Full 2009 Maybach Landaulet Review
What's New for 2009
The Maybach Landaulet is new for 2009.
Ever been in the backseat of a Maybach 62 S and thought to yourself, "Nice, but I wish it had a retractable roof"? Yeah, neither have we. But for those who find the rear compartment of Maybach's top-shelf sedan a bit too somber, the 2009 Maybach Landaulet is just what der Doktor ordered. Essentially a 62 S with a front/rear dividing wall and a soft rear roof panel that your chauffeur can retract at the touch of a button, the Landaulet is bound to be a hit with prodigal heads of state and deep-pocketed parade organizers everywhere. And when we say "deep-pocketed," we mean it: Despite its similarity to the 62 S, the Landaulet commands a nearly $1 million premium for its unique design.
If it were up to us, we'd grab a 62 S for $450,000 and tell the guys at "Pimp My Ride" to "Landaulet it." That way we'd also get some seatback-mounted LCD TVs and a cool paint job out of the deal, not to mention the vacation home we'd buy with the leftover cash. But at the end of the day, that's just not how petty despots think. A million extra bucks for an al fresco Maybach? Put it on the taxpayers' tab -- they won't even notice. For those with that kind of access to funds, or for those who just happen to have a small country's worth of financial reserves in their bank accounts, the 2009 Maybach Landaulet might make a lot of sense.
For the rest of us, it makes no sense whatsoever, but the Landaulet is still an interesting conversation piece. To make a Landaulet out of a 62 S, the Maybach folks remove the rear roof while leaving the side walls intact, albeit reinforced with a tubular steel frame. The hole in the roof is filled by a black soft top that retracts in 16 seconds and comes with a fitted leather boot, which must be installed separately (don't worry, the chauffeur takes care of that). The Landaulet's other distinguishing feature is the partition between the front and rear compartments. Aside from that, it's a 62 S -- for triple the price.
As such, the Landaulet otherwise gets the same report card as its more commonplace sibling. Its twin-turbocharged V12 engine is enormously powerful. Its customization options are dizzying, with a personal "Maybach Relationship Manager" on hand to make sure your Landaulet is built to your exact specification. On the downside, its Mercedes-Benz roots are too visible (Maybach is a division of Mercedes) -- the door-mounted power seat controls, for example, are the same as in any number of Mercedes products, and the overall styling of the car is too evocative of the S-Class. But we doubt that Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman will care. The Landaulet is the only luxury vehicle of its kind, and that alone should be enough to ensure its success.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Maybach Landaulet is a four- or five-seat ultraluxury sedan with a retractable rear soft top. Standard features include exclusive 20-inch wheels, an active self-leveling suspension, power-closing doors and trunk, adaptive cruise control, 10-way power front seats with heat and massage, front seat memory settings, a full leather interior, two-person reclining rear bucket seats with heat and La-Z-Boy-style footrests, four-zone climate control with active air filtration, a rear beverage cooler and an umbrella. Also standard are Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system with a rearview camera, an 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.
Options include granite trim, three-across seating in the back, active ventilated seats and pretty much whatever you and your Relationship Manager can cook up.
Powertrains and Performance
The Landaulet is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 familiar from other Mercedes-Benz products. It cranks out an astounding 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is mandatory because it's the only transmission in the Mercedes stable that can handle all that torque. Acceleration is impressive; fuel economy is not.
The 2009 Maybach Landaulet comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control and front and rear side and side curtain airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features
Landaulet owners will likely spend their time in the rear compartment, but their chauffeur will enjoy a sumptuous wood- and leather-trimmed front cabin, albeit one littered with Mercedes switchgear. The backseat clearly takes center stage in the Landaulet, what with its retractable soft top and first-class-style reclining bucket seats with footrests (a three-person setup is optional). These seats are heated, of course, and in two-passenger trim they're separated by a center console that houses controls for the rear dual-zone climate control and the standard DVD entertainment system.
Those fortunate (or foolish) enough to spend $1.4 million on a 2009 Maybach Landaulet will be more interested in riding impressions, but their drivers will be pleased to discover that the Landaulet's 6.0-liter V12 is quite possibly the finest engine available in any car. Torque is monstrous at any engine speed. The cabin is generally quiet, though the soft top lets in a bit more road and wind noise than the fixed-roof 62 S.