Full 2012 Maybach 62 Review
What's New for 2012
The Maybach's final year sees no changes.
If the Rolls-Royce is the king of all automobiles, this must make the 2012 Maybach 62 the Kaiser. While the Rolls puts a premium on tradition, presentation and classic British opulence, the Maybach is all-business, no-nonsense and impervious to change, standing by while other ultra-luxury cars progress. This approach has not been successful and as such, 2012 will be the Maybach's final year before it joins old Wilhelm in the annals of history.
Now, the Maybach 62 is actually one of three cars sold by this division of Mercedes-Benz. All are essentially the same car, but the 57 has a shorter, less unwieldy length while the Landaulet has a quasi-convertible roof. Though the Maybach name nearly dates back to the Kaiser, the brand's current iteration was launched in 2002. The car itself also dates from that period, making it one of the oldest on the road.
Frankly, this age shows and so does its lineage. Not only does the 2012 Maybach 62 have a clear resemblance to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class introduced back in 2000, but also it's mechanically based on that car as well. This is still a Mercedes-Benz we're talking about, so the Maybach has certainly been updated over the years, but in total, the 62 comes off as a stretched über-Benz rather than a bespoke luxury sedan. By comparison, you'd be hard-pressed to detect the BMW influences in a Rolls-Royce, or the Volkswagen DNA in a Bentley.
To its credit, the Maybach 62 is still constructed to a degree that would make any old iron-fisted Prussian nod his head with stern approval. To send that head back into the plush headrests, the Maybach comes with a choice of twin-turbocharged V12 engines: one good for 543 horsepower and the other making 620 hp. The latter is known as the 62 S.
Putting the Kaiser aside for a moment, it's the P. Diddys and Kuwaiti oil executives of today who really matter. And what they are more likely to care about are the interior trappings. Sure, the dash looks every bit like something from the turn of the century (this one, not the Kaiser's) and its in-car electronics controls are a generation behind those found in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Yet our modern-day bigwigs are more likely to be enjoying their Maybach 62 from its truly palatial backseat, which has all the leather, wood and craftsmanship they'd expect for their exorbitant amount of money.
The Maybach also sets itself apart from the Rolls by offering a pair of heated and reclining backseat captain's chairs that feature full-sized, La-Z-Boy-style retractable footrests. Both are separated by a center console containing climate and entertainment controls, as well as a miniature fridge. For added privacy, you can also select a leather-and-wood-lined solid partition. Quite frankly, if there's a more opulent, comfortable and spacious backseat in the world, we haven't seen it.
In that way, the 2012 Maybach 62 enjoys a clear advantage over the long-wheelbase 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom. If the backseat is to be your prime dominion and you're OK making an entrance in something that looks like the world's nicest 10-year-old S-Class, then it's certainly hard to argue with it as your chauffeur's choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Maybach 62 is a long-wheelbase ultra-luxury sedan available in two trims: the 62 and 62 S. There are also a regular-wheelbase version known as the 57 and a quasi-convertible known as the Landaulet, discussed in separate reviews.
Either Maybach 62 model can be customized with nearly any feature the purchaser can dream up. Nevertheless, standard kit includes 19-inch wheels, an active self-leveling suspension, adaptive cruise control, front and rear cabin sunroofs, power rear sunshades, 10-way power front seats with heat and massage, front-seat memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a full leather interior. The opulent rear quarters includes reclining rear captain's chairs with heating, memory functions and power leg rests. It also gets folding rear picnic tables, electronic rear door closers, four-zone climate control, an active air filter and a beverage cooler. Standard tech features include front and rear Bluetooth controls, a navigation system, the previous-generation Mercedes COMAND electronics interface, a rearview camera, a DVD entertainment system and a 21-speaker Bose surround-sound audio 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.
Regular optional extras revolve mostly around the rear passengers and include additional rear-seat entertainment options, a three-person rear bench seat, different front and rear partition designs, ventilated front or rear seats, folding rear picnic tables and rear curtains. Other options include a solar panel module (it generates enough electricity to power the car's ventilation fan) and a rear sunroof design that can be turned opaque at the touch of a button.
Powertrains and Performance
Both the Maybach 62 and 62 S are rear-wheel drive and powered by versions of the twin-turbocharged V12 found in some of the high-end AMG-tuned Benzes. The 5.5-liter V12 in the 62 produces 543 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque. The 62 S gets a 6.0-liter version of the V12 with 620 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Maybach estimates both will go from zero to 60 mph in the mid 5-second range. According to the EPA, the Maybach 62 and 62 S will return 10 mpg city/16 mpg highway and 12 mpg combined.
The 2012 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.
Interior Design and Special Features
For the Maybach 62 owners who actually drive their car (or their chauffeurs), the front cabin basically resembles a lavish previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The electronic controls are consequently behind the times and the interior design also generally lacks the sense of classical grandeur evident in the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Even the current S-Class has a classier, more up-to-date vibe.
Still, it's a safe bet most Maybach owners will be occupying the rear quarters as their chauffeur ferries them about. They will find a pair of reclining and heated bucket seats with full-sized retractable footrests. A center console separates the two and incorporates a refrigerated compartment as well as controls for the rear dual-zone climate control and the standard DVD entertainment system. Traveling by car really doesn't get more luxurious than this.
There was once a limited-edition variant of the Maybach known as the Zeppelin, which seems appropriate because the wide and epically long 62 can often feel like a dirigible when driven around town. There's just no way to make 3 tons and 20 feet worth of Maybach seem agile, yet it is nevertheless a truly amazing car to drive. With two twin-turbo V12 engines to choose from, there is a prodigious amount of power on tap that makes the 62 and 62 S seriously quick. Of course, these are cars built to deliver chairmen to their board meetings, not set a low quarter-mile time. For such deliveries, the 2012 Maybach 62 provides a beautiful ride that swallows bumps without floating about like, well, a zeppelin.