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Maybach's back: the full details
This, lady-oligarchs and gentlemen-oligarchs, is Mercedes’ new Maybach. In fact, it’s the Mercedes-Maybach. Hyphen not optional.
The luxury badge returns after what turned out to be a brief hiatus; production of the original, £300k Maybach ended when new S-Class production began in 2013, but after protestations from avid customers (Paphitis and Jones, we’re looking at you), it returns.
It does so as the sub-brand Mercedes-Maybach (in the same way the firm’s new V8 sports car is branded Mercedes-AMG), and, rather than a standalone model, this is an iteration of S-Class. Something you’ve doubtless spotted from the pictures: it’s basically an S with extra head- and legroom.
The rear quarters have received most attention, the place where its maker concedes Maybach owners belong. Mercedes claims it’s the world’s quietest saloon car inside, while the addition of a rear quarterlight window means, like in a Rolls Phantom, passengers get an extra bit of privacy by sitting out of sight of the main side window.
While the interior retains the S-Class architecture, there’s a plethora of new, plusher materials. Hand-stitched leather trim, wood and chrome seem to cover every surface. And just check out those Maybach-badged cushions in the back…
Other frivolities include voice amplification - for rear passengers to bark orders at their driver with ease - and optional silver-plated champagne flutes. The front passenger seat can adopt a ‘chauffeur position’, allowing extra rear legroom and a more reclined angle for the seat behind it. The rear seats can also imitate a hot stone massage.
There will be three drivetrain options. A 523bhp 6-litre V12 powers the range-topping Mercedes-Maybach S600, the only model we’re likely to see in the UK. Below that sits an S500 (5-litre V8, 449bhp) and a four-wheel-drive S400 4Matic (3-litre V6, 328bhp).
At a preview of the new Maybach S600, we spoke to Ola Kallenius, chief of Mercedes sales and marketing. We asked where Maybach customers had gone after the previous generation was dropped.
“I think many of them have perhaps been in the regular S-Class. I know many Maybach customers personally, and they’ve been asking and begging and wanting [for Maybach to return].
“When we launched the new S-Class we said it would offer more than its previous family, and we would find a haven for the Maybach customers. That promise is now being kept.”
Could we see an SUV emerging from the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand? After all, Bentley is already lining up its giant 4x4, and Rolls looks likely to get in on the act too. Here’s Kallenius’s response:
“I don’t want to be dogmatic about rules, and we haven’t thought through every permutation we could do for the next ten years. Our focus is on this car.” No SUV imminent, then, but he’s not ruling it out completely.
The S-Class family hasn’t finished growing just yet, either. Alongside the regular car, its Coupe sibling and the posher Maybach, an even longer Pullman limo is still apparently on the cards too.
Sales of the new Maybach start in February 2015, and while prices aren’t yet public, expect a starting point of around £150,000. It’s a lot more palatable than the old Maybach’s starting point, though with huge potential for making your Maybach individual, there’s every opportunity to send that price north rather quickly…