Carlsson CS50 Versaillles Vying to be King of Geneva Gaud

25 units will be built, costing up to $545,340 a piece.

Inspiration is said to come from Louis the Great's palace, but all we can see is a Mercedes-Benz S-Class that looks like a body shop went out for lunch partway through a custom gold wrap. If you thought the Carlsson CS50 Versailles would look better in person (going by the logic that it can't look much worse)- you're wrong. But it is certain to grab the attention of the aftermarket firm's Chinese clientele. Styled as a “tribute to the French aristocratic way of life,” Carlsson says it spent over 300 man-hours creating the CS50 Versailles.

The exterior is coated with 1,000 sheets of wafer-thin gold leaf, which was painstakingly applied to the sheet metal, bumpers, door handles and grille. Including clear-coating, the process takes 14 days and is said to be as long-lasting as normal paint. The wheels sport a mirror finish reflecting (pun intended) the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. A body kit featuring front lip and trunk lid spoilers and chunky exhaust tips round off the exterior treatment. Inside, around $16,000 worth of gold trims the cabin, with the steering wheel, cup holders and infotainment controls the main beneficiaries of the precious metal.

High-tech goodies such as HD screens and a choice of leather finishes and styles are also on offer. Carlsson is building just 25 units – 10 of which are said to have already been claimed – ranging from $268,000 for the CS40 to $545,340 for the 690-hp twin-turbo V12-powered CS65 Versailles.

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