Until recently, modern-day Maybachs have mostly flown under the radar. The “original” 2003 Maybach 57 and 62 largely looked like old Mercedes-Benz S-Classes. Both were unceremoniously discontinued in 2012 after having their lunch eaten by the day’s Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Flying Spur (née Continental Flying Spur). But that started to change with the reconstitution of the ultra-luxury badge as the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. The first 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 didn’t move any design needles, but the resemblance to Mercedes models was more forgivable, and vehicles such as the special 2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet and new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 made the brand relevant to the SUV-crazed ultra-wealthy. With the reveal of the 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, standout styling, elegant interiors, and levels of technology rivals can’t match have clearly become the norm at Maybach.
No Longer Just a Fancier S-Class
Based on the new seventh-generation S-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach S 580 model is a significant step forward for the über luxe sub-brand—no longer will the Maybach be confused for “just another S-Class.” Though it borrows heavily from the handsome new W223 S-Class, the new Z223 Mercedes-Maybach is an imposing yet somehow beautiful thing. The Maybach S-Class gets a 7.1-inch wheelbase stretch versus America’s standard S-Class (it’s 11.5 inches longer than the short-wheelbase S-Class available overseas), which drastically benefits this luxury sedan’s visual proportions while boosting room in the rear passenger quarters. The Maybach also gets some unique design cues of its own, like the brand’s new signature radiator grille, light-up Maybach badges on the C-pillars, and unique chrome trim. The best Maybach-exclusive design elements, though, are the standard 20-inch forged monoblock wheels (19- and 21-inch wheel options are available), the extra-cost two-tone paint (which is painstakingly done by hand), and, something that will easily be missed in pictures: the chrome strake on the Maybach-exclusive hood leading to the hood ornament, harkening back to Maybach’s pre-World War II SW models.
It’s not easy to improve on the new S-Class’ interior, but the Maybach somehow pulls it off. Taking a cue from luxury yachts and private jets, the Maybach S 580 blends classic luxury with the latest in technology. Available with five seats or an optional four-seat executive layout, the new Maybach has a screen, leather, wood, or aluminum—or some combination thereof—covering nearly every surface. The new vertically lined wood-and-aluminum trim on the dash, doors, and seatbacks (also seen in lesser S-Classes), is particularly smart looking, somehow managing to visually waterfall the flowing hood design into and through the cabin. Fine details are everywhere, from the aluminum-finished Burmester speaker mounted on the panoramic roof crossrail to the bespoke Maybach pedals. There’s even a Maybach-specific scent for the onboard diffuser.
Although the Maybach S 580’s front seats are a mighty fine place to spend some time, the executive-style back seats are the place to be. Swing open the power-operated rear doors using the new Maybach key or a ceiling-mounted button next to either rear grab handle and you’ll be welcomed to first-class, airline-style seats that fold nearly flat, complete with the same multi-contour, heated, cooled, and massage functions as the front seats. Rear occupants can also make good use of the new, faster MBUX infotainment system via a seat-back screen or a center-console-mounted tablet with zero latency. Or they could forget everything else and simply enjoy a glass of bubbly from the rear fridge in the optional silver champagne flutes. In a Mercedes first, rear passenger airbags are fitted to the front seatbacks.
All the Tech, Literally
Like you’d expect, Mercedes’ latest tech features make an appearance in the new Maybach S 580. It, like lesser S-Class models, gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (complete with 3-D gauges re-skinned with Maybach-specific graphics), a new 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen running the latest version of MBUX and an augmented reality head-up display that provides the same field of vision as if you were watching a 77-inch TV. Other creature comforts include the latest version of the “Hey, Mercedes” assistant and the aforementioned 1,750-watt Burmester audio system. That system features an easy-to-use sound profile setup (no more fiddling with bass, mid-range, or treble), “4D Surround Sound,” 30 speakers, and two resonators in each seat that really let you feel the music as if you were on stage in front of a wall of Marshall amplifiers.
The Mercedes-Maybach S 580 also features a slew of active safety features. Standard kit includes adaptive cruise control with route-based speed adaptation—meaning it’ll automatically drop the S-Class’ speed for curves or exit roads—active steering and lane-change assist, lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and active blind-spot warnings. The Maybach also offers vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication for simultaneously broadcasting and receiving warnings and driving-condition alerts from V2X-capable infrastructure, as well as a built-in toll-gate transponder, so no more looking at an ugly E-ZPass on your windshield. In addition, the LED ambient lighting elements can flash when you’re about to step out and into, say, the path of an approaching bike.
In the Engine Room
Mechanically, the Mercedes-Maybach S 580 has much in common with the Mercedes-Benz S 580. Although we wouldn’t be surprised to see an exclusive V-12-powered Mercedes-Maybach S-Class in the near future, for now, the sedan is powered by Mercedes’ EQ Boost 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with one key difference: The Maybach engine rolls down the Mercedes-AMG engine line instead of the standard Benz one. Producing 496 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, the engine is teamed with an electric motor located at the flywheel, ahead of the nine-speed automatic, with power being sent out to a standard all-wheel-drive system. Also standard is a four-wheel steering system, with the rear wheels turning as much as 10 degrees with equal tire sizing all around or 4.5 degrees with a staggered-tire fitment. Mercedes promises the system will help make the Maybach drive more like an A-Class than a Sprinter in tight urban areas.
Pricing for the new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S 580 is expected to be announced closer to its mid-2021 launch, but figure around $180,000 or so to start. Pricey, sure, but it’s a bargain compared to rivals like the Flying Spur, which starts well north of $200,000, or the new Rolls-Royce Ghost, which starts above $300,000. While Maybach doesn’t yet have the cachet of those big British brands, if any car is going to start turning things around for Mercedes-Maybach, it’s this one. Combined with the new GLS-based SUV, it’s a heck of a one-two punch.
|2021 Mercedes-Maybach S 580 4Matic|
|BASE PRICE||$180,000 (est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 4-5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||4.0L/496-hp/516-lb-ft twin-turbocharged DOHC 32-valve V-8 plus 21-hp/184-lb-ft elec, 496 hp/516 lb-ft (comb)|
|CURB WEIGHT||5,600 lb (est)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||215.3 x 75.6 x 59.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.7 sec (MT est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||Not yet rated|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Summer, 2021|
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