The Project Maybach Off-Roader idea, one of Mercedes-craziest Benz’s in a while, was just unveiled. The automobile is the result of a partnership between Virgil Abloh, the creator of Off-White and former creative director of Louis Vuitton, and Gorden Wagener, the company’s chief design officer. The Maybach Off-Roader was one of Abloh’s final designs before his death in 2021 from an aggressive type of cancer. The vehicle is unlike anything Maybach has ever revealed before, providing both ultra-exclusive luxury and an all-terrain degree of functionality often only seen in campers or overland SUVs.
It is a characteristically out-of-the-box design by Abloh, drawing inspiration from locales that Maybach ordinarily wouldn’t consider. It also has a tonne of tiny touches that give the automobile personality, although the majority of them are simple to miss at first sight. The Maybach Off-Roader is only a concept car, and it is extremely improbable that it will ever see production. However, the absence of production limitations allowed Wagener and Abloh to throw out the manual and cram the car with some of the most outrageous features of any concept in recent memory.
Virgil Abloh’s unique style
The Maybach Off-Roader idea stands out from all prior Maybach models in terms of how distinctive it appears. Maybachs have been built on the most popular S-Class limousine since Mercedes-Benz relaunched the brand at the turn of the century, and they have a lot in common with their less expensive counterparts in terms of appearance. Abloh’s idea is completely different, with a distinctive front end that nearly resembles a Rolls-Royce and rows of LED halo lights that are included on the bull bars and the roof rack of the car.
The easiest way to describe it is as a remix of a standard Maybach, and it is a reflection of the work that Abloh produced for his company Off-White. Off-White, a brand that was just established in 2012, swiftly rose to prominence in the fashion industry by adopting popular looks and giving them a distinctive spin, frequently fusing varied inspirations with the company’s recognisable “quotation marks” logo. When Abloh took on the role of Creative Director at Louis Vuitton in 2018, he was also credited with revitalising the brand’s menswear collection. It appears that Mercedes-Maybach was also in the midst of forming a long-term cooperation with Abloh. The Maybach Off-Roader idea was one of just two Mercedes projects that the designer oversaw; however, his untimely death eliminated any prospect of that occurring.
Maybach is prominently branded.
Regular Maybachs and Virgil Abloh’s Off-White have one thing in common: they both want significant branding on each of their goods. The outside and interior of the Maybach Off-Roader concept car are covered in Maybach emblems, which is not unusual. The Mercedes tri-star is replaced with the typical “MM” emblem on the front of the automobile, and the Maybach name is printed in the company’s trademark typeface at the back. Along with the outside halo lights, the centre of the front and rear lights also have large Maybach emblems.
The inside is also brand-heavy, with the MM logo displayed on the steering wheel and strong branding on the sides of the seats. In fact, it’s hard to gaze inside the automobile without seeing a brand somewhere. Given that “logomania” has emerged as one of the most contentious yet enduringly fashionable themes to emerge from modern design companies, it appears that the automobile is representative of current fashion trends in many ways. It seems sense that Abloh carried that distinctive aspect of his design with him to his work in the automobile industry given that his prior work in the industry was instrumental in popularising those ideas.
Brand-named Maybach axe
While the majority of the branding on the vehicle is intended to serve as a visual cue to drivers and observers of the prestige status of Maybach’s most recent design, there are also some odder elements. Just behind the driver’s seat, a Maybach-branded axe with the words “Emergency use only” written on the glass cover is incorporated into the side of the vehicle. Although, let’s face it, the likelihood of any Maybach owner ever having to use an axe to cut their way out of a problem is essentially zero, it is a useful addition to the car in principle.
Whole roll cage
Roll cages are an ugly but necessary safety component that is sometimes concealed by pillars that are positioned strategically and lashings of leather or polished metal. The Maybach Off-Roader concept turns that notion on its head by proudly displaying its flimsy roll cage on the outside. The cage smartly incorporates a roof rack with capacity for multiple bags or other pieces of luggage, rising from the car’s bonnet and extending all the way over the passenger cabin.
Although, as with the axe, it seems doubtful that any hypothetical owner would be in a circumstance where that would be helpful, it would also, in principle, give an additional layer of protection in the case of a rollover. The cage is painted the same Colorado beige colour as the bodywork, supporting the notion that, when done properly, a roll cage can be integrated into a luxurious, exquisite design as opposed to being merely buried out of sight.
Solar cells installed on the hood
At this time, every automaker is paying close attention to sustainability, and the concept of environmentally friendly automobiles is receiving more attention than ever. The Off-Roader incorporates that idea by having a noticeable array of solar panels positioned on its bonnet that might be used to produce electricity to increase the vehicle’s range. It’s important to note that everything here is just hypothetical because the exhibition car is inert and lacks a powertrain. Although no information is provided on the power or range that would be accessible to drivers, Mercedes is careful to emphasise that if the automobile did have a motor, it would be all-electric.
More Maybach insignia are woven into the solar panels, which also have a tinted finish that virtually blends them in with the rest of the hood. Industry analysts have noted that while solar panels are only able to provide a relatively tiny quantity of power, adding them to automobiles is not necessarily as ecologically helpful as it would seem. The additional A/C strain brought on by leaving a car in the sun all day to charge it can quickly devour that energy. Although the notion of mounting solar panels on cars may be faulty in practise, it’s intriguing to see how Abloh managed to subtly incorporate them into the design of the car without detracting from it.
Sustainable interior design
Many of the materials used in the Off-Roader concept car were produced using eco-friendly methods, carrying the sustainability theme from the outside to the interior. For example, coffee shells were used to organically tan the leather that covers a large portion of the inside surfaces of the automobile. Mercedes’ press statement refers to the blend of hand-dyed cotton and wool in the car seat headrest as being “locally sourced,” but it doesn’t elaborate on what exactly the company means by that word. The headrest may be unfurled and used as an overnight blanket.
The Maybach Off-interior Roader’s materials are limited to some highly polished metal. It appears that Abloh’s goal was to keep things simple, emphasising on the quality of the few types of finishes that were employed more than the number, rather than displaying a wide range of materials in quest of the ultimate extravagance.
It seems sense that the Off-Roader concept’s dashboard would be similarly unique given its distinctive overall appearance. It doesn’t let us down, since the standard electronic parking brake is replaced right away with a large, glossy brake button to the left of the steering wheel. The opposite side of the car’s dash features a spherical compass, and between the two is a panel with several switches and buttons that can be flipped to display a large screen.
This screen would probably be where the car’s infotainment systems and settings, such the climate control, could be changed if it were a fully-functional vehicle, but as it’s solely for display, users can play a specially-made video game on it instead. It’s a cool feature, but Tesla already includes a variety of games in its production vehicles, so it’s not really special. Although there have been some concerns about the security of this function, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has still persevered with development and promised Steam integration in the near future.
The car’s utilitarian character is still visible inside, despite its strikingly unique appearance and ultra-luxurious finishing. The seats stand out the most because they can be folded entirely flat and inserted into the back of the vehicle’s headrests. In addition to folding out into a blanket, the normal seat headrest also does this, putting passengers ready for a restful night’s sleep in just a few easy steps. However, because of the panoramic sunroof, there won’t be much privacy, so drivers will need to make sure they are in a location that is sufficiently secluded before turning in for the night.
When it becomes dark, there’s no need to fear either because the bed’s back headrests have tiny ring lights that shine on the back of the vehicle, allowing its occupants to read or, more likely, check on social media before going to sleep. Because of the concept’s enormous size and plenty of storage spaces, there is more than enough place for overnight bags, making exciting weekends in the bush simple.
Attachable roof tent
The roof rack has bolts for a roof tent, which comes with an extensible canopy to defend against the weather, in case camping in the cabin isn’t quite enough for certain drivers. According to the official photos, the room appears to be spacious enough for one person to sit in comfort or two at most. The Maybach might pass for an overland rig after the tent was up, even though it is much longer and fancier than most.
The large BFGoodrich tyres mounted on 17″ rims contribute to the overlander look. It is unclear how the company would approach this if a production Maybach off-roader were to ever materialise as tyres this size aren’t recognised for their on-road comfort. The Maybach Off-Roader, however, may ignore these drawbacks since it is an unusable idea. The end product is a luxury automobile that stands apart from the competition.
Concept-inspired production vehicle
Mercedes also showed a small batch of Maybach S-Classes that will go into production with the Off-Roader concept, despite the fact that it may not amount to much more than a ruggedly glitzy rolling shell. A lot of the design cues from the Off-Roader concept are mirrored in the Limited Edition Maybach by Virgil Abloh, including the recognisable Colorado beige and black two-tone paint job, to honour the designer’s body of work. Customers will receive a custom-made 1/18th copy of their automobile inside a commemorative hardwood box with Abloh and Maybach’s emblem. It is only available in extremely small quantities.
The MBUX system will have some of its components modified by Abloh, making the car’s user interface distinct. Mercedes also made a suggestion that other design features from Abloh’s concept car may appear in a Maybach production vehicle in the future, adding, “[we] appreciate Virgil Abloh for the motivation to explore every day the power of cross-industry communication to envisage a better, more inclusive future.”