PICTURES: Maybach s650 & Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV land at Harare Airport

THE crumbling Zimbabwean economy and all its problems has not deterred the affluent and monied folks in Harare from bringing in two more head-turning beasts of the road: a Mercedes-Maybach s650 and Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV have just landed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare.

Well, a car is just plastic and metal, some would say. Not until you consider how luxurious the palatial Mercedes-Maybach S-class truly is.

The Mercedes-Maybach s650 as seen at Harare Airport Monday afternoon

Passengers can stretch out and relax on hot-stone-style massaging leather recliners and enjoy the Burmester audio system while an atomizer fills the cabin with one of Maybach’s five signature fragrances.

The Mercedes-Maybach s650 as seen at Harare Airport Monday afternoon

The Maybach S650’s 621-hp twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 provide effortless motivation, what with a starting price of a cool $240,000, MINIMUM. Despite the ominous appearance of quad exhaust pipes and ‘V12’ lettering on the front wings, the engine need never be heard; Mercedes describes the Maybach as the world’s quietest production saloon car, and it may well be right.

The list of luxuries is long and – inevitably – focused on enhancing passenger comfort while the chauffeur (who is one of the few items not available as standard but will almost inevitably be installed post-delivery) focuses on getting from A to B.

The standard equipment list includes a chrome twin exhaust system, LED headlights, a sliding panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and go, run-flat tyres, tinted rear windows and a 360-degree camera sytem on the outside.

Inside there is velour floor mats, Mercedes’ Air Balance fragance system, ventilated front and rear seats, electric sunblinds, electrically adjustable and massaging seats, a glass cabinet, four-zone climate control, reclining rear seats, and heated armrests and steering wheel.

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On the entertainment front there is Mercedes-Benz 12.3 inch Comand infotainment system complete with sat nav, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, DAB radio, Wi-fi hotspot and a TV tuner, alongside a rear entertainment package which includes 10in screens, a DVD player and wireless headphones.

The other car to land at Harare today is the Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV…. This is Rolls-Royce’s very first SUV, named after the largest diamond ever found. Sporting rear suicide doors and an opulent cabin, the Cullinan commands a starting price around $325,000—and for good reason.

The Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV as seen at Harare Airport Monday afternoon

The spacious cabin is lined in box-grain leather, lambs-wool carpeting, beautiful wood trim, and milled-aluminum accents.

For an even higher level of luxury, Rolls-Royce will customize almost every part of the Cullinan’s already lavish interior with whatever the buyer can imagine. The exterior is classic Rolls-Royce, but its hatchback configuration allows for the addition of a pair of leather-wrapped seats and a picnic table that pop out of the Cullinan’s tailgate—this is by far the most luxurious way to take in a polo match at the country estate.

The Rolls Royce Cullinan SUV as seen at Harare Airport Monday afternoon

Its twin-turbo 6.7-liter V-12 provides 563 effortless horsepower and runs as whisper-quiet as you would expect, lest it disturb the VIPs in its cabin. Rolls-Royce estimates a zero-to-60-mph time of just 4.8 seconds—impressive for a large SUV that weighs as much as the Cullinan does.

The Cullinan rides on an air suspension that adjusts its height automatically using a road-scanning camera; ride comfort is beyond the standards of regular luxury vehicles, and it wafts down the road transmitting nothing unpleasant to the interior.

Even though building an SUV is a clear break from tradition for the storied British brand, it’s still an uncompromised Rolls-Royce in every way.

Next time you see one of these beasts rolling on the streets of Harare, please turn your head with no shame at all. Who wouldn’t? — ZOOMZimbabwe