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Mercedes-Benz’s Maybach EV concept helps the rich feel even better about themselves

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It asks whether luxury needs a V8

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Image: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz has shown off the electric Maybach EQS, an opulent concept car that the company says is a preview of what the future of high-end electric cars may look like. The company revealed the EV SUV at the IAA Mobility show, where it also announced a G-Class SUV concept, and a more attainable electric sedan.

When compared to the existing Maybach GLS, the EQS concept doesn’t look particularly outlandish. Mercedes says that the one-off vehicle is based on its modular electric architecture — the same that powers its upcoming EQS sedan. The company says that the concept is meant to show off its vision for “a locally emission-free future,” without giving up the exclusivity and luxury that the Maybach name implies — Mercedes says the interior is supposed to remind you of a yacht, and the SUV has something called a “Chauffeur package.”

The Maybach EQS doesn’t scream “concept,” or even “EV.”
Image: Mercedes-Benz

For the ultra-luxury segment Maybachs exist in, it wouldn’t hurt for a more ecologically friendly option to exist in the world. The gas-powered Maybach GLS has a thirsty 4L V8, which gets 15 MPG in the city and 19 on the highway, according to Edmunds. Rolls-Royce’s Cullinan SUV is even worse, with a 6.75L V12 (twelve!!), reportedly getting 12 (twelve!!!) MPG in the city (but 20 on the highway). While EVs obviously aren't going to put a huge dent in the outsized carbon emissions of the wealthy, they probably wouldn’t hurt.

Of course, going green can’t come at the cost of feeling better than everyone around you. Mercedes’ page for the concept car contains some incredible prose describing the Maybach EQS: its silhouette is “dynamic,” its design “seamless.” Thankfully, to go along with the EV environmental friendliness theme, the carpet is “faux fur,” instead of the real deal. That’s all sort of the point, though — Maybach is a capital-L Luxury brand, so any concept has to have an aura of prestige around it.

The rose gold really makes it.
The concept still includes the appearance of a grille, despite not needing one.
Image: Mercedes

Oh, and the headlights are surrounded by Maybach logos, because concept cars aren’t for subtlety.

Okay, it does actually look cool.
Image: Mercedes-Benz

There are, of course, already luxury electric cars that you can actually buy. The Porsche Taycan and Mercedes EQS come to mind, but those types of cars have... let’s call it a different role, culturally speaking. They’re the types of cars you’d drive, whereas Maybachs are the types of cars you’re driven in (and not by an automated system, like the future Tesla is promising). If you’re cross-shopping a Maybach, your other options may be more Rolls-Royce than, say, Tesla whose build quality can sometimes miss the “luxury” mark by a mile.

Again, though, the Maybach EQS is only a concept, so it may be quite a while before you (yes, you, the people who bought the $50,000 TV on Black Friday) can get your hands on one. While it’s an outlandish vehicle from the perspective of everyday drivers, it’s not the type of concept that you’d look at and think “Yeah, maybe in a million years,” like Mercedes’ Avatar car from last year. Mercedes calls the concept “a clear preview of the first fully electric series-production model” in the Maybach line, and the company already has an EV platform kicking around that it could put to use. It’s not a subtle car, so I’m sure it won’t be hard to miss when something like it eventually hits the road.

Oh, and I almost forgot: as with many concept cars, there’s a completely inscrutable “film” to go with it. Honestly, the butterflies are a nice touch.