Mercedes-Benz’s Project Maybach proves that luxury and off-road can mix

The late Virgil Abloh, who unfortunately died last Sunday aged 41, was no stranger to Mercedes-Benz having previously collaborated on the G-Wagen race truck concept. Now, in honour of his family’s wishes, the German carmaker has unveiled the world-renowned fashion designer’s latest work – an outlandish off-road concept vehicle called the Project Maybach.

Described as a “collaborative electric show car designed to inspire the next generation, and forever question the status quo”, Abloh worked in tandem with Mercedes-Benz’ chief designer Gorden Wagener to create from the ground up something unlike anything the marque has ever made before.

The German carmaker says that the concept is “inspired by the great outdoors”, and has been styled with the aim of “recontextualising a traditionally urban brand within a distinctly off-road environment” – the brand, of course, refers to the ultra-luxurious Maybachs.

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The Project Maybach is technically a two-seater battery-electric coupé, but you wouldn’t have thought so by just looking at it thanks to its huge Gran Turismo proportions. The overall length spans six metres long, which is even longer than the extended wheelbase version of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

To balance out the massive body work, the duo gave the concept large off-road wheels and distinctive wilderness-friendly attachments, including an exoskeleton over the glasshouse of the car that also integrates a roof rack.

Inside, the concept car is surprisingly spartan for a Maybach. The seats in particular look like it came out of a 70s passenger car, although Mercedes says that it can be folded completely flat for the occupants to sleep in during camping trips.

With such a massive footprint, there is of course a lot of space to store all your outdoor equipment. There’s even a Maybach-branded axe integrated into the side panels, accessible when you open the doors.

The entire concept vehicle is also finished in a brown hue inspired by the desert – and yes, that includes the interior. Although, the brown bodywork on the outside is contrasted by black on the central facets. The black paint job hides the solar panels underneath the “transparent” bonnet, which is said to increase the “imagined range” of the BEV vehicle.

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Mercedes didn’t reveal much about the Concept Maybach’s powertrain and performance capabilities, although it probably doesn’t matter that much since it most likely wouldn’t go anywhere near the production line.

Revealing the project after his passing, the German marque said in a statement: “Mercedes-Benz is devastated to hear of the passing of Virgil Abloh. Our sincere thoughts are with Virgil’s family and teams. Now opening the world of our collaboration, and Virgil’s unique vision, to the public we want to respectfully celebrate the work of a truly unique design talent, who created endless possibilities for collaboration through his unbridled imagination and inspired all that knew his work.”



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