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 Based on the W140 S-class, the Maybach was already somewhat outdated even when brand new.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
Luxury at its finest
Fuel economy not great but if your buying on who cares?
Scale 1 low-10 High
Exterior Styling 8
Interior styling and quality 10
Fuel Economy 5
Audio System 9
Trunk-Cargo Capacity 9