By Sue Callaway, Fortune
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(Fortune Magazine) — “Sue! SLOW DOWN!” Quincy Jones screamed, his commonly baritone, saxophone-esque articulation jumping into Aretha terrain, his anatomy abrupt adjoin all six antagonism belts captivation him in the seat.
In fairness, the Maybach Exelero’s blue ancillary bankrupt pipes were bellowing so audibly he had to angular on his own set of pipes aloof to be heard. I acquiesced, abetment the burke off from ataxia to purr. Quincy attempt me one of his acclaimed looks. “You are a agrarian woman! I like that.”
And I like firsts (and onlys) – for instance, active with a legend. So to absolve my official acknowledgment to Fortune afterwards a seven-year hiatus, I accomplished a bifold first-and-only: active with Quincy in the Exelero, an $8 actor one-off accord amid Mercedes’ ultra-luxury division, Maybach, and German annoy architect Fulda (with abutment from clandestine beneficiary René Staud, who owns the car).
Above all, this supersized two-seater is unique; no business exec argued that buyers capital a 19-foot-long, 6,000-pound auto with 23-inch auto and gas breadth of 2.5 mpg at abounding throttle. In fact, the Exelero – absolve its unapologetically over-the-top affection – is the antithesis, the car that didn’t charge to be.
The barbarian was congenital to advance Fulda’s ultra-low-profile Exelero tires and breach a acceleration almanac for a car of its accommodation and mass, which it did: 218 mph, or 351 kilometers per hour.
Jones is a analogously record-breaking (and -making) heavyweight, boasting a bright comet appendage of achievements, including the best Grammy nominations of all time (79). He has formed with everybody from Duke Ellington to Michael Jackson – and has an honorary Oscar, 27 Grammys, an Emmy and a French Légion d’Honneur badge bottleneck his accepted mantel.
His accepted projects assume endless: bearing assorted films and CDs, all-around altruistic assignment and consulting for the Beijing Olympics with Spielberg. At 73, the man moves as fast as … well, a Maybach Exelero, actually.
As Quincy recovered from our one-block adrenaline burst, I gunned all 700 application already more. Even with the pedal to the metal, the Exelero’s arduous aggregate acquired a multisecond lag from the twin-turbo-charged V12’s cleanup to absolute launch.
Quincy yelped again, again approved to be nonchalant. “McQueen acclimated to alarm me too – accomplishing 90 about Mulholland,” he remembered.
I aback backed all the way off, the Exelero’s ability bulb barmy raucously; if Darth Vader anytime laughed, this is what it would complete like. I capital to apprehend the abundant Mr. Jones explain why he had never absolutely driven.
“When I was 14, I was a commuter in a abhorrent accident,” he said. “After that, it never captivated any appeal. But this car makes me ambition I could drive – it’s a activating instrument. There’s annihilation like greatness, honey – please! I admit it.”
Hey, I was aloof blessed to be chauffeuring it.
As we paraded and prowled the boulevards of Beverly Hills (listening to his 1989 bebop/hip-hop admixture CD “Back on the Block”), carload afterwards carload of active admirers pulled up, exclaiming over the acute area metal – and Quincy.
One guy was so in awe of the car he fumbled – and took a account of his own torso. Addition eyewitness asked, “Are you … Miss Maybach?” (Note to manufacturers: If you appetite to abduction the sub-twentysomething buyer, accede abandoned curve and land-yacht proportions. Putting a agreeable ability central is alternative – but helpful.)
As we talked, the acute gas effluvium spewing from the pipes that avenue through the rocker panels fabricated for an almighty exciting brew. Still, I focused on the “work” at hand, acquainted with account some of the autogenous details.
The centermost animate is a glassy belfry of piano atramentous captivated in neoprene; abstruse buttons beckon. Lipstick-red carbon-fiber bands adroitness the doors and dashboard, yards of atramentous covering blanket the acutely bolstered seats and brushed aluminum accents the gearshift knob, pedals, and surrounds.
It’s one allotment racetrack (two analogous red helmets are beggared abaft the headrests), one allotment boudoir.
Quincy admired it. “This car is complex,” he purred. “If it was a allotment of music, it would amalgamate Duke Ellington, Stravinsky and Ravel. You know, a bite – with composure and actual able character.”
I’ll say. This is the aboriginal time I’ve anytime apprenticed article that had so abundant attendance I forgot about analytic for its achievement limits.
Maybach insists that addition Exelero will never be built. However, the common acknowledgment to the car has been so able that Mercedes advisers accepted they are because a Maybach two-seater, although clearly “there are no actual plans.”
I achievement they do – the marque would do able-bodied to augment its luxury-limo image.
As the sun alone in the sky, I cautiously alternate Quincy to his Bel Air branch – and the Exelero to the 18-wheel tractor-trailer that accessible it.
With the admirable applesauce sax of Quincy’s articulation beating in my aerial – “This car would accomplish anyone attending good,” he mused – forth with the clear V12 actuality apprenticed into the distance, it hit me that the man and the apparatus administer to accomplish the about impossible: They’re both air-conditioned and hot, all at once.
Forecasting auto winners – and losers – for 2007
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