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The 2009 Maybach 62, with overwhelming power and over-the-top opulence, is a more modern take on the ultra-luxurious sedan. However, it lacks the overwhelming character and panache of its only competitor, the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Indulgent in its luxurious decadence, constructed like a leather-lined bank vault, bespoke exclusivity, beautiful ride, supremely powerful engines.
Not as special as a Rolls, unwieldy in traffic, too many pieces from the last-generation Mercedes parts bin, offensively expensive options.
Available 62 Sedan Models
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The 2009 Maybach 62 Landaulet, featuring a semiautomatic retractable roof for the rear seats, is now available as a very limited edition.
Not so long ago, the choicest ultra-luxurious sedans hailed from England. While that may still be true in spirit, the truth is the Germans have this exclusive market cornered. With Rolls-Royce and Bentley under the control of BMW and Volkswagen, respectively, it seems fitting that Mercedes-Benz would be in the fray as well.
Unlike the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, which retain most of their stylistic DNA from their storied past, the 2009 Maybach 62 owes much of its appearance to the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The original Mercedes lines are unmistakable under a veil of subtle styling changes that include a revised grille, a Maybach insignia in place of the three-pointed star, different headlights and taillights and more graceful, flowing sheetmetal. From outward appearances, the Maybach seems more like a stretched and customized Mercedes than a purpose-built luxury icon like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, and for this reason, the Maybach seems just a bit less special.
That's not to say the Maybach 62 is anything less than extraordinary. With twin-turbo V12s derived from Mercedes' AMG performance wing, power output is a staggering 543 horsepower, and a ludicrous 604 hp for the 62 S. Despite the approximate 6,340-pound curb weight, both Maybachs are capable of achieving 0-60-mph times of around 5 seconds. Equally impressive is the autobahn-bombing top speed of 155 mph (172 mph for the 62 S).
While most car shopping experiences rank right up there with a tax audit, purchasing a Maybach is more akin to a Rodeo Drive shopping spree -- providing, of course, that a $400,000 expenditure wouldn't elicit more than a shrug. Acquiring one of these exclusive rides starts with a visit to the Maybach "Commissioning Studio" to meet with a "Relationship Manager." Aside from the seemingly endless array of paint, upholstery and trim choices, clients can also opt for a truly unique vehicle by specifying every aspect down to the seat stitching. Want to match the exterior paint to your mansion, or use the same exotic wood from your Steinway piano for the interior trim? Requests like these are most likely accommodated -- as long as your wallet remains open. Orders that include any sort of individualization require approximately five months to fill.
Though the Phantom and the Maybach 62 are similarly equipped, their executions seem worlds apart. Rather than the "old money" feel of a Rolls-Royce that harkens back to the days of empire and steamships, the Maybach has a decidedly "new money" European Union and spaceship flavor. For the well-heeled, we suspect deciding between them will largely depend on which approach appeals most.
The 2009 Maybach 62 is an ultra-luxury sedan that is offered in three trim levels: the base model 62, the more powerful 62 S and the ultra-exclusive Landaulet. Any model can be customized with nearly any feature the purchaser can dream up -- enabling true one-of-a-kind ownership. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, an active self-leveling suspension, adaptive cruise control, a rear-cabin sunroof, power rear sunshades, 10-way power front seats with heat and massage, front-seat memory settings, a full leather interior, two-person reclining rear bucket heated seats with memory, power leg supports and footrests, folding rear picnic tables, electronic rear-door closers, four-zone climate control with active air filter and a rear beverage cooler. Also standard are Bluetooth, a navigation system with a rearview camera, a DVD entertainment system and a 21-speaker Bose surround-sound system with an in-dash CD player, a console-mounted six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Maybach 62 S adds 20-inch wheels with higher-performance tires, a slightly lower ride height, sportier suspension and minor exterior differences.
The $1.3 million Landaulet is new for 2009 and allows rear passengers an open air environment, thanks to a semiautomatic retractable rear roof. Each of these extremely limited-edition Landaulet models is built to order and also includes a retractable glass partition with electric curtains and an intercom system, which is an optional extra for the 62 S.
Regular optional extras revolve mostly around the rear passengers and include additional rear-seat entertainment options, a three-person backseat, ventilated front or rear seats, rear curtains, a cigar humidor and a video game console. The Maybach 62 S also offers a tremendously cool sunroof option that transforms from transparent to opaque at the push of a button.
Both the Maybach 62 and 62 S are powered by versions of the twin-turbocharged V12 that is utilized in some of the higher-end AMG Mercedes-Benzes. The 5.5-liter V12 in the 62 produces 543 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, while the 6.0-liter version in the 62 S is rated at 604 hp and 738 lb-ft. All of this power amounts to 0-60-mph times of 5.4 seconds for the 62 and 5.2 seconds for the 62 S. Remarkable performance, considering that these sedans weigh in at over 6,000 pounds. According to the EPA, the Maybach 62 and 62 S should return 10 mpg city/16 mpg highway and 12 mpg in combined driving.
As expected from any Mercedes-related vehicle, the 2009 Maybach 62 has a comprehensive list of safety features that includes side airbags for the front and rear passengers, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
It is unlikely that Maybach owners will spend much time behind the wheel, since it's a safe bet that they'll be chauffeured from place to place. For their drivers, and the few owners who actually drive, the front quarters are nearly identical to the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class, albeit with more upscale materials.
In the back you'll find a pair of reclining and heated bucket seats separated by a center console (a three-place bench is an option) that houses controls for the rear dual-zone climate control and the standard DVD entertainment system. Other amenities include a refrigerator to chill a bottle of champagne, sterling silver champagne flutes and ceiling-mounted gauges that display time, speed and outside temperature.
Since it is really intended to be driven by chauffeurs, the 2009 Maybach 62 is keenly focused on ride quality, and in this regard, it excels. The rear cabin acts much like a posh sensory deprivation chamber, eliminating any hint of road imperfections and wind noise. From behind the wheel, the Maybach 62 drives much like the smaller-wheelbase Maybach 57, with incredible acceleration, competent brakes and high-speed cruising comfort. As expected from a car with such large dimensions and heft, handling is far from exceptional, but obviously, the Maybach was never intended to deliver aggressive cornering. In tight metropolitan confines the extended wheelbase makes maneuvering tedious and clumsy -- but no more than a typical stretched Lincoln or Cadillac limo, and the Maybach definitely out-classes them in cool factor and cachet.
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