A little over six years have passed since Mercedes introduced what arguably remains the most ludicrous version of the G-Class to date. The G650 Landaulet was essentially a bonkers send-off for the previous generation of the iconic off-roader. Limited to 99 units and equipped with a mighty V12 engine, the unusual G was badged as a Maybach rather than a Benz. It had an electrically folding roof, not to mention portal axles and huge fender flares.
Having debuted in March 2017, why is there still camouflage on this prototype? The mysterious vehicle was spotted sitting next to the purely electric EQG slated to come out at some point next year. You can tell by the old headlight design it's based on the previous-generation G-Class. It seems to look virtually the same as the production model, right down to the beige fabric top. It also has the same 22-inch wheels, but with a dark finish instead of the polished surface of the G650 customer cars.
One must wonder what Mercedes is up to considering the Landaulet has been out for so long. Perhaps it's working on a new version based on the W463 C-Class? Even if that's happening, we wouldn't hold our breath for a V12 under the hood since stricter emissions regulations are forcing Mercedes to kill the non-AMG V8 G-Class, so an even larger engine seems unlikely. That said, Brabus has proved it's technically possible by revealing the G V12 900 with a twin-turbo 6.3-liter engine making 888 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet (1,500 Newton-meters).
Even if we're looking at an older vehicle, the camouflage seems to be in great condition, which implies it was freshly applied by Mercedes. It could mean the three-pointed star is trying to hide something, so we could be dealing with a test mule for a new Maybach G-Class Landaulet. If not, the German luxury brand is possibly testing new hardware on a prototype it has yet to scrap.
While the V12 is no more in a G-Class, you can still have it in the Maybach S-Class S680 and the armored Guard model. As for the portal axles, Mercedes has given the latest G the 4x4 Squared treatment but the extravagant 6x6 pickup hasn't been renewed. However, Brabus did just launch the XLP 800 6x6 Adventure and XLP 900 6x6 Superblack with up to 900 hp.