by Gerhard Horn
Is the Mercedes-Maybach S necessary? The standard S-Class has long been the most significant player in the large luxury sedan segment, with multiple players trying but failing to usurp it. Not content with simply dominating it, Mercedes set its sights on the ultra-luxury sedan segment nearly 20 years ago with the original Maybach. It was poorly received and generally considered to be the preferred ride of the nouveau riche. Old money kept on buying Rollers and Bentleys. Mercedes brought back the Maybach name with the previous-generation S-Class but didn't try to hide the car's roots. This made it a more palatable proposition but still less desirable than its British rivals. Now, there's an all-new Mercedes-Maybach S based on the all-new S-Class. It's slightly more reserved design-wise, apart from the horrifying forged alloy wheel options. Can this new Mercedes-Maybach S shake its nouveau riche heritage and go head-to-head with the British aristocrats?
The Maybach was introduced in 2021, so there are no significant changes, aside from the new engine. For 2022, Mercedes adds a V12 engine option called the S680 4Matic. It produces a stunning 621 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, reducing the 0-60 time to just 4.4 seconds.
See trim levels and configurations:
The original early 2000s Maybach was a terrible attempt at disguising an S-Class, but the modern cars are more honest about their 'humble' roots. The previous-generation model was still a bit too Logan Paul for our liking, but the new vehicle is a lot more reserved. Having said that, you can still mess it up pretty badly by opting for the more gaudy dual-tone color selections. The 20-inch wheels also don't do it any favors in comfort, but at least you can get 21-inch multi-spoke Champagne Flute alloys. In a single color, it simply looks like a stretched S-Class. We like the new reserved look as it doesn't draw unnecessary attention to itself. As standard, the Maybach gets all-LED exterior lighting and a panorama roof. The Maybach logo is dramatically projected onto the ground from above when you unlock the car, which is a few notches above the usual puddle lights. Power-folding mirrors and soft-close doors are also standard.
The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S is all about rear-seat comfort, and to improve that, you need an even longer wheelbase than the standard S's already lengthy one. The Maybach has a 133.7-inch wheelbase, significantly longer than the Bentley Flying Spur and the Rolls-Royce Ghost. The overall length is 215.3 inches, and it's 83 inches wide with the mirrors included. It stands a full 59.4 inches tall. The S580 weighs 5,247 pounds, while the V12 Maybach S680 weighs more thanks to the extra cylinders - official figures were not yet available at the time of writing.
Standard non-metallic black is available as a no-cost option, as are eight other metallic colors. Options include Obsidian Black, Onyx Black, Mojave Silver, Cirrus Silver, Rubellite Red, Emerald Green, Selenite Grey, and Graphite Grey. There are also two designo colors: Diamond White Metallic for $795 and Patagonia Red for $360. From there, the pricing takes a giant leap to the distinctive but polarizing dual-tone options. The most affordable is Obsidian Black and Diamond White, retailing for $13,705. Every other dual-tone option costs $14,500. The available color combinations are Selenite Grey/Obsidian Black, Rubellite Red/Obsidian Black, Mojave Silver/Emerald Green, Onyx Black/Mojave Silver, Selenite Grey/Cirrus Silver, and Cirrus Silver/Obsidian Black.
The Mercedes-Maybach S is available with two engine options. The S580 uses Merc's famous twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, and in this application, it produces 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The engine is also equipped with EQ Boost to ensure maximum low-down torque. The new S680 uses a twin-turbocharged V12 engine producing 621 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. This engine may lack the EQ Boost system but that's hardly an issue when maximum torque is available from just 2,000 rpm.
Both models come standard with 4Matic fully variable all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Being a luxury limo, the emphasis is not on performance. The straight-line speed is merely a bonus of effortless low-down torque. The S580 can do 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and is limited to 130 mph. The S680 gets to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has the same top speed. We're glad Mercedes didn't bother giving the Maybach stupid power. The upcoming AMG S-Class will see to that. In these cars, you need just enough power for smooth acceleration and brisk overtaking on the freeway. Since you'll most likely be seated in the back, you don't want the driver mobbing to 60 mph in two seconds flat. You'll only spill your Mimosa, and nothing ruins a morning quite like an Armani suit that reeks of champagne and citrus.
Both models use a nine-speed automatic transmission that sends power to an active AWD system. Neither the AWD system nor the transmission is AMG enhanced, which is a good thing.
In this case, the transmission needs to do just one thing: not get noticed. Whether you sit behind the steering wheel or in the back, you don't want anything as rudimentary as a split-second lapse in power, or that uncomfortable feeling of the car lurching forward slightly as it reaches for a higher gear.
Thankfully, the Maybach's transmission is so smooth that you can't tell when it changes gears. The cabin is also so well insulated that you can't even use noise as a reference point. As for the engines, it's clear that Merc's main aim was low-down torque, as it should be in a luxury vehicle. The S580's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with EQ Boost produces 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The EQ Boost system consists of an integrated starter-generator linked to a 48-volt lithium-ion battery that powers components like the air conditioning compressor.
The S680's 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine makes 621 hp and 664 lb-ft. Don't let the latter's output fool you, however. It doesn't gather speed like an AMG product. Instead, it provides a smooth takeoff and relentless acceleration that never feels scary or intimidating. That's precisely what Maybach customers want.
The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S has driving modes, and we think that's sacrilege. You get the usual Mercedes-Benz presets, including Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, as well as an exclusive Maybach setting. The sport modes do the usual electronic trickery like stiffening the suspension and sharpening the throttle response. We have no idea why. It makes less sense than Carole Baskin's missing husband.
We do like the model-exclusive Maybach mode and believe it should be the only mode. If we were in charge of Maybach and you hit the sport button, a stern German woman would appear on the center display shouting "Nein, Nein, Nein," until you put it back in Maybach mode.
This setting minimizes body motion, goes even further to disguise gear shifts, and gives the driver a gentler throttle response.
Both Maybach models come standard with Airmatic suspension, which can control each of the wheels individually. It will even adjust the suspension according to where the passenger is located to make the ride as smooth as possible. The ride feels the same all the time. Whether the car is stuck in traffic doing no more than five mph or on the freeway doing 90 mph, it's silent, soft, and incredibly relaxing. The only hint that you're moving faster is the scenery flying by the window. The only concession in the handling department is standard 10-degree rear-axle steering. This is not meant to make the car feel more agile but rather to help thread its lengthy body through tight city center corners.
The fuel consumption figures for the twin-turbo V12 aren't available yet, but the 2021 S580 has EPA-rated figures of 16/24/19 mpg city/highway/combined. We see no reason that these numbers wouldn't apply to the 2022 model. It's pretty clear the Maybach is at its happiest on the highway, cruising along at a reasonable pace. The S580 is equipped with a sizable 22.2-gallon tank, giving it a theoretical driving range of 422 miles from a full tank of gas.
The Maybach's interior is strikingly similar to the standard S-Class, but the devil is in the details. Take a closer look, and you'll see that high-end Nappa leather is not just used on the seats but on other surfaces including the headliner. And that's just the beginning. You see, the Maybach is like a mullet. It's all business in the front, but you want to be a part of the party in the back. In the rear compartment, you'll find stunning ambient lighting, rear-seat infotainment, and two reclining business class-like seats. The owner of a private jet would not feel out of place, and that's likely what Maybach was aiming for. Our favorite feature is the set of Nappa scatter cushions. Other standard inclusions are four-zone climate control, heated and ventilated massage seats, and power rear-window sunshades.
Mercedes doesn't provide a figure for the front legroom, but we can tell you from experience that it's enough. Headroom in the front is 39.4 inches, while rear passengers get 38.1 inches. Those at the back have true stretch-out space with 49.1 inches of legroom. Once those beautiful rear seats are folded into full comfort mode, the rear passengers won't have a care in the world.
Although it seats five by default, we expect that most customers will go for the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus. This setup replaces the bench with two individual rear chairs, reducing seating capacity to four. It's well worth it as those in the back also get a functional center console, extra storage, and more. The right rear seat has a power calf rest and a footrest in this configuration.
As mentioned earlier, Exclusive Nappa leather is standard, available in Black, Sienna Brown/Black, Macchiato Beige/Bronze Brown Pearl, and Silver Grey/Black. You can upgrade to the designo Leather Package for an additional $8,000. Selecting the right trim inlays is essential, as it is applied liberally throughout the cabin and can significantly alter its appearance. It's a theme carried throughout the cabin, right down to the portion that separates the two rear seats. The no-cost options include Brown Burl Walnut, Natural Grain Anthracite Fineline wood, and Slate Poplar wood. The options are well worth paying for, however. Black/Silver stainless steel ($850) is okay, but the Black Piano Flowing Lines ($1,300) option look sublime. You can go for Silver Aluminum and Fanned Walnut Wood for $3,200.
The standard wood and leather steering wheel can be replaced by a Nappa leather steering wheel at no additional cost. Other lavish details include ceiling trim in Nappa leather and bespoke Maybach pedals in textured stainless steel. Without a doubt, this is one of the most exquisitely finished cabins you'll find in any new vehicle on the road today.
The Mercedes-Maybach S has the same problem all luxury barges have. With most of the available space dedicated to rear passenger comfort, not much is left for the trunk. In this case, the trunk measures 12.5 cubic feet, which is shockingly small for such a massive vehicle. To put that number into perspective, the C-Class sedan has a marginally bigger trunk yet is over 30 inches shorter in length than the Maybach sedan. Like most luxury limos, the rear seats in the Maybach don't fold flat.
But, as we always say in these kinds of road tests, if you can afford a $200k luxury car, you can likely afford to buy a van and employ a man to drive all your belongings around for you. Or send it in advance.
With such an expansive interior, it's no surprise that there are many options for storing smaller belongings. In front, there are large cupholders and a spacious compartment beneath the center armrest, plus there is an additional open storage area behind the central touchscreen. This is in addition to large door pockets. Rear passengers get cupholders and possibly the most expensive-feeling seatback map pockets in existence. By ticking the box for the four-seater option, those in the back enjoy heated/cooled cupholders, fold-down tables, and additional storage.
The Maybach is the ultimate S-Class, a car already known for offering a lot of luxuries as standard. Let's start with the outside and work our way into the opulent interior. It comes with an illuminated entry system, puddle lamps, soft-close doors, a power trunk lid, heat and noise-insulating glass all around, and intelligent LED lights with ultra-wide high beams and high-beam assist. Step inside, and you'll notice the active multi-contour 12-way power-adjustable front seats with rapid heating, cooling, and massage functions. The rear seats are heated and ventilated as well, and they also offer massaging. Naturally, you get a 64-color ambient lighting system and four-zone climate control as standard. The properly upmarket features include neck heating for front and rear passengers, rear seats that recline 43 degrees, and heated armrests.
When it comes to safety, the Mercedes-Maybach S gets it all. There's no $1,700 Driver Assistance package like you get on 90% of Mercs these days. This car has more than 40 safety features, including the latest versions of Merc's driver-assistance systems. Highlights include adaptive cruise control with steering assist, active blind-spot assist, active lane-keep and lane change assist, automatic speed takeover, a parking assistant, a surround-view camera system, and wipers with laser-cut holes that spray water. Suffice it to say that you have to be driving like an absolute buffoon to crash this car.
It's like an S-Class, but more. The center infotainment system is a 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen display with all the latest connectivity features, navigation, wireless charging, and Merc's MBUX operating system. The navigation is brought to life by nifty augmented video, and an augmented reality head-up display is included, too. The driver gets a 12.3-inch 3D digital instrument cluster, facial recognition, and biometric authentication. So even if a thief happens to make it inside the car, he's not going anywhere. Unless it's your evil twin.
In addition to the usual infotainment goodies, you also get over-the-air updates, wireless charging, and wireless headphones for the rear passengers. The lucky individuals at the back also get a small tablet, running MBUX software. In addition to this tablet, the rear seats also boast twin 11.6-inch touchscreens that can play media via an HDMI cable or Bluetooth connections. Rear passengers can also check out the navigation route if they're truly bored. Wireless operation of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a welcome addition, and HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio are included, too.
As standard, the Maybach gets a Burmester 4D sound system with seat-integrated resonators, six 3D speakers, and a trunk-mounted sub. The total speaker count is 30, but that's not the most impressive thing about it. The sound can be designated to a specific seat or area, and the ear-level speaker up front can be used to issue discreet commands to the driver.
The latest generation of the Mercedes-Maybach S has not been recalled yet, although last year's model received a merely average rating of 75 out of 100 for quality and reliability in a J.D. Power review. The car is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty. The good news is that Maybach owners tend to be the kind of people you don't want to upset, so if something goes wrong, you can bet that Mercedes will go to great lengths to get it sorted within the shortest possible time frame.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has a thorough review of the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, and it's unlikely they ever will, considering its price and exclusivity. We have zero doubt that this car is as safe as a stainless steel house, though. With so many advanced driver-assistance features, we have no idea what you'd need to do to crash it. Given the sturdy build quality and the curb weight, the Maybach would likely smash right through an immovable concrete wall anyway.
As mentioned earlier, the Mercedes-Maybach S has more than 40 safety features. The first sign that this is no ordinary sedan is the fitment of 15 airbags, which is double the airbag count of many other high-end sedans. Besides the usual front and side airbags, the Maybach also has innovative frontal airbags for rear passengers, along with a beltbag and cushionbag for each rear outboard seat. The car also boasts ABS, traction and stability control, advanced tire pressure monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, and a surround-view camera system, including a backup camera.
All of the latest Mercedes driver-assistance features are present, plus many more that aren't standard on cheaper Mercs. You get adaptive cruise control with steering assist, active Stop-and-Go assist, active blind-spot assist, active lane-keep and lane change assist, automatic speed takeover, and a remote parking assistant. The rear cross-traffic alert system includes pedestrian detection and the attention assist system uses eye-tracking technology to monitor driver focus and drowsiness. Pre-Safe Impulse Side is a system that inflates a chamber in the seat's side bolster to move the occupant away from the door if a side impact is detected. If you can imagine it, this car has it.
Yes, because it's a significant departure from the old vulgar Maybach models. In the right color and with the right wheels, this car simply blends into the background and draws no attention to itself. It's the perfect choice for a VIP who wants to travel anonymously. It's now as tasteful as the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost used to be, but both those cars have become the car of choice for bold individuals with very little taste. For proof, have a look at the Rolls-Royce website. Instead of showing you what the car looks like, it simply plays a video of some young people partying while spilling champagne in the back of a Phantom.
Yes, the Maybach costs a lot more than the S-Class, which is a phenomenal car, but Mercedes has moved the Maybach's focus entirely to the rear seats. There is no driver enjoyment to be found here. This car is all about those luxurious rear seats, and in that sense, it's a lot better than the S-Class. A Maybach used to be an ostentatious display of wealth, but the new model just wants its rear passengers to enjoy a refined ride with no intrusions. We respect this new approach and think that it's what the Maybach should have been from the start.
The base price of the S580 4Matic is $184,900. Mercedes has yet to update the pricing to include the twin-turbo V12 S680, but it will most likely be in the $200,000 range, give or take a few thousand bucks. The MSRP price of the Maybach S-Class excludes the destination charge of $1,050.
two trim levels: S580 and S680. The S580 is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine, while the S680 uses a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12. A 48-volt mild-hybrid system is used for the S580 but both models have a nine-speed automatic transmission and the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
Merc's new Maybach is meant to be driven in, and the list of standard features reflects that. The interior is clad in Nappa leather, and the 64-color ambient lighting looks gorgeous. There are gadgets and luxuries aplenty and both cars come with four-zone climate control, 12-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, and power-adjustable rear seats with heating, ventilation, and massaging. Even the armrests are heated. The rear executive seat can also recline by 43 degrees for ultimate comfort.
On the infotainment side, a 12.8-inch touchscreen display with all the latest connectivity features, navigation, wireless charging, and Merc's MBUX operating system is standard. The driver also gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with facial recognition. A 30-speaker 4D Burmester sound system is standard.
The Mercedes-Maybach S is a showcase for all the latest safety features. Adaptive cruise control with steering assist, active blind-spot assist, active lane-keep and lane change assist, automatic speed takeover, and a fully autonomous parking assistant are just a few of the many standard safety features.
With so many features included as standard, there's not a lot left on the options list. A comfort box for the trunk costs $350, and if you want a rear cabin refrigerator with a set of champagne flutes, Merc will charge you an additional $1,100. However, you can't have this feature without ticking the much more expensive box for the below rear-seat upgrade.
The only available package is the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus, costing $6,000. It adds the high-end four-seat configuration that includes a rear center console with storage space, heated and cooled cupholders, and a power footrest for the right-hand rear seat. Each seat also gets its own folding table for eating or working. Rear electric comfort doors can be added for $1,350. An extension of the soft-close door function, this feature can fully open or close the rear doors, even on an incline, for those unwilling to subject themselves to this taxing task.
Since this car is not about speed, we'd go with the S580. And because the Maybach is all about rear-seat comfort, we'd add every single optional extra. That way, the driver gets an ample 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque to play with while you get all the luxury toys that make every trip an opulent experience. Opting for the S680 simply gives the driver more horses to play with, and why should the chauffeur have all the fun?
The previous-generation Mercedes-Maybach S wasn't as clearly defined as this new model. Mercedes wants you to drive the S-Class, while the Maybach is meant to be driven in. You can push the right front seat in the S-Class forward for more space, but nothing like the Maybach offers. The S-Class starts at around $110,000 for the S500, making it over $70,000 cheaper than the base Maybach S580. That gets you a perky six-cylinder power plant with EQ Boost, but the S580 shares its V8 with the Maybach S580. The S-Class is feature-packed but you'll need to pay extra for heated/ventilated rear seats, four-zone climate control, and the Burmester 4D sound system, all of which the Maybach gets as standard. There isn't a bad choice between these two, but it all depends if you want to do the driving or be driven around.
The Mercedes-Maybach may offer a more refined ride. It might even provide more equipment as standard, but none of this matters. The fact is this: Maybach simply doesn't have the same brand value as Bentley. You'll have to explain what a Maybach is to non-car folk, but the entire world knows what a Bentley is. The Flying Spur is also more handsome and yet still elegant. And while it makes life comfortable in the rear, the Flying Spur is still very much a driver's car.
If you have no interest in driving, the Maybach is the obvious choice. But if you still want to enjoy the occasional drive, there's nothing even remotely comparable on offer for $200k. We'd buy a black Bentley Flying Spur V8 in a heartbeat.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S: