Competes with: Bentley Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce Ghost
Looks like: A stretched Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Powertrains: A 463-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with a nine-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive; 621-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 with a seven-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive only
Hits dealerships: Late summer 2018
Mercedes has given a light refresh to the 2019 models of its Maybach S-Class land yachts for the 1 percent — and where better to show it off than at the luxury-laden 2018 Geneva International Motor Show?
The appearance and trim refinements raise the high bar a little higher as well as set it more apart from the less-rarefied S-Class models to better compete for buyers with the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce (though Rolls has in the past pooh-poohed that idea. Mercedes says the top three markets for the Maybach models are China, Russia and the U.S.
Related: More 2018 Geneva Motor Show News
The Maybach continues to come in S560 and S650 models, depending on your choice of powertrains. Pricing was not announced for the 2019s, going on sale in the U.S. in the summer; the 2018s start at about $170,000 and build quickly with the myriad options.
The Maybach, formerly a standalone offering, is part of the Mercedes S-Class family, but stretched nearly 10 inches longer than the long-wheelbase S-Class sedan to 215 inches overall on a 132.5-inch wheelbase.
The most noticeable change for 2019 is the new grille, which replaces the horizontal bars with all vertical fins that the company says were inspired by a pinstripe suit and previewed in more extravagant form with the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet and coupe concepts seen, respectively, at the 2017 and 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
There also are some new, exclusive color combinations among the nine optional two-tone paint schemes. There is also a new 20-inch multispoke wheel for the top model, along with three exclusive 20-inch wheels not available for other S-Class sedans.
But the real luxury of the Maybach is inside to remind the buyer why they paid the big bucks. The interior gets two new color combinations, mixing brown or beige with black. But if you go with the Maybach black Nappa leather, you can order copper-, gold- or platinum-colored contrast stitching.
The stretched length goes for a spacious rear cabin, where the passengers (or owners) are treated to standard ambient lighting and individual heated, ventilated, massaging and power-reclining executive seats. They can ride in even more luxury back there with options such as calf rests and folding tables, matching leather throw pillows, silver champagne flutes, a minifridge compartment and a glass roof panel that can be darkened electronically.
(If all that still is not enough, Mercedes-Maybach does offer a separate, true limousine, the S-Class Pullman).
Under the Hood
The Maybach S560 is motivated by a 463-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with nine-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. Torque is 516 pounds-feet, and it can propel the big sedan from zero-to-60 mph in an estimated 4.8 seconds. But if that's not fast enough to leave the rabble behind, the S650 has Mercedes' twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 that puts out 621 hp and a diesel-trucklike 738 pounds-feet of torque. Paired with a seven-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive only, it will hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
The S560 rides on adaptive air suspension. The S650 includes a body control system that uses a camera to scan the road ahead and react ahead of time to bumps and dips; it also can lean slightly into curves to help not to disturb the passengers.
If the main concerns are surviving city traffic and crowded freeways, the Maybach models share the full complement of Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive safety and driver assistance tech with the lesser S-Class models, including sensor technology upgraded for 2018 to look farther ahead and behind the car than previous models, and adaptive cruise control that employs navigation GPS and map data to adjust speed for upcoming curves, turns and intersections. Steering assist also is advanced beyond previous lane centering to handle tighter curves, more speeds and degraded lane markings, as well as assisting in keeping control in evasive swerves. It also now includes an automatic lane-change function.
In this price and size range, however, passenger safety might be about more than just crash avoidance. For dodgier environments or rebel insurgencies, the absolute Maybach safety flagship would be the armored version of the stretch limo, the Maybach S 600 Pullman Guard.
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