By now, we all know about the modern-day revival of the Maybach name. The Mercedes-Benz brand debuted in the early 2000s looking to take on Rolls-Royce. It launched with a car that too-closely resembled the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Then the recession hit, and Maybach folded. That pretty much sums it up — until recently, when Maybach re-launched as an ultra-luxury trim level on certain Mercedes-Benz models.
But I often wonder what Maybach could have been if they had launched the Maybach Exelero.
For those who don’t know the Exelero: It was a crazy-looking concept car that was first revealed at an auto show in Berlin in 2005. Unlike the restrained, boring Maybach sedan models, the Exelero was absolutely wild-looking, with huge proportions and amazing presence. I rarely like vehicles that look like obscene representations of wealth, and I almost never like concept cars — but I loved this thing.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The Exelero debuted as Maybach began its decline (which began almost immediately after its launch). Mercedes-Benz apparently decided to cancel the whole brand before the Exelero got off the ground. Hence, the Maybach Exelero was shelved after just one concept car was produced.
But sometimes I wonder if the Exelero could have jumpstarted Maybach. Yes, it would have been released during the economic recession, but it also would have been the first luxury coupe with that much presence and panache in decades, especially since Ferrari and Bentley had given their vehicles restrained, stoic designs. I really think the Exelero would have transformed Maybach from a brand that makes an "expensive S-Class lookalike" into one that’s truly aspirational — especially if Maybach had followed it up with an SUV.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. The garish Exelero remains a one of one, likely stuffed away in some Mercedes-Benz warehouse, never to be driven or revealed for its undoubted array of quirks and features.
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