Meet the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the Merc of all Mercs

It’s not every day that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has to take a back seat to another ride in terms of luxury. But that was the rare case last week during its local launch alongside the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

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Like Mercedes-AMG is a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz, specialising in performance products, Mercedes-Maybach is the moniker used when upper-end models are turned into ultra-luxury machines.

The Maybach touches are reserved only for the S-Class sedan and large SUV GLS, which adds to the exclusivity, contributing to its status as one of the most desired badges in the automotive world.

“The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is synonymous with a one-of-a-kind ultimate luxury experience reserved for only a privileged chosen few,” says Mark Raine, co-CEO and executive director of Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

Mercedes says the Maybach “represents the ultimate in sophistication like never before, a compilation of the finest quality materials, phenomenal craftsmanship, incomparable comfort and state-of-the-art technology”, and it is hard to add to that. Okay, maybe they left out the word “wow”.

While the two Mercedes-Maybach sedan offerings are based on the S-Class, they feature distinctive differences.

Majestic Mercedes S-Class: Luxury at its best

The impressive front grille, chrome treatment around the air intakes on the lower bumper and windows, hand-painted dividing line between optional two-tone paint finish and bespoke alloy rims are dead give-aways that this is no ordinary Mercedes.

Sleek, suave, superb.

The LED headlights on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class consist of 1.3-million micromirrors that enable light to the tune of 2.6-million pixels. Now that is next level.

The extraordinary craftsmanship inside is another tell-tale sign that you have entered another universe. Mercedes says a total of 16 000 stitching needles and 400 hands are involved in crafting every Maybach.

A 3D instrument cluster, a total of five display screens – of which one a removable rear tablet – a 31-speaker Burmester 4D surround system with noise cancellation, fridge in the centre console and heated and massaging rear seats with additional calf massagers and heated neck pillow are just some highlights.

Not to mention the optional comfort rear doors that can electronically opened via remote and close with a gesture.

In additional to the usual comprehensive set of safety specifications, airbags in the backs of the front seats and rear seatbelts that inflate for additional protection.

Horses galore with the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

The so-called entry-level Maybach S-Class, the S580, is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 turbo petrol engine, producing 370 kW of power and 700 Nm of torque. Mild-hybrid technology in the form of a 48V on-board electrical system produces an additional 20kW/200Nm.

As good as it gets. The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach.

The power is sent to all four wheels, each controlled through individual air suspension, via 9G-tronic automatic transmission.

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The “big boy”, the S680, is fitted with a 6.0-litre V12 turbo petrol engine producing an astonishing 450kW/900Nm, clearly eliminating the need for any electrical assistance. The mill is mated to 9G-Tronic transmission which sends the power to all four wheels.

The Maybach is equipped with rear-wheel steering, which enables its turning circle to be reduced by up to two metres.

New Mercedes S-Class

While the Mercedes-Maybach might have stolen the S-Class’ thunder to a degree, the new version of Mercedes’ large sedan is as good as you’d expect.

The standard Mercedes-Benz S-Class line-up has kept the flagship S500, but changed the diesel offering from the S400d to the S350d.

Similar to the S400d, the new oil-burner is powered by the OM 656 six-cylinder in-line 2.9-litre turbodiesel engine, with the only difference being a change from all-wheel to rear-wheel-drive.

Superb craftsmanship is a stand-out feature of the Mercedes-Maybach’s interior.

The change from the S400d to S350d has seen the gateway to S-Class exclusivity become more than R160 000 more affordable. That is, for those budgets which allow for R2.3-million to be seen as affordable.

The all-wheel drive S500 is powered by a six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo petrol mill which produces 320 kW of power and 520 Nm of torque. The 48V on-board electrical system ensures another 15kW/250Nm.

Both S-Class derivatives feature 9G-tronic transmission.

The drive

We did not drive the Maybach derivates during the launch, but did spend time in both the S-Class offerings.

The S350d’s diesel engine feels slightly lazy, but once it gets going offers plenty of pull due to its generous torque. The fact it is rear-wheel driven went largely unnoticed, as the plush suspension and long wheelbase meant you could as well be drifting on a cloud.

The S500 felt notably more lively – but a machine of this stature does not need swift acceleration to prove anything. But should the boss in the rear be late for his flight, the chauffeur should be eager to make up the time.

Pricing

Mercedes-Benz S350d – R2 330 000Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic – R2 492 000Mercedes-Maybach S580 4Matic- R3 507 000Mercedes-Maybach S680 4Matic- R4 454 000

All models include a five-year/100 000 km maintenance plan and two-year/unlimited km warranty.

Find the full specs for these luxurious Mercedes machines on the manufacturer’s website.

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