Oligarchs, plutocrats, diplomats and the plain ol’ filthy rich rejoice; Mercedes-Benz has created the ultimate S-Class. And once again, they’re calling it a Maybach.
Well sort of. For some strange reason only know to those within the hallowed halls of Mercedes-Benz HQ in Stuttgart, this new flagship will be known as the Mercedes-Maybach S600.
I can see Herr Benz rotating in his grave in horror that his storied family name has somehow been jettisoned from the title of this stretched S-Class mega-sedan.
Somehow I can’t quite hear the late, great Janis Joplin screaming “Oh Lord won’t ya buy me a Mercedes-Maybach”.
It’s also somewhat puzzling as to why the company should revive the Maybach name so soon after its rather ignominious demise in 2010.
If you remember, Mercedes-Benz dusted-off the old Maybach badge back in 2002 for its new uber-luxury brand.
But a combination of a global economic downturn, a name few people had ever heard of, and a design that looked for all the world like a stretched Hyundai, meant the Maybach brand never came within a country mile of hitting its lofty sales projections.
So why not revive that magical “Pullman” name that adorned those humongous Benzes back in the ’60s and ‘70s? The opulent, high-roofed 600 Pullman was the choice of luxury wheels for every A-lister, from Coco Chanel, to Elizabeth Taylor, to John Lennon and Hugh Hefner.
That said, what your $250,000-plus of Mercedes-Maybach S600 will get you when it goes on sale next April is essentially a long-wheelbase S-Class stretched by 7.9 inches and a rear cabin that looks like something out of a Gulfstream G5.
Sizewise, at 132.5 inches nose to tail, this new S600 is some six inches longer than a Bentley Mulsanne, though nine inches shorter than a mighty Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Disappointingly, the car looks exactly what it is, a stretched S. No re-sculpted nose, or re-designed grille, or raised roof, or more characterful rear pillar. Here is the Mercedes-Maybach deja vu.
No, what’s special here is the interior. Especially in the back. The rear thrones can be reclined up to 43 degrees and feature pop-out foot rests. Then there are the pop-out work tables, and the panoramic glass sunroof with Magic Sky Control for opaque-ing at the touch of a button.
And of course the leather and woodwork are sublime, the silver-plated Robbe & Berking champagne flutes exquisite, the Burmester 3D surround-sound audio capable of making ears bleed. And that’s before you even pick-up the catalogue of “optional extras.”
As for power, this Mercedes super-sedan features the company’s 6.0-liter turbocharged V12 that produces a galloping 523 horseys.
I’m sure this, the most-expensive Mercedes-Benz, will sell like hotcakes on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai, L.A. and New York, though probably more as rent-it-by-the-hour chauffeur service cars than personal transportation.
But I can’t help feeling slightly disappointed that Mercedes-Benz didn’t take the opportunity to create a new standard in automotive luxury with this car. And badging it a Maybach, is for me, more of a liability than a lure.