Power and Wealth Embodied in a Sedan

Power and wealth – Many seek after these things with religious fervor, building great empires of business or climbing the upper rungs of the corporate ladder. Perhaps its government work in some far-off land where surnames bring special rights and unquestioned privileges. These are the one percent of the one percent – the master-of-the-universe-types who need no introduction to their constituents.

What do these people drive? Sure, there’s Bentley or Rolls Royce, but every 0.0001-percenter drives – or rather is driven in – one of those. Ah, but Mercedes-Benz has a solution. It has revived the storied Maybach name for 2016 after three years of being idle. The brand dates back to its founding in 1909. Since then, the German company has built everything from diesel engines for Zeppelins and Panzer III tanks for the German army to dolled up versions of Mercedes sedans. And that’s exactly what we have here.

Built using the same platform and design as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 takes things way past a mere “dolling up,” into the upper echelon of elite high-end limousine sedans. An extra eight inches of length is added to the S-Class’ chassis, all centered in the rear passengers’ compartment. The result is utterly enormous legroom fit for a king, or at least an NBA player.

I recently found myself with the Maybach S600, sitting in all its elongated glory, in my driveway. It’s $203,000 as-tested price easily surpassing the value of my rental property and personal vehicles with change to spare. Even the four-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot house my wife and I are building carries less of a premium. I’ll tell you, it’s an interesting feeling being behind the wheel of something worth more than the 30-year mortgage we face at the end of our lease. Needless to say, we’ve yet to acquire the prerequisite power and wealth needed to own such as the Maybach. Still, it was a heck of a press loaner.

Continue reading for the full review

  • 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    523 @ 5300
  • MPG(Cty):
    13
  • MPG(Hwy):
    20
  • Torque @ RPM:
    612 @ 1900
  • Energy:
    BiTurbo
  • Displacement:
    6.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; Rear Drive
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Video Walk-Around


Exterior

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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Stately, long, black – all words that only trim the surface of the S600’s looks. Honestly though, the car isn’t much more than a lengthened S-Class. From the B-pillar forward and from the C-pillar rearward, it looks nearly identical to the (dare I say) mundane range-topping Mercedes. Of course, that’s not to say the S-Class, and subsequently the Maybach S600, look bad. No, to the contrary. The sedan carries a rather subtle civility to it that I find refreshing, especially compared to the relatively ostentatious Rolls Royces and Bentleys of the segment.

The sedan carries a rather subtle civility to it that I find refreshing

The S600 does come with bespoke bits, including the massive 20-inch chrome wheels. They look as if they’re designed to protect the disc brakes from bullets. They comes wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 run-flat tires sized in 245/40 up front and 275/35 out back. A sedan of this size needs wide contact patches, after all.

Though it’s hard to see past the black paint, strong character lines run along the top and bottom of the doors, with the bottom line continuing onto the rear bumper. Back here, the understated civility continues, with only small touches of chrome giving brightness to the otherwise dark rear end. LED taillights aid in the effort as well.

To the casual observer, the Maybach S600 might look like any other Mercedes, save for the extra length and bespoke wheels.

Interior

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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This – this is where Mercedes spent all its time and money. Just look at it; the attention to detail is striking. Every inch of the S600’s interior is coated in real leather, real wood, and real aluminum. Oh, there’s also a few square feet of real sheepskin, too. Yes, everything you see is real. Nothing is a fake imitation or half-hearted knockoff. Let’s start up front.

Yes, everything you see is real. Nothing is a fake imitation or half-hearted knockoff

The driver sits behind a leather and wood-trimmed steering wheel that protrudes from a dashboard that’s covered in more leather and wood. It’s also covered in screens. Every gauge and control function, save for the Schaffhausen clock, is digital. The dual screens display separate information, just as you’d suspect. The center-mounted screen is controlled via the mouse-like touch pad and rotary knob on the center console. A single row of actual buttons arc around the knob, looking like it belongs on the USS Enterprise. Both driver and front passenger seats are nearly infinitely adjustable, heated and cooled, and offer memory functions and massage.

The real treasures are reserved for the rear seat passengers. Opting for the $1,500 Executive Seating package adds these two bucket seats with full power reclining functions and the center console. At the press of a button, the seats recline rearward with a foot rest popping up to sweep you off your feet. Press more buttons and the seats will warm, cool, or massage you. And be sure to take your shoes and socks off; that’s the only way to truly enjoy the deep-pile sheepskin floor mats. And by deep, I mean a full inch worth of butter-soft wool that can spoil the most jaded of oligarchs.

At the press of a button, the seats recline rearward with a foot rest popping up to sweep you off your feet

Rear passengers have use of dual screens that can monitor the vehicle’s speed and position, along with controlling HVAC and entertainment options. All this is done via two separate remote controls stored in the door pockets. But what’s a plush car ride without a little bubbly? Reach past your shoulder and you’ll find a chiller box large enough for three Champaign bottles. Hopefully you opted for the $3,300 Champaign flutes customized with the Maybach “Double M” emblem. It’s the only way to toast in a style. They’re also likely to discourage any law enforcement officer from booking you for an open-container infraction. If need be, the flutes can be parked in specialized holders that effortlessly grab the bottom rim, holding them in place, full or otherwise.

Of course, being the owner of a billion-dollar business isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes work must be done. If that case, the two folding aluminum tables hiding within the center armrest will provide a perfect place for a laptop or writing pad. When work is done, you can stare out the panoramic moonroof while reclined and holding your Maybach-branded, soft-leather pillows and listening to the Burmester 3D surround sound system. Speaking of that, the high-end stereo features speakers on nearly every interior panel, including the roof. The A- and B-pillars even house tweeters that automatically twist open when the car or its radio is switched on. What’s more, each speaker is housed in an aluminum case.

Occupants needing more serenity will enjoy choosing their favorite of seven interior accent hues and smelling the Maybach-branded perfume that circulates in the HVAC system through a bottle in the glove compartment. And if utter serenity is desired, the cabin’s thick insulation makes the Maybach one of the quietest cars on the road.

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Drivetrain Exclusive Photos
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Matching the exterior’s gentry and interior’s poshness is the Maybach’s powerful engine. It’s an all-aluminum 6.0-liter V-12 with two turbochargers supplying boost. A single camshaft on each bank taps a total of 36 valves while fuel is supplied via port injectors. The result is 523 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and an Earth-moving 612 pound-feet of torque at only 1,900 rpm. The engine is then bolted to Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic transmission that pushes power to the rear wheels.

Believe it or not, the Maybach S600 only weights 5,304 pounds fully dressed, meaning its V-12 has an impeccably easy time hustling it down the Autobahn. The sprint to 60 mph happens only 4.7 seconds while top speed is governed to 130 mph. it’s foolish to think someone buying such a sedan will care about fuel prices, but the V-12 isn’t terrible on that front, either. The EPA rates the Maybach S600 at 13 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined.

Safety & Technology

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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If the exterior, interior, and drivetrain seemed impressive, the technology packed into the Maybach is downright mind-blowing. Mercedes has packed nearly every conceivable techno gadget, convenience, and safety system into the S600, seeming both in an effort to (obviously) increase safety and (perhaps more importantly) impress the Joneses or that potential business partner you’re delivering to his Gulfstream.

a grille-mounted night-vision camera displays in the screen, offering a crisp view ahead

It all starts with the dual, 12.3-inch screens behind the steering wheel. The large screens are home to nearly every other system’s interface or control functions. Mercedes’ COMMAND controller on the center console acts like a mouse, moving between options. The infotainment screen, the one towards the center of the dash, houses everything from GPS maps and radio stations to vehicle setting, internet and Wi-Fi connections, and vehicle settings. The driver’s screen displays two main analog-style gauges for speed and revs. Between the gauges is a space for other critical vehicle info and other display options. For those drives during adverse conditions, a grille-mounted night-vision camera displays in the screen, offering a crisp view ahead. The night-vision camera also comes with pedestrian detection, alerting the driver with a red outline around people potentially in the car’s path. I found the system to work great. It detected a group of people walking down a dark sidewalk, highlighted their outline, and tracked their movement until they had passed.

Set the adaptive cruise control, and the car will literally drive itself, though only for a short distance...

More camera goodness happens with the lane-keeping function. The car monitors lane marking and will keep the car centered. Set the adaptive cruise control, and the car will literally drive itself, though only for a short distance before requesting your hands on the wheel. Grab the wheel for a split second, and the timer resets, allowing for comfortable highway cruising.

Yet another camera function is Mercedes’ “Magic Body Control.” A stereoscopic camera monitors the road ahead and adjusts the dynamic suspension to accommodate for upcoming bumps, broken pavement, or hard turns. Literally, the car proactively adjusts itself to what it sees. The system works, too. The Maybach’s ride is spectacular. But more on that later.

Other, more common safety tech items include active blind spot assist, cross-traffic alert, pedestrian braking, adaptive brakes, and an adaptive high-beam assist. If the worst were to happen, the Maybach is well equipped to handle a crash. A slew of airbags are dispersed around the cabin, including within the seatbelts. Also, seatbelt pretensioners contract when the PRE-SAFE system detects an imminent crash.

Driving Impressions

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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Despite the Maybach’s land-yacht size, it’s easy to drive. Sharp turns and stray curbs are the only major concern. Otherwise, it’s smooth sailing. The Magic Body Control keeps the S600 well planted without feeling too soft or too stiff, always finding a perfect medium between the two. Bumps are soaked up without issue and the cabin remains church mouse quiet. The Steering is also commendable, having that just-right heft between sports car and John Deere. Surprisingly, the steering communicates more of the road that you’d think, allowing for easy placement of the wheels in corners. The story continues with the brakes, never once felt undersized or overworked.

Despite the Maybach’s land-yacht size, it’s easy to drive

Then there’s that engine – all six liters of goodness evenly divided between 12 cylinders, all boosted by twin-turbochargers. The spec sheet might say it has 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque, but all you feel is a whooshing rush of smooth acceleration unfelt in any sports car. Absolutely there are faster cars, but I wager to bed none of them accelerate with the grace and tactfulness of the Maybach. With peak torque coming at only 1,900 rpm, the throttle needs only a slight nudging before the Tesla-like acceleration kicks in. That’s the best part – revs and downshifts aren’t perceived or as seeming important here. The car just pulls.

When not blasting down the highway at unperceived speeds, the car is easy going around town. It is surprisingly easy to see out of, blind spots are monitored by the BSM system, and other cars generally give you space as if they suspect some foreign dignitary is inspecting the town.

The only same about this car is that you can’t drive from the back seat.

Price

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Exterior Exclusive Photos
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Obviously all this doesn’t come cheap. The 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 carries a starting price of $198,300. My tester further broke the bank by added several high-dollar options that included the specialty wood trim ($800), Champagne flutes with holders ($3,300), Refrigerated Rear Console ($1,100), 20-inch Maybach Forged Wheels ($3,900), Splitview center infotainment screen ($710), and the Executive Rear Seats ($1,950).

Add on the $925 destination charge and the $1,700 gas-guzzler tax, and the grand total comes to $203,635.

Competition

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II Exterior Wallpaper quality
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For those looking to display their wealth, the Rolls-Royce fits the bill. Updated in 2015, the Series II version of the Ghost boasts a slightly updated grille, deeper levels of customization, and all the same qualities that made the 2010-2014 Ghost such a success. This British-blooded sedan now rolls on a BMW 7 Series chassis and makes use of a 6.6-liter, twin-turbo V-12 making 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. A satellite-guided ZF eight-speed automatic does the shifting in anticipation of road and elevation changes, not in response to them.

Inside, the Rolls is all luxury. Wood, leather, solid metals – it’s all here. For customers who want a bespoke ride, Rolls-Royce is happy to let you choose the exact colors, materials, and wood types of your choice. Want two colors of fabric on your door-mounted RR umbrella? No problem.

Prices for the Ghost Series II start at $291,350. For more money, the Extended Wheelbase Ghost is available.

Read our full review on the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II here.

Bentley Flying Spur

2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8 High Resolution Exterior
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Like the Rolls-Royce, the Bentley has long been a regular in the garage of wealthy folks the world over. It combines classic styling, a posh interior, and a pair of engine options that would make horsepower gurus weep with pride. The latest Flying Spur debuted for the 2015 model year and well-crafted interior that is more focused on high-quality, shiny details than all-out comfort. That’s certainly not to say the Bentley isn’t comfortable – not in the least. Like the Maybach, it has a full-length center console that separates the rear seats and the quilted leather looks like it belongs in a Gulfstream jet.

The two engine options include the massive twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter W-12 that makes 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, and the new-for-2015 twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-8 that cranks out 500 horsepower and 488 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Though the W-12 is more prestigious and powerful, the lighter V-8 is the driver’s choices.

Prices for the less-expensive V-8 Flying Spur start at $197,825.

Read our full review on the Bentley Flying Spur here.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 – Driven High Resolution Interior Exclusive Photos
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The 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 is perhaps the most comfortable vehicle I’ve ever sat in, much less driven. Its combination of plush leather, real wood and aluminum trims, and the absolutely spacious rear seats make it very easy to get spoiled. Its driving experience is more fun than you’d think, though nothing like a 523-horsepower sports sedan. Passenger comfort, especially in back, is superb. With the seats relined, the massagers going, and a DVD playing over the dual screens and the Burmester 3D sound system, long trips are over too soon.

It seems Mercedes has done its homework in reviving the Maybach name. This ultra high-end level of the automotive segment needed some more competition and the S600 is just the vehicle to deliver it. What’s more, with a starting price just under $200,000, the car is a relative bargain, especially considering the competition. Let’s just hope this chapter of Maybach’s existence is more profitable than is last endeavor; 1997 through 2013 weren’t the best years for the historic brand.

Judging by this example, it seems Mercedes is certainly on the right track. The automaker is also keen on its target audience. It’s said only 10 percent of Maybach production will reach the U.S., with a whopping 50 percent headed to China. Over there, drivers are cheap labor. Here in the States, expect only the most audaciously opulent to spring for the Maybach.

  • Leave it
    • * Very expensive
    • * Can’t drive from the back seats
    • * Trunk space compromised by the refrigerator
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