2016 Best Drives: The Amazing Mercedes-Maybach s600

By Bob Long

Looking back at 2016 in and all the great press vehicles loaned to me by the car manufactures there a number that jump out for various reasons.  When it comes to ultra “price no object” luxury automobiles it is hard to beat the Mercedes Maybach.  The back seat of this vehicles is one finest places you will ever spend in any automobile.  The experience is more like your own private jet plane.

Between 2004 and 2012, Mercedes-Benz resurrected the long-dead Maybach name to target the world’s ultra-wealthy with its most luxurious sedans. The Maybach brand never really caught on with the exception of a few Hollywood stars and an occasional rap artist.  So this year Mercedes has taken a more modest approach. This new for 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 (there is  no “Benz” in the name, officially) stays under the Mercedes brand umbrella and is related to the current generation S-Class, but its purpose is still to take on Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands.

I remember when I was on the Motor Trend staff a day in LA in which Maybach executives gave the staff an up close and personal ride and drive.  We were all impressed with interior and some of the technology but a number of staff members lead by this writer  questioned the styling.  To check out the reaction in Car Crazy Beverly Hills we took a Maybach 57 through a McDonald’s drive through to see if we got any comments or questions.  The answer was none what so ever.  Heads did not spin on Rodeo drive as we motored by in this large $300,000 plus vehicle=bad sign.

Mercedes is  very proud of its  S-class as it should be in every way. The luxury sedan is not only a technology leader, it also outsells the Audi A8 and the BMW 7-series combined. What a contrast to the Maybach 57 and 62, which was largely unchanged for more than 10 years. Based on the W140 S-class, the Maybach was already somewhat outdated even when brand new.

In creating a hyper luxury sedan this time around, Daimler played it safe and created a much better car. The new Mercedes-Maybach S600 is a Mercedes-Benz S600 with an extra 7.9 inches of wheelbase and an unprecedented level of equipment. It will cost just over half as much as the previous Maybach, which retailed for $379,000 in 2013.  Although my test vehicle loaded with a few options came to $230K, the new Maybach is a relative bargain.

Despite the new Mercedes-Maybach S600 is shorter than the old Maybach 57, and thus far more maneuverable, it offers more room in the rear passenger compartment.  Both rear seats recline like business-class seats on an aircraft, and together with extending footrests, they make it easy to work, watch a movie, or simply fall asleep. Daimler claims it offers the quietest rear passenger compartment of any car in production. I believe it without doubt.

Powered by the familiar 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12, a 36-valve engine rated at 523 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque, the Mercedes-Maybach accelerates with punch. The company claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.0 seconds. Very impressive for such a large heavy vehicle.

There is no mistaking that this is a large car, yet the driving experience is hardly different from that of a regular S-class. My test car was equipped with an air suspension that reacts to camera scanned road surface data. Mercedes-Benz has refined this system to a remarkable level since our experience with a prototype years ago.

Maybach-Exclusive Touches include silver plated champagne flutes in the rear compartment.  Other Maybach-exclusive interior features include bespoke wood trim inspired by the S-class coupe as well as hand-stitched leather on the door panels. A full-length center console with deployable work tables is optional.

The changes to the exterior are rather more convincing. Aside from the extra length, the front and rear fascias are based on those of the standard S-class ) but receive an extra dose of chrome. The greenhouse is restyled with a rear-quarter window in the C-pillar. there are exclusive colors and unique  20-inch bowl-shaped aluminum wheels that are not available on any other S-class.

In a straight line it performs like royalty, with a large horseshoe brace preventing the back end from getting flexy.   All of the great technology of the S class is in place making the  ride and drive experience from the driver’s seat  quite good.   It is so much better than the original Maybach models.

It doesn’t look like or feel like a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce cabin. and that is good and that’s why this new formula works. The Bentley Mulsanne starts at $303,700,  huge leaps beyond the $189,350 Maybach S600 . Yes, in its appointments the S600 Maybach is the supremely nice Mercedes S class cabin but with all diamond-quilted seating surfaces, contrasting wood and Nappa leather, and a stitched leather headliner and couple of extra pillow for the back seat passengers. The Maybach gets minor exclusives like certain wood and chrome trim on the doors, and Agarwood as a scent for the atomizer.

The Burmester audio system is world-class and the rear passenger area (according to Merecedes that is where a lot of owners will ride) is a taste of the lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.   To quote the old line Champaign Wishes and Caviar dreams all come true when you own a Mercedes Machbach S 600.

Congratulations Mercedes on the creation of the magnificent 2016 Mercedes- Maybach S 600.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-RWD

Highlights

Performance

Luxury at its finest

Comfort

Tecnology

V-12 engine

Lowlights

Fuel economy not great but if your buying on who cares?

Scale 1 low-10 High

Exterior Styling 8

Interior styling and quality 10

Handling 7

Braking 7

Fuel Economy 5

Audio System 9

Performance 7

Trunk-Cargo Capacity 9

2017 Best Drives— MercedesAMG C63 S Coupe

By Bob Long

I remember the first time back in Boston around 2009 when I got a week test drive in C63 AMG Sedan.  The massive V-8 power plant stuffed into this compact car combined with an exhaust note right out heaven,  I still remember it so fondly.  The exhaust  sounded like a German World War II howitzer cannon and I loved it.

Fast forward to recently when I was blown away by one best drives of the past year.  First off styling wise it is absolutely breathtaking in full zoot S trim.  This is one beautiful machine from every angle.  The 2017 Mercedes AMG C63S Coupe is simply stunning.

For those not familiar with AMG.  The former separate tuner company beat its path to high-performance credibility with a hammer. The German speed shop’s first street car, the 355-hp 1987 ( assembled by Porsche) Mercedes-Benz AMG Hammer sedan, set the record for the world’s fastest production four-door at 178 mph, then set the pace for the subsequent 30-year parade of raucous, tire-shredding AMG brutes.

The speed shop is now part of Mercedes and has in rent years produced the incredible SLS AMG Gull wing and the current AMG GT Coupe.  As of late, more civilized cars and the use of all-wheel drive suggest that today’s AMG swings its hammer a little more softly in exchange for greater chassis control and improved traction. That is upsetting period.  Loud and brash machines like the  C63 S AMG coupe are increasingly rare and that is a shame.

The new 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe doesn’t come off as a brute at first glance. Twin turbochargers muffle the small-displacement 4.0-liter V-8, and the exhaust terminates in a quartet of pea shooter tailpipes hidden behind the jumbo trapezoid openings in the rear bumper.

Yet pin the throttle and this more efficient engine is almost as wild as the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that it replaces. The high-output C63 S model packs a 503-hp sledge of an engine that pummels the concrete, while a seven-speed automatic bangs through ratios and a bawdy, unmistakably eight-cylinder thunder blares. In true traction-be-damned AMG fashion, it sends all 516 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

Among its peers, the C63 remains the biggest bruiser. The C63 S holds a 78-hp advantage over the BMW M4 and a 39-hp edge on the Cadillac ATS-V. Non-S C63 models make 469 horsepower and 479 lb-fts till at the front of the pack, but you should pass on the upgraded S only if the extra eight to ten grand would bankrupt you. Beyond the extra power, the S version adds the option of carbon-ceramic brake discs on the front axle and replaces the mechanical limited-slip differential with an electronically controlled unit. It also augments the mode selector with a Race setting to relax the stability control, stiffen the dampers, and sharpen the shifts beyond Sport+.

AMG eagerly points out that the C63 coupe is not just a C63 sedan with two fewer doors. Engineers in  gifted the coupe with a shorter final-drive ratio 3.06:1 in the two-door versus 2.85:1 in the sedan for quicker acceleration. Helped by a 100-pound weight advantage, the C63 S coupe should tear down a straight one tick ahead of the four-door, clearing 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.  Starting price for the pretty loaded machine is $75,925.  No longer does 6.3 V8 or to be correct a 6.2 liter V8 resides under the hood.  Todays C63 s uses
4.0-liter turbocharged 8-cylinder engine producing 503 hp and 516 lb-ft through a; 7-speed automatic transmission.  Mileage is rated at 17 city and 23 highway but really who cares?

The coupe also receives a unique rear suspension; it isn’t shared with either the C63 sedan or the less powerful C-class coupes. In pursuit of a more rigid assembly, AMG rearranged the upper links, replaced several bushings with ball joints, and widened the rear track by 1.7 inches compared with the AMG sedan. The wider rear stance should make the coupe more susceptible to understeer than the sedan, although we can’t say that’s definitively the case without driving the two back-to-back.

Even with the extra rear-end grip, the C63 S coupe does a nice job getting its front tires to bite and lead the car around a road course on fresh rubber. The steering is hefty and accurate, though largely unfeeling. But as the Michelin Pilot Super Sports heat up, the car becomes a 3800-pound pendulum, scrubbing the front tires in one corner and then swinging the back wide in the next. If you’re a track rat logging your lap times, the BMW and Cadillac are better choices. True to its predecessor, though, the C63 makes drifting as easy as tapping your big toe.

The interior is equally exquisite as the exterior design the Burmester audio system is fantastic.  The aero pieces are killer and compliment the sexy lines so well.

This is  a car that feels most at home on the road, where it’s an effortless and luxurious means to driving wickedly fast well within the car’s limits. It offers thrust at any rpm and comfort in any task. Public streets also are where the differences between the new and old car are most evident. On the road, the 2017 C63 feels more refined and its cornering abilities go deeper than that of its predecessor.

The pricing can escalade into six figures with all options checked but like my other favorite coupe the Jaguar F Type now available in SVR trim for 2017 is worth every penny.   I love coupes and I love this car.  Hand down it is one best drives of the year.

For those  lucky folks with means fall in love with the AMG C63S Coupe and you will be in automotive nirvana.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-RWD

Highlights

Performance

The Engine

SEX on Wheels styling

Comfort

Lowlights

No AWD option for some who want all power to the ground

Scale 1 low-10 High

Exterior Styling 10

Interior styling and quality 9

Handling 8

Braking 8

Fuel Economy 6

Audio System 9

Performance 10

Trunk-Cargo Capacity 76