Used 2008 Maybach 62 Sedan
- Indulgent in its luxurious indulgence, constructed like a leather-lined bank vault, several acres of rear seat space, made-to-order customization, beautiful ride, supremely powerful V12 engine.
- Not as special as a Rolls, unwieldy in traffic, too many pieces from the last-generation Mercedes parts bin, offensively expensive options.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Stately in size, decadent in its luxuries and rapid in its pace, the 2008 Maybach 62 could be the most exquisite car (a lot of) money can buy. However, it lacks the overwhelming character and panache of its only competitor, the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
If Rolls-Royces are motor cars fit for Queen Elizabeth, the 2008 Maybach 57 is an auto fit for Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Maybach is all business, mixing a restrained German aesthetic with exquisite luxury, while the Rolls puts its emphasis on presentation and classical British opulence. For this rarest of rare luxury sedans, it is this difference in character that will ultimately determine which enters the garages of the wealthiest Americans.
Maybach dates back to post-World War I Germany, when the company produced a selection of opulent luxury automobiles on par with Great Britain's Rolls-Royce. These cars weren't Maybach's principal venture, though, as it primarily produced engines for trains, boats and zeppelins. Automobile production stopped after World War II and the brand became the possession of Daimler-Benz during the 1960s. That was fitting, since Wilhelm Maybach was chief designer of the very first Mercedes and a co-founder of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, the same company that would eventually merge with Benz & Cie to create one of the world's most honored automobile manufacturers.
Today's 2008 Maybach 62 and its higher-performance 62 S edition represent the brand's resurrection, brought forth when the parent company saw an ultraluxury niche present beyond the already lofty brand cachet established by Mercedes-Benz. They also saw chief German rivals BMW and Volkswagen gobble up Britain's most storied automotive marques in Rolls-Royce and Bentley, respectively.
Sharing more than just a passing resemblance to the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Maybach 62 and its short-wheelbase 57 sibling come across as much more of an über-Benz than a Bentley seems like an über-Audi, for instance. The basic platform is similar, and each of the AMG-sourced twin-turbo V12 engines is constructed by a single technician (5.5-liter in the 62 and 6.0-liter in the 62 S). The larger power plant produces 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, which results in a 0-60-mph sprint in about 5 seconds. That makes it one of the world's fastest sedans despite weighing 6,000 pounds -- more than a Ford Expedition.
Of course, performance is one thing, but for super limousines like a Maybach, the interior environment is of paramount importance. Leather and wood are in required abundance, while the rear quarters are set apart from Rolls-Royce by providing a greater selection of standard electronic goodies. There's also a small refrigerator to chill champagne -- although we're not sure how that jibes with open container laws. When ordering their beautiful new car at a Maybach "Commissioning Studio," customers can equip their potential 62 or 62 S in literally any way they wish. If they want alpaca upholstery instead of regular old cow leather, the "Maybach Relationship Manager" can probably make it happen -- just be prepared to pay a colossal amount of money.
It's hard to make recommendations for cars that cost vastly more than the average American home. But despite its many niceties, the 2008 Maybach 62 can't match a Rolls-Royce for exquisitely decadent luxury and that uniquely British character that dates back a century. The Maybach has a classic name, but it's very much the world's nicest S-Class. It may offer more standard toys than the Rolls, but you're more likely to feel like a king when riding aboard a Phantom. In the Maybach, you'll feel more like a super-rich Trump type in need of onboard Bloomberg television and a good spot to place your gold-plated laptop.
Trim levels & features
The 2008 Maybach 62 is a long-wheelbase ultraluxury sedan available in two trim levels. The upgraded 62 S is differentiated mostly by its more powerful engine. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, active self-leveling suspension, adaptive cruise control, sunroof, power rear sunshades, 10-way power front seats with heat and massage, front seat memory settings, full leather interior, two-person reclining rear bucket seats with heat and La-Z-Boy-style footrests, four-zone climate control with active air filter and rear beverage cooler. Also standard is Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system with a rearview camera, a DVD entertainment system and a 21-speaker Bose surround-sound system with in-dash CD player, console-mounted six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Despite these standard features, the made-to-order Maybach 62 can be specified however its purchaser desires. Regular optional extras mostly involve the rear quarters, including a three-person backseat, a glass partition, ventilated front or rear seats, additional entertainment options, folding rear picnic tables, rear curtains and a tremendously cool sunroof that transforms from transparent to opaque at the push of a button.
Performance & mpg
Both the Maybach 62 and 62 S are powered by versions of the twin-turbocharged V12 Mercedes-Benz uses in some of its loftiest high-end vehicles. 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 612 hp and 738 lb-ft. That is enough to slightly alter Earth's orbit at full throttle, or achieve 60 mph from a stop in less than 5 seconds.
Maybach models come with a standard complement of 10 airbags. Beyond the two bags in front, there are side airbags for the front and rear passengers and side curtain airbags that span both front and rear. Other safety features include antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
As the 2008 Maybach 62 is mainly meant for those intending to have a chauffeur take the wheel, one's focus should be on ride quality. And the 62 fares exceptionally well in this regard. The driving experience itself is similar to that of the shorter-wheelbase 57. The twin-turbo 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 drive exclusively in tight, urban environments, of course, but then again it's shorter than the typical stretched American limousine and infinitely nicer for the chauffeur to drive than a modified Town Car.
For the few Maybach owners who actually drive their car, they will find a front cabin that, like the exterior, basically resembles a lavish previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Electronic controls are subsequently behind the times and it generally lacks the sense of classical grandeur evident in the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Still, it's a very safe bet that most 2008 Maybach 62 owners will be occupying the enormous rear quarters as their chauffeur ferries them about. They will find a staggering 57.2 inches of rear leg space, along with 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.
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Our role in Maybach's loosely scripted "reality" show began just outside the international air terminal in Dubai, the immensely wealthy trade center of the Middle East. Our spotless black 2008 Maybach 62 S, the Most Powerful Chauffeur-Driven Saloon in Series Production, was parked just a few steps away, its great bulk promising sanctuary from the hassles endured by the less fortunate.
Befitting our new faux affluent status, we were immediately transported into the Maybach's right rear seat by the fluid manipulations of the expert chauffeur, who soon had the huge sedan whispering along the highway toward downtown Dubai.
Maybach's script called for "relaxation": yachting off Dubai's coast, shopping at the city's famous gold souk, sipping hookahs of peach-scented tobacco and snifters of Scotland's peatiest malts, ordering staff around...you know, the sort of things the rich do to occupy their time. So, calling upon the best skills of our craft, we adjusted the temperature for our section of the four-zone climate system, put into motion the seven motors that recline our sybaritically adjustable leather seat and relaxed.
Power to the people drivers
As respectful guests of the emirate, we obeyed Dubai's modest speed limits on the way to the five-star resort. (Besides, there's photo radar everywhere.) The Maybach 62 S was running along so quietly, our driver had to keep a close eye on the speedometer to avoid an expensive ticket. Meanwhile, in the back, it felt as though the car were standing still. Even the thrum of the 20-inch Michelins seemed to float around the edge of human hearing.
Maybach does place an extra speedometer in the passenger compartment as well as dials for time of day and outside temperature, so we were able to stay on top of things from the back, snug within our leather armchair-style accommodation. We drew the side curtains closed, tuned the 600-watt sound system to a quiet classical selection and assumed the position of a Maybach owner catching up on some of the sleep lost while flying through 12 time zones.
Ignore the additional speedometer hung from the suede headliner, and guessing the 62 S's speed as it is gliding down the highway is near impossible. And judging the true measure of its acceleration, even from behind the steering wheel the following day, was just as difficult. Could the 62 S really haul its 6,281 pounds from zero to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds as Mercedes claims?
"Go for it!" yelled our driver, who was fully reclined in the back. We made several runs along a deserted desert highway, and so sedately did the 62 S confirm its performance claims that a roadside flock of camels paid scant attention to our extralegal speeds. Our driver pretended to snooze, but we could tell he was awake, uncomfortable with our game of trading places.
Smoke him, James
Turns out rich guys don't like their limos getting smoked by the other guy's limo, which is why the 62 S is powered by a twin-turbocharged 612-horsepower V12, the same 6.0-liter engine offered in the Maybach 57 S as well as the Mercedes-Benz CL65, and S65 and SL65.
It packs 738 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm, which means you can nail it from a dead stop and blithely blow away most everything else on the road, including your buddy's Rolls-Royce Phantom. The 62 S is not as quick as the smaller and lighter Maybach 57 S (which weighs a mere 6,017 pounds), but it's faster than the Rolls, which we've tested at 5.9 seconds to 60 mph. Numbers aside, the 62 S didn't feel all that fast.
And we didn't mind. The 62 S was designed to be the most passenger-friendly of all passenger cars, so its extreme performance is purposely muted by sheets of acoustic insulation, intricately molded seals and layers of sound-deadening film, both in the front and rear windscreens and the specially laminated side glass. Shifts from its five-speed automatic felt as smooth as a supermodel's skin after an avocado wrap.
The rear-wheel-drive 62 S is over 20 feet long, but its forward thrust is so linear it felt like the rest of the world was being jerked backward around our rocket ship as it glided over the pavement. It was kind of strange, really. The Maybach pushed through the atmosphere so effortlessly, and with such stability, that steering it to the electronically imposed 155-mph limit was about as strenuous as guiding an elevator to the next floor.
Bring around the Maybach, Klaus
Maybach engineers purposely tuned the suspension of the 62 Special for comfort rather than handling, and though the underpinnings were indeed very compliant, the car never felt floaty or under-suspended. Credit Mercedes' wondrous Airmatic electronic, dual-control air suspension and the slightly larger footprint and lower aspect ratio of the 20-inch tires.
We were especially impressed by the brake system, comprised of two separate electrohydraulic circuits, internally vented discs, twin calipers at each front wheel and the electronic assistance of ESP, ASR, ABS and Brake Assist. There are certain rules of physics that apply to stopping 3-ton weights, but these brakes felt as though they could rewrite those rules.
After settling into our summer villa and enjoying a hug and kiss from our personal butler (apparently a custom in that part of the world?), we ordered our driver to Dubai's famous spice and gold souks. Open-air markets crowd the old quarter alongside the Creek, an estuary that winds through the heart of Dubai and has long been the center of trade for that part of the world.
We were tempted to buy several bushels of saffron, but we didn't have time to haggle, the only proper way to buy anything in Dubai's souks. Instead, using the optional compass on board, we pointed our driver toward the open desert. The compass can track two directions at once and also, if desired, display the direction to Mecca; we directed our driver to lunch.
To distance the 62 S from the less powerful 62, several changes were made to the exterior — a different front grille, headlamp cluster and a redesigned rear apron — and to interior trim, now a combination of black piano lacquer and carbon fiber. Of course, there's really no such thing as a "standard" Maybach. No two are completely alike. Add up all the available combinations of materials and options...well, there are people to do those things for you.
If you're in shape to spend more than $480,000 for one of these, all you need to know is that your 2008 Maybach 62 S will be like no one else's, and if you get smoked by some other limo, maybe it's time to get a better driver.
After a wonderful lunch overlooking the dunes of Araby, our short, happy life as a rich Maybach owner came to a somewhat ignominious end as we crawled, just like everyone else, through dense traffic to Dubai International. Worried about missing our flight, we leaned forward to urge our driver on. "Hey, buddy, we didn't buy the most powerful chauffeur-driven saloon in series production for you to dilly-dally around. Step on it."
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Maybach 62?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.