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Project Alligator. That's the internal code-name for a potential collaboration between Mercedes and Aston Martin on everything from drivetrains to platforms. CAR's September issue gets into all the details, which includes such tasty nuggest as the possible use of AMG's 6.2-liter V8 in the next Vantage, porting over Mercedes' future eight-speed auto 'box into Astons, sharing platforms between

both automaker's high-end models
(think SL and beyond), cooperating on the development of diesels and hybrids, and using Aston's future products to keep Maybach alive and maybe even help the wayward ultra-luxury brand thrive with up to five new models. But it gets even bigger.

A collaboration between the two could place M-B in a good position to buy Aston Martin if its new owners, including Prodrive's David Richards, decide to exit the automaking biz. As CAR points out, however, the only potential loser from Project Alligator coming to fruition is Mercedes' other partner, McLaren.

Big-bucks enthusiasts annoyed that they're not the only ones at the club with a Veyron can now ensure that they arrive in total exclusivity.

That's because the one-off Maybach Exelero, commissioned by Fulda to act as a high-profile demonstrator for its tire line of the same name, is now for sale.

The Exelero isn't some delicate flower of a show car. Based on the Maybach 57 and powered by a 700-horsepower version of that car's turbocharged V12, the Exelero reached 218 mph at Nardo.

In many ways, Exelero represents what Maybach could have and should have been -- a place where daring styling and incredible performance could merge with extreme luxury to compete with Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

Instead, while the marque's sedans clearly get the luxury part of the equation right, in terms of styling, they basically work in anonymity, looking like peculiar old S-Class sedans.

There's nothing anonymous about the Exelero, though, and for €5,000,000 (around $7.8 million USD), you can drive the sybaritic supercar that Daimler should have given Maybach all along.

It's a brilliant marketing come-on, really. Who wants to climb into a GAZ-24, however appealing it might be to obscure-car guys, when you could sink into the all-enveloping sumptuousness of a Maybach 62? Need to get to Gorky Park quickly?

A Porsche Cayenne outfitted with a meter and checkerboard detailing awaits at the curb. It's not just a fancied-up VW, still carrying the VR6 behind the Porsche crest, either.

No, this Cayenne is a TechArt Magnum, packing enough horsepower to light Long Island. Shaking that covey of shifty-eyed men in the shiny black Zil won't be a problem. It's not known if the fare is commensurate with the price of the vehicle, however.

but that may prove to be all talk if Maybach doesn't present a solid business case. Zetsche confirmed that there are currently no plans on the table for new Maybach products - cutting short speculation over

a new baby Maybach positioned between the current 57 and the Mercedes S-Class - and that even the outrageously-priced 62 Landaulet was unlikely to make much headway in turning the brand's fortunes around. We guess P.Diddy and his crew will have to find another ride.


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