What's great about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Maybach is that it's an S-Class sedan in most substantive ways. But what's even better about the Maybach is how it stretches the S-Class into something staggeringly luxurious.
The Maybach is built by stretching the S-Class wheelbase by 7.9 inches and fitting the car with a steel plug in the floorpan and new aluminum rear quarter panels and doors. These new doors aren't simply longer, but they also don't cut into or over the wheelwells much. That means when the doors sweep open with majestic magnificence, you can elegantly depart from the car even if you're encased in a Valentino ball gown and wearing 5-inch Louboutin heels. Which is an even more spectacular feat if you're a dude.
From the side roof pillar forward, the Maybach is pretty much standard S-Class. It's the rear seat area that benefits from the additional wheelbase. This is a pure limousine experience: You sip Champagne from chilled bottles housed in the optional center-mounted refrigerator, watch whatever your media empire is producing on video screens integrated into the backrests of the front seats, and indulge in the wafting aroma of agarwood. Agar is a tree you'd know about if you were really, really rich. And the seats recline, massage, heat, cool and have a footrest, so your toes will never reach the front seats.
There's a temptation to think of the Maybach as a car best experienced in back. But it truly is glorious to drive. Most Maybachs are S600 models powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 making an almost silent 523 horsepower that feeds a seven-speed automatic and the rear wheels. New for 2017 is an S550 4Matic model powered by a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 rated at 449 hp and feeding a nine-speed automatic and Mercedes' famed all-wheel-drive system. You know, in case the weather dare turn nasty against your wishes.
The steering is nicely weighted, the ride quality is better than a taxiing Airbus A380's, and the feeling of seamless competence is more reassuring than when the SEC announces that it has completed its investigation and that you will not be indicted.
Did we mention the Burmester sound system? How about the glorious feel of the leather? The different available wood trim finishes? There have been wars fought over things less beautiful than the optional 20-inch wheels.
Fuel economy? OK, it is perhaps not your top concern. The S550 4Matic Maybach is EPA-rated at 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway). Go for the S600 Maybach and those numbers come in at 16 mpg combined (13 city/21 highway).
At this lofty level of indulgence, all the cars are fantastic. And that can make choosing the right one that much more perplexing. So if you're in the market for a new 2017 Mercedes-Benz Maybach, let Edmunds.com be your concierge and guide you to the best car for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.