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Sophisticated and highly customizable, the Maybach 62 is a truly remarkable ultraluxury sedan. Only in conspicuous splendor does it lose out to the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Unbelievably luxurious cabin, smooth ride, handles and accelerates well for a 6,000-pound vehicle.
Too many controls pulled from Mercedes' parts bin, cumbersome in heavy traffic.
Available 62 Sedan Models
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All 2006 Maybach models come standard with the Parking Assist System, which had previously been an extra-cost option. There's also a newly available Business Package, which can essentially turn a Maybach into an executive office on wheels.
BMW owns the Rolls-Royce name and Volkswagen has the Bentley name. Evidently, Daimler-Benz (or more properly, DaimlerChrysler) was unwilling to sit idly by as its competitors invested in brand names dripping in history and prestige, and then had their pick of an elite class of buyers. Thus, the German conglomerate resurrected the Maybach name for the 2004 model year. Originally, this was the name of one of the first automotive engineers, the chief designer in fact, of the first car that bore a Mercedes badge in 1901. Later Maybach referred to a line of custom-built luxury cars on sale during the 1920s and '30s.
Today, Maybach emerges from historical oblivion (as far as most Americans know) to become a luxury automobile division that resides far above Mercedes-Benz in price and prestige. Two different versions of the Maybach are offered: the 57 and the 62. The numbers refer to each car's length in meters (5.7 and 6.2). The 62 (which happens to be the longest production sedan currently available) applies its extra length toward increasing the amount of room available for rear-seat passengers. Inside the 62, opulence takes center stage. Every single surface is high-grade leather, wood, chrome or some other soft-touch material. Comfy as it is to sit up front, the best place to sit in a Maybach 62 is the backseat. It's a twin bucket arrangement with a console in between that houses a DVD player, a separate CD changer for use in the back and even a refrigerated compartment to keep cold refreshments at the ready. Each rear seat offers a wide range of adjustments. A soft nubuck-upholstered (and feather stuffed) pillow is attached to the front of each head restraint, and leaning back upon it is sure to relax even the most uptight passenger.
With a base price that easily surpasses the $300,000 mark, it's pretty obvious that the Maybach 62 is intended for people with extraordinary wealth. Maybachs are sold through select Mercedes dealerships only, and there aren't any cars sitting around on the lot, either. Each Maybach is built to order. The 62's most obvious competitor is the Rolls-Royce Phantom. In situations like these, personal taste and preferences are much more important than feature lists or hard stats; each car is fully capable of providing an otherworldly luxury experience. If we had to choose, though, we'd likely go with the Phantom for its panache and superior heritage.
The Maybach 62 is a large, ultraluxury sedan. As one might expect from such a vehicle, the list of features is very thorough. An Airmatic DC suspension; adaptive cruise control; 19-inch wheels; power-closing doors from the fully open position; a 21-speaker, surround-sound Bose audio system; and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens are just a few of the luxury-oriented items that come standard. Among the many optional features are special wheels, three-person rear seating, a glass partition and intercom for owners planning on using a chauffeur and upgraded entertainment choices. There's also a new Business Package that equips the Maybach 62 with wireless Internet capability and Bluetooth functionality for computer hardware. As with the 57, customers have plenty of opportunities to select custom exterior paint colors and interior trims and make requests for other features above and beyond the factory options list.
The Maybach's 5.5-liter twin-turbo V12 shares its design and components with that of the Mercedes-Benz S600. Since the Maybach has more than 1,400 pounds on the Benz, engineers increased the boost on both turbochargers to get a little more power out of the V12. Output is rated at 543 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard.
A gamut of safety features is standard for the Maybach 62. Included are seat-mounted side and headliner-mounted curtain airbags for all outboard passengers, antilock brakes, traction control and stability control. As in some Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the antilock brakes are electronically controlled rather than by a conventional mechanical linkage. If the driver switches quickly from accelerator to brake pedal, the electronic brake system recognizes the early signs of an emergency situation and preloads the brakes to help ensure shorter stops. In addition, if the windshield wipers have been on for a set amount of time, the system applies quick, undetectable pulses to remove any film of water from the brake discs so brake operation remains fast and consistent in the rain.
Fine-quality leather and wood cover most every surface in the 62, and seat comfort is exceptional whether you're driving or riding. Rear passengers enjoy adjustable seating, and even the head restraints are covered by suede-textured down pillows, a substance Maybach claims is the best vibration-damping material in the world. The instrumentation and controls will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in a Mercedes. Alas, this also means that some controls and displays are confusing, among these the Mercedes-sourced COMAND navigation system.
As the 62 is mainly meant for those intending to have a chauffeur take the wheel, one's focus should mainly be on ride quality. And the 62 does fare exceptionally well in this regard. The driving experience itself is similar to that of the 57's. The V12 provides plenty of thrust and the brakes are up to the task of effortlessly scrubbing off speed. This isn't exactly the car one would want to exclusively drive in tight, urban environments, of course, but then again it's shorter than the typical stretched American limousine.
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