The FINANCIAL -- At the 2008 Detroit Autoshow, for the first time in America, Maybach presents a masterpiece of advanced technology which re-enlivens the great art of building majestic automobiles: the open-top Maybach Landaulet Study.
According to Daimler, true to the tradition of exclusive landaulets, the roof of this sparkling white one-off study can be opened fully at the rear, while in the chauffeur’s compartment it remains completely closed. The passengers are then able to enjoy the clear, blue sky above. Seated in opulent armchairs upholstered in white leather, in an environment of utmost luxury and exquisite style, the pampered passengers are treated to a majestic open-air experience currently unrivalled by any other automobile. Romance close to the heart of nature is harmoniously combined with the ultimate in comfort and technological sophistication. Here Maybach is once again demonstrating its expertise in building the world’s most exclusive luxury limousines.
In the Landaulet Study, with painstaking craftsmanship, Maybach has created an open-top car whose standing well exceeds that of a conventional convertible, and which represents the pinnacle of true luxury. Appropriately it could serve as a regal carriage for crowned heads or underscore the status of very successful and wealthy persons who value a distinguished, authentic style.
Landaulet Study is Maybach’s response to customer requests
The Maybach brand name epitomises high-end luxury motoring. It stands for effortlessly superior automotive engineering at the very highest level, timeless and stylish elegance, and precision craftsmanship. Since approximately two-thirds of Maybach customers wish to tailor their cars exactly to their own tastes and ideas, Maybach is constantly expanding its exclusive range of customisation options.
In fact, the study was prompted by the clientele of Maybach, for whom the landaulet retains the aura of the grand carriages of days gone by. Experts understand the landaulet to be an automobile whose front section has a solid roof, but whose rear has a folding top to allow the distinguished passengers to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Landaulets formerly were often used as parade cars in which the occupants could present themselves to the people at the roadside. However, security considerations have largely relieved the landaulet of this function today.
Of course, this has not detracted from the legends which surround landaulet automobiles. Chauffeur-driven cars by nature, even today they still are ranked among the top products of the car-maker’s art. This applies to a particular degree to the Maybach study: innovative, high-grade engineering, extraordinary comfort and a luxurious ambience clearly place this Landaulet a cut above even the luxury car segment. This is down in part to select, valuable materials, large amounts of which specialists incorporate into the vehicle with meticulous attention to detail and craftsmen’s skill. They include white nappa leather of highest quality and exquisite black granite as well as brilliant piano lacquer for trim parts. The Maybach Landaulet study might best be compared to luxurious super-yachts - exquisitely beautiful and valuable masterpieces that combine sophisticated technology and exotic materials with a close-up experience of nature, which addresses all the senses, and take their owners far away from the conventional.
Large folding roof for the passengers in the rear
In technical terms the Landaulet Study is based on the Maybach 62 S - which can claim to be the world’s most powerful series-produced chauffeured saloon. Maybach has uncompromisingly designed the Landaulet, too, as a chauffeur-driven car with a partition and a driver’s area all in black, to which the generously dimensioned passenger compartment, all in white and spanned by a large folding roof, creates a colour contrast, underscoring the special status of the occupants.
Maybach technicians have removed the rear roof module in order to afford passengers an unobstructed view of the sky above. The side walls remain, and have merely been invisibly reinforced with an integral tubular steel structure. As these measures have not altered the silhouette of the luxury saloon, the generously dimensioned doors and the complete interior, uniquely configured with reclining seats, remain unchanged.
When closed the black soft-top of the Landaulet rests on the roof frame and is wind- and weather-proof. When requested by the passengers, the chauffeur operates a switch in the centre console. Fully automatically, electric motors then open the two locks which fasten the folding top to the roof frame; the top is folded and gently deposited on the parcel shelf in the rear, together with its integral rear windscreen made of single-layer safety glass.
One hydraulic cylinder each on the left and right side open and close the top virtually noiselessly. The necessary driving power is furnished by an electro-hydraulic motor hidden away in the side of the boot where it does not obstruct the luggage compartment. The opening and closing of the roof are choreographed to take place quickly, but without unseemly haste, and take well under 20 seconds. Of course, even with the top down the luggage compartment is always fully accessible.
The chauffeur is able to enclose the folded roof with a fine white tonneau cover, which both conceals the roof mechanism from view and completes the overall picture of outstanding elegance. A large logo reading “Maybach Landaulet” is embroidered onto the cover, where it is visible to following traffic - though naturally in an elegant and discreet white-on-white. After all, the Maybach Landaulet Study does not wish to achieve its effect with superficial stylistic features, but rather with the distinguished air of a first-class butler.
White paintwork and white wheels
This impression is accentuated by the shining white paintwork of the study, an exclusive finish named Antigua white. This gleaming white paint finish is built up by experienced specialists in an involved process layer by layer - almost twice as many layers as normally found on other high-quality automobiles. In contrast to conventional paintwork with a single colour-determining base coat, two paints are necessary to obtain the incomparable, mother-of-pearl-like sheen. One of these paints contains mica, which is responsible for the exceptional lustre of the colour, which slightly changes according to the incidence of light and appears especially bright in sunlight. The paint coats mostly are applied by hand. Several layers of clear coat finally make the paintwork remarkably resistant.
Visual highlights are provided by 20-inch wheels specially designed for the Landaulet Study. These are also painted in white with 11 high-sheen spokes. Michelin Pilot Sport high-performance size 275/45 R 20 tyres manufactured specifically for Maybach are mounted on the wheels. Other exclusive features for the study include white indicators in the front and rear light clusters in dark red, as well as a slim third brake light elegantly recessed into the boot lid.
All in black - the chauffeur’s workplace
The interior colour scheme is another point which illustrates that the Maybach Landaulet Study is conceived as a chauffeur-driven car. The passenger compartment in the spacious rear of the vehicle is styled a tasteful white, whereas the chauffeur’s area is entirely in black. Though this does make the respective roles quite clear, the seat behind the steering wheel of the study certainly should be one of the most coveted workplaces for a chauffeur. For here, too, only exceptionally valuable materials are used.
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 parts have black piano lacquer surfaces. And for the extensive leather appointments Maybach uses an exclusive, deep black, glossy leather. The high-sheen black stromboli leather imparts the same deep black to the leather appointments as the piano lacquer, thereby giving the interior a look which is both exciting and harmonious at the same time.
To achieve this exceptional gloss, the leather specialists at Maybach Manufaktur took the existing nappa/semi-aniline leather and refined it further in an additional processing stage. This consists of “ironing” it to make the surface even smoother and shinier, at the same time making it appear “blacker”, especially in contrast with the way the light plays on it.
White leather and black stone
Highly skilled craftsmanship, unerring taste, the use of exclusive and in part unique materials plus the very highest standards of quality played a decisive role in the design of the rear, and have produced an outstanding result. Maybach Manufaktur has fitted out the passenger compartment almost completely in exquisite Seychelles white nappa leather. In addition to the comfortable seats, the doors and the window frames, too, are trimmed in this exquisite white leather. This even extends to the finest details: for example, the reverse of the elegant high-society mobile telephone by Vertu is lined in white leather and lies in a custom-made, leather-lined charger cradle in the console between the passenger seats. Consistently, the stylists have used white leather even for the coat hooks, for the recesses of the handles on the armrest and for a coin-sized cap which normally is not seen at all.
The footwell and roof liner of this high-end luxury landaulet are also in white - the floor is carpeted in white velour and the roof lined with a high-quality white fabric.
A dramatic contrast is provided by inserts and decorative trim in black. But white and black is not the only theme: warm and cool contrasts also help to create atmosphere. Some surfaces in the rear passenger compartment feature glossy black piano lacquer, while several elements are made of exclusive black star galaxy granite from India . This rare stone is deep black in colour, with numerous gold inclusions.
Stone is for eternity
Maybach deliberately opted for natural stone as trim material because it is felt to convey high quality. Famous sculptures testify to this. Trim parts made of stone are the pinnacle of exclusiveness in cars. In the Maybach Landaulet Study, the frames of the seat switch clusters in the doors, the edges of the centre console, the covers of the compartments between the passenger seats, mouldings, and the middle section of the partition, almost as wide as the car and containing the recessed video screens, are made of the exquisite Indian granite and gleam like very artistic sculptures. The working surfaces of the folding tables accommodated between the seats and edged with white leather and chrome are also made of granite.
The select natural material has a very special aura and displays the living brilliance which only nature can create: feldspar sparkles in the natural stone, which glitters and glistens with three-dimensional crystals that give the stone a fascinating depth. Such effects could never be imitated with plastics.
Unconventional ways to bend stone
The engineers and designers had to employ unconventional methods to wrap the extremely thin stone plate around tight radii and even drape it around corners without diminishing the stone’s exciting optical effect. They fastened a thin sheet of granite to a kind of adhesive film and then crushed it between two rollers at an exactly defined pressure and speed to give it an almost uniform grain size. The result was not an amorphous mixture - each grain retains precisely the position it had before. Since the microcrystalline structure is not destroyed, visually the stone appears unimpaired after this treatment, has retained all its valuable properties, yet still can be put into almost any shape.
The stone passed the most demanding tests with flying colours. Its light-fastness is flawless, and in crash tests the stone got best grades. No wonder. After all, stone knows no rebound resilience, and since the trim parts consist of intentionally and selectively segmented stone, as in the case of safety glass no sharp edges result when it breaks.
Generous spaciousness and first-class comfort
The basis for outstanding comfort is the generous spaciousness of the rear passenger compartment, which the Landaulet Study has adopted unchanged from the Maybach 62 S. Two superbly comfortable individual seats positively invite the rear passengers to sit back and relax. As a highlight, the elegant 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 jets. Rear passengers can call up a pre-set reclined position at the push of a button, whereupon the backrest smoothly tilts backwards by up to 47 degrees whilst, simultaneously, a lower-leg support and footrest extend forwards. This means that occupants can enjoy the ride in an extremely relaxed reclined position. Of course, the seat can easily be adjusted to each passenger's own particular comfort needs.
Seat comfort is further enhanced by pneumatically adjustable air cushions in the backrest and a program-controlled massage function. Pressing the "Pulse" button inflates and deflates the central air cushion in the lumbar region at precisely defined intervals and with varying intensity. As confirmed by orthopaedic experts, this pulsating action relieves stress in the back muscles and boosts the metabolism of the intervertebral discs. Each relaxing back massage lasts for five minutes and can be repeated as often as required.
Sophisticated integral system with crash-responsive backrest for outstanding safety
As well as being exceptionally comfortable, the reclining seats in the Maybach Landaulet Study offer an outstanding level of safety - in any position. The restraint system incorporating the belt tensioner, belt-force limiter and sidebag is integrated in the backrests, meaning that the rear passengers can enjoy optimal protection even when the seats are fully reclined. Further safety features include a crash-responsive backrest which is moved into an upright position in the event of a frontal impact and the tensioners on the belt buckles which also tension the lap belt in the event of an accident.
Partition with electric transparency control
Designed from the outset as a chauffeur-driven limousine, the study is equipped with a partition. The lower section of the partition consists of an aluminium sandwich structure, trimmed partly with a large black granite element, while the upper section comprises a laminated glass panel that can be lowered by electric motor.
Two separate systems for a perfect climate all round
Driving enjoyment of the very highest calibre - thanks to the luxurious ambience and extremely spacious accommodation - is further enhanced by the climate comfort afforded by the Landaulet Study. To provide effective climate control in the spacious interior, Maybach equips the vehicle with two of the most sophisticated automatic climate control units currently available - one for the front compartment and one specially for the rear compartment. The rear climate control unit can also be operated by the chauffeur using a control panel in the front centre console. Thanks to its high performance capability and intelligent control set-up, the system allows the occupants in the front as well as the passengers in the luxurious rear seats to adjust and program the climate control system individually. The parameters of the climate control system have been adapted to the conditions in the Landaulet Study and ensure that open-air travel remains a pleasure even under adverse climatic conditions.
State-of-the-art entertainment and communications
As in the Maybach 62 S, the rear console is the centrepiece for entertainment, communications and travelling pleasure. Numerous stowage compartments enable the rear passengers to tidy away both large and small items conveniently. The exquisitely designed interior door panels alone house ten stowage compartments whose flap-style lids smoothly open at the push of a button. However, it is the granite-trimmed multifunctional centre console between the seats that forms the heart of the stowage concept in the rear of the Maybach cars.
This is where Maybach engineers have grouped everything relating to the entertainment and pleasure of the rear-seat passengers: a DVD player, six-CD changer, a cooler compartment with its own electric compressor and an intelligent system which holds glasses, goblets and champagne bottles safely in position. The champagne flutes - specifically designed for the Maybach in high-grade sterling silver – are held by clips that automatically grip them above the base when they are put down. The clips are released as soon as the rear passenger picks up the flute again.
Engine and suspension
The Maybach Landaulet Study is powered by the uprated V12 engine which Maybach engineers have developed further for the Maybach 57 S and Maybach 62 S together with the specialists at Mercedes-AMG. Thanks to twin turbochargers and water intercooling, the V12 develops a maximum output of 450 kW/612 hp from a displacement of 5980 cubic centimetres. This is continuously available between 4800 and 5100 rpm, and the engine also delivers an impressive maximum torque of 1000 newton metres between 2000 and 4000 rpm.
In line with the Maybach approach, the twelve-cylinder biturbo engine is hand-assembled in the Mercedes-AMG engine workshops, or Manufaktur. The “One man, one engine” philosophy is reflected by the signature of the technician responsible on the characteristic model plate, which is attached to the engine cover of the V12 biturbo - a guarantee of the greatest care and highest quality.
Equipped with the AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control) electronically controlled air suspension system and the Adaptive Damping System (ADS II), the Landaulet model achieves an outstanding level of ride comfort whilst on the other hand proving that even a prestigious automobile can display excellent agility and handling qualities.
In addition to large, internally ventilated brake discs - with twin callipers at the front - both the study and the Maybach 62 S are equipped with two electro-hydraulic Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC™) braking systems working in tandem. Together with ESP, ASR, ABS and Brake Assist, this provides the Landaulet Study with the very latest in effective, high-tech handling control systems.
Innovative technology from sister-brand Mercedes-Benz
Like all Maybach saloons, the Landaulet also benefits from the unrivalled experience of sister brand Mercedes-Benz in the development and production of high-quality cars in the luxury segment. Important innovations from Mercedes-Benz, successfully developed further for the Maybach saloons, are standard equipment in every Maybach and are of course also on board the Landaulet Study - examples include the electronically controlled air suspension AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control), LINGUATRONIC voice control and the control and display system COMAND APS.