Mercedes-Maybach S-Class: When the best isn’t enough

Twenty years ago, Mercedes certainly saw the way BMW and Rolls-Royce, Volkswagen Group and Bentley share a luxury limousine pie. After that, Stuttgart decided to erase the historic name of the famous German automaker Maybach, which it acquired in the 1960s. In 2002, the Germans announced a big reaction to the British luxury brands Maybach 57 and 62. It was an S-Class of its time, but it was covered with a completely individual body and interior finish. One was over 5.7 meters in length and the other was huge, 6.2 meters in length. However, customers did not appreciate these Maybachs. It actually shared too much with the S-Class without being better than the original. The 2008 financial crisis put the final nail on the coffin of the Mercedes luxury brand. But in 2015, Maybach reinvented himself. This time, Germans no longer see it as an independent brand, but rather a luxury version of the S-Class. If the sportiest Mercedes model is under the AMG banner, there is nothing more logical than more luxurious under the flag of Maybach. . And it worked. Of the previous-generation S-Class, more than one in seven sold worldwide turned out to be a Maybach version. In 2022, more than a year has passed since the latest generation of the S-Class was released from the factory. Like its predecessors, Mercedes presents a new Maybach version with subtle differences from the “regular” S-Class. The front, for example, has a chrome grille with vertical bars and Maybach lettering, another front bumper and a curved bonnet with chrome center trim. A distinctive rim stands out from the profile. A selection of rims in 19, 20 and 21″ sizes was developed specifically for this Maybach. The window perimeter is also entirely in shiny chrome. It is especially popular in markets where this type of driver sells well, such as Asia, Russia and North America. And in the B-pillar, this Mercedes-Maybach S-Class follows its own visual path. For example, the rear door is much more rectangular in shape for easier access and the rear window is no longer part of this door. The C-pillar has a double M from Maybach. But most of all, what impresses about this Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is its length. If the “normal” S-Class of 5.18 meters is not small, the long-wheelbase S-Class of 5.29 meters is already quite massive. But Maybach is much better. Add a minimum of 18 cm to the wheelbase of the longest S-Class for a total length of 5.47 m. Fortunately, Mercedes still has a directional rear axle, which can take up to 4.5 or 10 degrees angles depending on the size of the rims, reducing the turning radius by up to 2 m. Speaking of copy paste, the interior of this version of Maybach is almost identical to that of the S-Class. The Maybach is intentional here too, as it offers three seats in the rear as standard. On the other hand, if you choose the Business Class or First Class option package, you get two separate rear seats, which are electrically adjustable, heated and cooled, and have massage functions. There is a continuous central tunnel with folding tables and everything with a small fridge and champagne glasses. The difference from the more modest S-Class is not only in the generous rear seat legroom, but also in the details. Full leather roof lining, including the handle, for example. No need to sweat while reaching for a door that closes from the back with a button on the ceiling, or a door that the driver can control via a central screen in the front. So, has the gap between Rolls-Royce and Bentley been completely narrowed? It’s reduced a lot, but it’s not completely gone. Like the S-Class, the Maybach opted for on-screen controls instead of the classic, nicely finished buttons, and it looks a little different. The British also go a step further by offering exclusive materials for their interiors. Although Stuttgart’s correct confirmation can always shake things up. And inside there are different materials and finishing details. This is a detail, but at this level it’s more important than you think. In terms of driving, whether on the conveyor belt wheel or, most importantly, in the rear seat, this Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is perfect. The standard air suspension and shock absorbers that work independently on each wheel are already good, but the Proactive Damping System (E-Active Body Control) enhances this even further. We hardly notice speed bumps. The only downside is that this Maybach is at a road noise level that allows too much into the room. This Maybach version is the only S-Class that can be ordered with the V12 under the hood. It was then christened with a Mercedes-Maybach S 680, with a 6.0-litre V12 and 613 hp placed under the hood. We tried the S 580, which uses a mild hybrid 4.0-liter V8 that produces 503hp. In terms of performance, it is as inferior to the V12, while in terms of consumption and displacement, it is a little less greedy. It’s a pity, however, that the Germans are taking Maybach the best powertrain in the S-Class, the S 580 e plug-in hybrid. The very wealthy can’t sleep because of CO2 emissions… PriceSpeaking the very rich: Mercedes is asking for at least 185,372hp (France: €194,701) for the Maybach S-Class. S 580. For the S 680, the absolute V12 version, you have to pay 242,000 € (France: 240,700 €). Oddly enough, the entry-level Mercedes-Maybach S 580, which can’t speak, costs around 40,000 euros more than the “regular” long-wheelbase Mercedes S 580. Conclusion Mercedes did a good job of getting Maybach to reinvent itself. The S-Class is a perfect fit for this stylish bespoke suit and will once again appeal to the market sensitive to this type of shiny chauffeur car. The added value for the ‘regular’ long-wheelbase S-Class is in the details. The gap with British luxury brands has narrowed again.
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