludwig whipped it to a top speed of 351.45 kph (218 mph). And then you get a 0-to-62-mph after a miserly 4.4 seconds. That’s Porsche 911 GT3 territory, not bad for a converted luxury liner that weighs three tons counting fuel and Kacher. The dry weight is an almost equally obese 5852 pounds.

Redlined at 6000 rpm, the 36-valve V-12 produces peak power at just 5000 rpm. Compared with the standard Maybach 57/62 engine that’s rated at a mere 543 hp, the Exelero has more displacement (up from 5.5 to 5.9 liters), bigger turbochargers, a manlier radiator, and a larger inter-cooler.

The Exelero is the toil of four design students from the renowned design academy in Pforzheim. They started off with a given packaging concept and with the brief to come up with a modern, unique, and innovative shape.

Although the Exelero definitely won’t go into production, it looks as solid as if it were milled from a single piece of metal, like those SLR-style turbine wheels. Even though the engineers were able to use numerous carryover components, the exterior and the interior were built from scratch by Stola, Turin-based prototype specialists. Neat features include the four pillars for the roof, the sleek greenhouse, the ground-effect rear venturi, and the complex bodywork around the wheel arches. Although it takes a fish-eye lens to capture the 23-inch wheels in their full beauty, the massive rear tires look almost lost from certain angles in their voluptuous all-black surroundings

Although this show car is about as politically correct as the Cadillac Sixteen or the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve, it does its job. It puts the Fulda name on a map that used to be dominated by Michelin, Pirelli, and Bridgestone. And it also moves the Maybach image away from that of a conservative S-class clone, pushing it more toward a bespoke coach-built driving machine. I have already reserved a place for the mighty mauler in my dream garage, right next to the Lambo Diablo and the original Batmobile from Gotham City. One day is one day.


From → Luxury

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