Probably one of the most beautiful concept cars ever created, the Maybach Exelero was born in 2005 from the cooperation with tyre producer Fulda, for a precise purpose: high-performance tyre testing.
The story goes like this. In 2005, Fulda needed a car that was capable of exceeding the 350 km/h mark in order to test its high-performance tyres. Since a Maybach model had already been built to serve as a test car for Fulda in 1930, the connection was refreshed a few decades later.
As a result, on May 1, 2005, racing driver Klaus Ludwig drove the Maybach Exelero fitted with Fulda tyres in Nardo, Italy, and reached a top speed of 351.45 km/h – setting a new world speed record for limousines on series-production tyres.
We are talking about a vehicle with an unladen weight of 2.66 tons, with the dimensions of a small van, going over 350 km/h. As you can imagine, the tyres had to cope with weight, speed and size problems but also had to provide safety, stability, comfort and control.
The Exelero was based on the Maybach 57 and it received a 5.9-litre V12 engine (four-stroke petrol engine with two turbochargers) capable of delivering a power output of 700 hp and around 1,000 Nm of torque.
The project team started working on the Maybach Exelero prototype in 2003 and nine months later the draft of one of the students involved in the project was selected for realization. This is how Exelero got its elegant design symbiosis of past and present car generations.
Regarding its name, the prototype was baptised using the Latin-Italian terms ex-cello/eccelso (sublime, illustrious, outstanding) and accelero (accelerated).
For its interior, the Maybach Exelero used materials such as natural leather, neoprene, coated perforated aluminium sheeting and high-sheen carbon-fibre surfaces in black and red.
The car was completed in the spring of 2005, after just 25 months had passed between idea and finish.