“A G-Class like never before” were the first words Mercedes-Benz used to describe the impressive 650 Landaulet. This highly exclusive machine very proudly showcased a superlative V12 engine, portal axles, an electric fabric top, and a rear passenger compartment developed to meet the highest standards of luxury and comfort. It represents the model’s pinnacle of evolution, from its first iteration way back in 1979 as a classic all-terrain carrier with few amenities to a sumptuous off-roader that offers a riding experience never seen before on such kind of vehicle.
The G 650 Landaulet’s exterior architecture was simply staggering. Its main design language resembled the other G-Class models in the line-up with some hallmarks of its own. The electrically engaging side-steps were a welcoming addition for such a tall vehicle.
It featured an extended wheelbase of 11.25 ft (3.43 m) and a total length of 17.55 ft (5.35 m). Furthermore, the vehicle stood 7.21 ft (2.2 m) high with an ample ground clearance of 1.64 ft (0.5 m), making it suitable for traversing the most demanding surfaces in utmost style and luxury. Not least, the impressive stance was complemented by its ceramically polished 22-inch twin-spoke light-alloy wheels equipped with 325/55 R 22 section tires.
Of course, this being the top-of-the-range G-Class model, it packed a serious punch under the hood. The 650 Landaulet came fitted with the mighty 6-liter M279 V12 bi-turbo powerplant, developing 621 hp and 738 lb-ft (1000 Nm) of torque, being able to propel this extravagant off-road barge from standstill to 62 mph (100 kph) in just 6 seconds. Sadly, top speed needed to be sacrificed for safety reasons meaning it was limited to only 112 mph (180 kph).
These substantial power figures were delivered through a 7-speed torque converter automatic gearbox mated to a separate transfer case with low gearing capabilities. Additionally, in true G-Wagon fashion, the Maybach 650 Landaulet came equipped with three independent locking differentials, enabling this machine to conquer any terrain with ease, no matter the conditions.
The interior design of the Maybach G 650 was genuinely exquisite. The electronically operated folding roof was conceived to benefit exclusively the rear passengers offering them a unique open-air experience, a style that, at the time, was last used on the Maybach 62 saloon. Thanks to its 22.8-inch longer wheelbase than the regular G 65, the backseat occupants enjoyed a truly first-class experience lying on the executive rear seating taken directly from the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class saloon.
Additionally, the electronically adjustable armchairs could be set to a fully reclined position and offered multiple massaging options, making good use of their inflatable air chambers that provided superior comfort and excellent lateral support. Furthermore, besides numerous massage settings, the rear occupants enjoyed large 10-inch individual displays, separate climate control settings for each seat, or heated and cooled cup holders.
Not least, they could deploy an electrically operated glass partition between the front and rear compartment that could be actuated with the push of a button to convert from a fully clear pannel to an opaque glaze in a matter of seconds.
Sadly, Mercedes-Maybach built this exclusive G-Class in only 99 examples and, the original price tag sat around the €630,000 ($754,200) mark before any taxes. These days, you will be remarkably fortunate to find such a gem on the pre-owned market and should expect to pay over $1.2 million for one, making it the most expensive SUV money could buy at the moment.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has always been representative of the extreme off-roading culture, and the Maybach G 650 Landaulet acted upon that heritage and took its legacy further than ever before. A unique project for adventure enthusiasts or automobile collectors alike, this machine remains in history as one of the most impressive vehicles the German brand ever built.