Mercedes-Benz is one of the best-known luxury brands in the world, but when it comes to ultimate high-end luxury, British brands Rolls-Royce and Bentley (both, ironically, now German-owned) do it best — and that's always bothered Mercedes. After a less than successful attempt to bring back the storied Maybach name as an independent brand, Mercedes has created a new Maybach as a high-end, long-wheelbase variant of the S-Class. The Maybach models have every feature in Mercedes' luxe catalog and a few they don't, such as the optional Robbe & Berking silver Champagne flutes.
You could argue that at the end of the day, the Maybach is just a gussied-up S-Class. But when you compare the Mercedes-Benz Maybach's price against those of the Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls-Royce Ghost, you'll find that the Maybach delivers similar opulence at a much lower cost. (And isn't that how the rich get richer?) While it might not have the pedigree of its British rivals, there's no question that the Mercedes-Benz Maybach is one of the best luxury sedans in the world.
Current Mercedes-Benz Maybach
The Mercedes-Benz Maybach is sold in S550 4Matic and S600 trims. The only differences between them are the powertrain and the suspension. The S550 gets a 4.7-liter turbocharged V8 with 449 horsepower and all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, the S600 uses a 6.0-liter turbo V12 with 523 hp and rear-wheel drive. The S600 also gets Magic Body Control, which scans the road ahead for imperfections and adjusts the suspension accordingly. In Edmunds testing, the S550's all-wheel-drive traction gave it a quicker acceleration time — 5.0 seconds to 60 mph versus 5.1 seconds for the S600. But the V12 definitely feels like the more powerful engine. The S600 also uses more fuel, with an EPA rating of 16 mpg combined versus 19 mpg combined for the S550.
In terms of standard equipment, it's almost easier to list what the Maybach doesn'tcome with. All Maybach owners are treated to an adjustable air suspension, heated and ventilated front and rear seats with massaging functions, a full suite of driver assistance and safety aids, and a 24-speaker Burmester stereo system. The options raise the luxury ante even higher: a dimming function for the panoramic sunroof, a split-screen video display that allows driver and passenger to see different images, and a rear console refrigerator. An executive rear seating package adds heated and cooled cupholders and tray tables that fold out from the center armrest.
Though it's not easy to envision a cabin with a richer ambiance than that of the regular S-Class, the Maybach manages, with fittings that rival those from Rolls-Royce and Bentley. The leather is beautifully stitched. Ambient lighting and a cabin perfumer provide a serene environment. The Maybach's wheelbase is nearly 8 inches longer than that of the standard S-Class, and legroom is a marvel. Screen a movie on the twin 12.3-inch wide-screen displays, eat a little caviar from the folding tray tables (washed down with Champagne from the Maybach's optional silver flutes, of course), and you might as well be traveling by corporate jet — except for the inevitable traffic jams.
The Mercedes-Benz Maybach was designed primarily with passengers in mind, but the driving experience is still quite remarkable. The steering is light, and the lane-keeping assistance system helps to keep the car lined up on the road. The Maybach can hustle through the curves when you ask it to, though this clearly isn't its primary mission. The emphasis is on the ride, which is soft and remarkably quiet. The Magic Body Control system doesn't work at all speeds, but when it is active, it does a brilliant job of making bumps in the road virtually undetectable.
Used Mercedes-Benz Maybach Models
The Mercedes-Benz Maybach made its debut as a 2016 model in S600 trim. For 2017, the Maybach S550 joined the lineup.
Read the most recent 2018 Mercedes-Benz Maybach review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mercedes-Benz Maybach page.