Mud is easy when you have 450mm of ground clearance backed by 1000Nm of torque under the hood.

Stand aside Bentlley, and Rolls-Royce had better rethink its idea of off-roading luxury because nothing can properly prepare you for the extravagance that is the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet.

The uber rich do things differently to you and I so when we got the chance to experience a day of off-roading the way they do with the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, I immediately packed my passport and pith helmet.

Up front it’s business as usual, that is if your business if driving the already opulent G63 AMG from which this is based on.

The G650 Landaulet is a vehicle which not only ticks all the off-roading boxes but adds even more exclusivity than the regular top-end AMG Mercedes G-Class as only 99 will be made.

Our private jet landed on a small airstrip deep in the wilderness of Botswana, where we were greeted by the giant G650 on the tarmac.

Feeling vulnerable to what was hiding behind the bushes, we were glad that all G650s come with the 630bhp, twin-turbocharged, 6-litre, V12 AMG engine in case we inadvertently disturbed a giant rhino or lion that we were told were parading nearby.

Despite being 578mm longer than a G-Wagon, the rear of the G650 is strictly for two only with individual leather seats that recline almost to a full flatbed like an airline business class seat, except this one’s in the sun if you decide the fold the roof down.

Standing tall. The G650 Landaulet is no match for the gate keepers of the African jungle.We spotted giraffes in the distance and just like one of the long-necked animals, I stood tall, through the roof, peering out ahead with binoculars to see for myself.

The king of the jungle meets the king of the road. Fortunately one has a full belly and some shade to sleep off lunch.Later, we heard that the King of the jungle, a male lion was resting under a small tree, so we gingerly headed over, careful not to spill the Dom Perignon from the chilled aluminum goblets in their custom housings.

With an almost silent whir from the powered seats, I sat upright, lowered the tinted window and made eye contact.

The G650 Landaulet is a unique combination of luxurious chauffeured saloon and with almost half a metre of ground clearance, a heavy-duty off-roader.

They literally took the interior from one of the world’s finest limousines, the Mercedes-Maybach S600L and placed it in an open cockpit off-roader. Genius!An electrically operated glass partition separates the rear compartment from the driver’s section and the glass can be changed from transparent to opaque at the press of a button.

The hood closes in a matter of seconds while on the go, which is probably a good thing when the dust starts flying.The rear interior is a complete lift from the Mercedes-Maybach S600L with similar legroom and two powered, multi-adjustable seats accompanied by a large business console with thermal cup holders between the seats.

Controls for the glass partition are integrated behind the cup holders and like an aircraft seat, the centre console comes with two leather-covered tables that can be folded out to provide a comfortable writing surface, big enough for a notebook computer.

By Damien Reid

The Specs:

Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet
Engine: 6.0-litre, twin-turbo, V12
Transmission: seven-speed automatic AWD
Max Power: 630bhp @ 4800rpm
Max Torque: 1000Nm @ 2300rpm
Top Speed: 230 kmh
0-100kmh: 5.6 seconds
Price: €830,000 / $US900,000

www.mercedes-benz.com

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