by Jay Traugott
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has represented the pinnacle of German automotive progress and luxury since 1972, and in 2015 the carmaker decided to reintroduce the famed Maybach moniker as a sub-brand after dismal sales led to its demise in 2013. This revival meant even more luxury and attention to detail for the Maybach brand, and using the S-Class as a foundation it also rectified the questionable design the nameplate had been associated with. With the newfound layer of luxury added to the S-Class, the 2019 Mercedes-Maybach S560 and S650 are set to compete against traditional luxury heavyweights such as the Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls-Royce Phantom. The 2019 range of S-Class based cars offers mighty turbocharged power and more features than you can shake a bag of Fabergé eggs at. With a starting price of $170,750, some might find it hard to justify buying one over the standard S-Class, but there is a tangible difference in luxury that the standard car just can't match. If you're searching for the ultimate in German luxury motoring, look no further.
The Mercedes-Maybach S560 and S650 remain relatively unchanged for 2019 and forms part of the first generation of cars first introduced in 2016. Changes worth mentioning are the updated grille design, which features twelve vertical chrome slats on either side of the center line with a Maybach etched nameplate, which sits top and center. New 20-inch multi-spoke wheels are a new addition, as well. Inside, new owners get a few more options in terms of upholstery and trim materials, including leather, wood, and new contrast stitching options.
The 2019 Mercedes-Maybach looks like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class that's going to a fancy-dress party. The basic design of the current generation S-Class has been around since 2014, Maybach does, however, put its own spin on things with a custom grille, 20-inch wheels, and optional two-tone paint schemes, as well as a number of Maybach badges. Notable exterior features for 2019 include LED lighting front and back, a panorama glass roof, soft-close doors as well as a power trunk liftgate, illuminated door sills, and an illuminated entry system that allows passengers to avoid stepping on anything other than premium luxury Maybach carpeting. The 2019 Maybach is unlike most German luxury sedan offerings, which take pride in offering a relatively understated exterior design; it is big, bold, and unashamedly opulent.
The Maybach benefits from an extended body and wheelbase, measuring 215 inches in length overall compared to the standard S-Class' 208.5 inches, and the Rolls-Royce Ghost's 214.8 inches. The most considerable difference can be found in the wheelbase length: the 2019 Maybach rolls on a 132.5-inch wheelbase, which is almost eight inches longer than the standard S-Class, while the Rolls-Royce Ghost sits on a wheelbase of 129.7 inches. All the added luxury appointments mean the Maybach suffers on the scales, with even the 'entry-level' model carrying 5,017 lbs while the top S 650 trim weighs in at 5,296 lbs; 336 pounds porkier than even the heaviest AMG-spec S-Class, but the Rolls-Royce Ghost is heavier still at 5,368 lbs.
If you were hoping to find orange and purple camouflage, or neon green flake metallic, then you'll be sorely disappointed. The 2019 Maybach is available in thirteen different shades of money, ranging from new celebrity to old WASP. Solid color options include three shades of black, three shades of silver, and a scattering of dark blues, reds and beiges. Our pick of colors would be the Obsidian Black for those who prefer the classic VIP look, or Selenite Gray Metallic if you want to show off the Maybach's curves. If that sounds too pedestrian, Maybach offers nine two-tone paint jobs, including exotic combinations such as Dune Silver Metallic and Emerald green, or Iridium Silver and Selenite Gray Metallic.
The Maybach is designed to transport the well-to-do in supreme luxury and comfort, and not to lap the Nurburgring, but what's the point of owning a big flashy 5,000 plus pound German limousine if you can't sprint to sixty in under five seconds? The real-world performance of the 2019 Maybach will surprise you at the very least, and in V12 spec, the word stun would be more appropriate. Both engine options deliver seat-pinning acceleration and will get up to highly illegal speeds in the time it takes to take a single sip of Moët & Chandon. The all-wheel-drive twin-turbo V8 will sprint to sixty in only 4.7 seconds, while the mighty V12, only available with rear-wheel-drive to the immense amount of torque, drops that time down to 4.6. The sheer size of the car limits its in-town maneuverability, but find a Maybach-sized gap, and you'll be warped through in no time at all. On the highway, it's an absolute freight train that will merge and overtake without breaking a sweat. Just keep in mind that every stab at the accelerator will drain a small nation of its oil supplies.
Mercedes offers its luxury creation with two engine options, both capable of hauling the titanic Benz in utterly convincing fashion. The base engine is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, which delivers 463 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm. The V8 delivers its power with a solid midrange punch, but sounds muted through the twin turbochargers. The most powerful option is the horribly ostentatious twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12, which cradles the driver in 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. With a mountain of torque on tap, the V12 Maybach delivers acceleration that feels endless and effortless at the same time. S 560 models make use of a nine-speed automatic transmission which sends power to all four wheels, while the S 650 has to use the older seven-speed unit due to the sheer amount of torque on tap. Power is sent to the rear wheels exclusively, as the seven-speed 'box is incompatible with the 4MATIC componentry.
The only time you should be worried about the handling capabilities of the 2019 Maybach is when you're trying to evade a political assassination attempt. The steering is light and almost devoid of feel, but switching to sport mode weighs it up nicely, and a relatively quick ratio means you can point the Maybach with surprising zest and accuracy. Through the bends, the big Benz shrinks itself and contains body rolls with impressive proficiency, mostly thanks to the self-leveling AMG active sport suspension featuring Mercedes' Magic Body Control system, which is only available on the RWD S 650. Its heavy curb weight means the tires will audibly and physically let you know that they're not enjoying the abuse, but they never give out and provide good grip. At cruising speed, nothing can touch the Maybach for sheer comfort and low road noise levels. The driving experience can most accurately be described as sitting in a first-class lounge awaiting a flight on your private jet to the Maybach dealership… on the other side of the world.
Mercedes-Benz doesn't give any official numbers; why should they? If you're worried about mpg figures, then you're in the wrong neighborhood. Mercedes-Maybach doesn't have anything to be coy about: the S560 4Matic will deliver 16/25/19 mpg city/highway/combined according to the EPA, which is much more efficient than say, a Cadillac CTS-V. The V12 car drops that number down to 13/21/16 mpg. If your chauffeur behaves, those numbers should be attainable. The standard S-Class in S 450 form will manage 19/28/22 mpg, dropping to 17/27/21 for the S560 4Matic. The Rolls-Royce Ghost with its gigantic 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 gulps down gas like it's nobody's business, and will return 12/18/14 mpg. With a 21.1-gallon fuel tank, the Maybach has a maximum range of between 338 and 400 miles.
Illuminated door handles and a welcome light invites you into the cabin of the 2019 Maybach, which is more comparable to a five-star hotel lobby than any car. The doors open up wide, making entry easy for people of all sizes, and once inside, forward visibility is good, shoulder visibility is limited by wide roof pillars, and rear visibility is decent, but a number of cameras will help you maneuver in and out of most tricky situations. The cabin of the 2019 Mercedes-Maybach S contains every conceivable luxury feature you can think of; most notably it gets keyless start and go, a four-zone climate control system with an air fragrance system as well as an advanced air purification system and power rear sunshades, a HomeLink garage door system and a heated steering wheel. Optional interior features such as rear folding tables and a refrigerator box tell you exactly what kind of vehicle you're dealing with. There is very little that comes close to offering the type of luxury and build quality, and we're not only talking about cars here, the Maybach S is on par with luxury jets, too.
Possibly the most important aspect of the Maybach is its seats and overall interior space; after all, it is the discerning CEO's choice when it comes to road travel - Lincoln Limos are so 2003 - and should put its passengers, and most importantly back seat passengers first. The multi-contour front seats are heated, ventilated, and adjustable in 12 ways and also provide sumptuous massages on demand. In the back, it's even more impressive: the seats are heated, ventilated, power-adjustable, and also get a massage function, but that's not all. Heated armrests, a power right rear footrest, and exclusive Nappa leather upholstery and optional folding tables wrap up what has to be one of the most luxurious interiors anywhere. Front seat passengers are treated to 41.4 inches of legroom and 42.3 inches of headroom, while occupants in the back get a generous 40 inches of legroom and an average 37.9 inches of headroom. The Rolls-Royce Ghost makes the Maybach look pedestrian with its 42.3 in standard form, but the long-wheelbase Ghost offers an even more impressive 49 inches of leg space.
Just like the Maybach's exquisitely appointed exterior, the interior gets only the best materials and trimmings. You can have your seats covered in Nappa leather or exclusive semi-aniline leather, and there are a large number of color options on offer. Go for the Nappa leather, and you'll be able to choose between Black, Nut Brown and Black, Silk Beige, and Espresso Brown, to mention a few. Semi-aniline seats are available in Silk Beige and Deep Sea Blue, Silk Beige, and Titanium Grey Pearl or Silk Beige and Satin Red. For 2019, Maybach has also introduced Armagnac Brown and Black as well as Savanna Beige and Black. New owners will even be able to select the type of cross-stitching of which Copper, Gold, and Platinum are options. It wouldn't be a German luxury car without four wood trim options: Black Poplar, Light Burl Walnut, Black Piano Lacquer, or Black Piano Lacquer with flowing lines are there for the choosing.
The 2019 Maybach doesn't offer much in terms of cargo space: what you get is 12.3 cubic feet, which is about as much as you'll get in the new C8 Corvette and well below the standard S-Class' 18.7 cubic feet, but we'd be surprised if the trunk of the Maybach ever gets used for something other than a light travel bag, a case of champagne or the shivering body of a rival cartel boss. Those ultra-lux rear massage seats don't fold flat, so what you see is what you get. Thankfully Maybach offers some extra space below the trunk floor panel. Inside, passengers are offered a number of places to store their stuff; in the front, there's a large center console, glovebox, and numerous wood-covered nooks, while those in the back also get a center console storage bin.
Where to begin? The outside of the Maybach features a Maybach exclusive chrome grille with twelve slats, ultra-wide LED headlights with adaptive high beam assist, keyless access, rain-sensing window wipers, illuminated door handles and entry lights as well as a panorama roof with the option to have electrochromic dimming functionality. The whole deal rides on an advanced self-leveling suspension setup, which features AMG active sport suspension, based on Mercedes' Magic Body Control system. Inside, the Maybach offers a trove of luxury features. Starting with the seating arrangement, you get standard heated and ventilated 12-way power-adjustable seats with massage function, wrapped in your choice of premium Nappa leather or semi-aniline leather, while the rear seats also get heated, ventilated power adjustability with memory function and even a power rear footrest. The devil is in the details when it comes to the rest of the interior features list; soft-close doors, power rear window shades, a HomeLink garage door opener, four-zone climate control with advanced filtration, and fragrance and a 64-color ambient LED interior light makes for a palatial experience. Any and all of Mercedes' ultra-futuristic driver assists are available, too, with surround-view cameras and semi-autonomous driving capabilities just two of the enormous list of features capable of aiding in piloting the luxury sedan.
To call the Maybach's infotainment system technologically advanced would be an understatement; the massive 12.3-inch display offers up menus and navigation info in bright color and, thanks to its sheer size, is always easy to read and digest. Everything is controlled from the standard Mercedes-Benz COMAND system with a touchpad controller or steering wheel controls, which easily falls to hand and makes navigating the various menus a breeze. Maybach has included industry standards such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth audio streaming, dual USB ports, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio, wireless phone charging, and enhanced voice control. The navigation system is backed by three years of live traffic updates from TomTom. Audio is channeled through a premium 26-speaker Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system with front bass boost. Optional extras include an upgraded 13-speaker sound system which delivers even better sound, a rear wireless charging and in-car Wi-Fi. The 12.3-inch driver cluster and head-up display system keep the driver well informed at all times.
According to the NHTSA, the Mercedes-Maybach S has been recalled once for a seat belt fastening issue, but the car it's based on, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been recalled numerous times in the past two years for issues ranging from faulty driver aid systems, to improperly installed pillar covers. The Maybach shares its warranty with the regular S-Class sedan; you get a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a four-year/50,000-mile corrosion and drivetrain warranty as well as roadside assistance.
Safety rating agencies have shied away from crash testing the 2019 Maybach, most likely due to its starting price of $170,750 and its general scarcity on the roads of America. Even the standard S-Class has no official safety rating from either the NHTSA or IIHS. What we can confirm is that Mercedes-Benz has been building some of the safest cars in the luxury sedan market, such as the Top Safety Pick Plus-winning 2019 C-Class, and considering the fact that the Maybach features more advanced safety features than the compact, we expect top safety in the event you end up in a collision.
The number of safety features that come standard on the 2019 Maybach is truly dizzying and put most other cars in this league to shame. The exterior of this German luxo-barge features an intelligent light system with full LED ultra-wide headlights as well as daytime running lights, rain-sensing window wipers, and a surround-view camera system. Active driver assistance systems are too numerous to list, but notable standard features include dynamic brake, distance, and driver attention assist, active blind-spot, cross-wind, lane keeping and lane change assist, congestion emergency braking and active speed limit assist. Semi-autonomous parking, night view assistance and rear-cross traffic alert are also thrown in the mix for good measure. Traditional safety systems include nine airbags, ABS brakes, and stability/traction control.
The standard Mercedes-Benz S-Class is already a tour de force in the luxury sedan market, offering astounding levels of luxury and comfort while maintaining an impressive level of performance. What the 2019 Maybach does is to take that impressive recipe and add all the frosting and decorations possible to create an object that goes beyond the realm of mere automobiles; it's a self-moving palace which offers an unashamedly opulent traveling experience that's difficult to match on land, sea or air. Both the twin-turbocharged V8 and V12 offer impressive performance, and the self-leveling AMG-based suspension setup delivers one of the most comfortable driving experiences, period. The interior, which features only the finest leather and wood materials, feels like an escape from reality at times and comes jam-packed with technologies such as wireless phone charging, massage seats, and one of the finest sound systems we've tested in the recent past. The difference between the Maybach and its sibling the S-Class is noticeable, especially in terms of its luxury appointments, but at almost double the asking price in base form, you're definitely paying a dear price for the privilege.
Owning a 2019 Maybach is a privilege afforded only to the wealthiest members of our society, which is made evidently clear when you look at the asking prices. The base model, in this case, the Mercedes-Maybach S 560 4Matic, starts off with an MSRP of $170,750 which is $79,500 more than you'd pay for the 2019 S 450, the base model S-Class from Mercedes-Benz, but that pales in comparison to the Rolls-Royce Ghost, which only starts at $311,900. If the lowly Maybach S 560 doesn't impress much, you can go for the S 650, which features the big twin-turbo V12 engine at a cost of $199,900. Fully loaded, the Maybach S650 will set you back an eye-watering $234,400 plus.
Interested parties will be able to choose between two models, namely the Mercedes-Maybach S 560 4Matic Sedan and the S 650 Sedan.
The major differences separating the S560 and S650 are the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, nine-speed auto transmission and 4Matic AWD system found on the S560, while the S650 gets a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that's exclusively paired to the older seven-speed automatic gearbox sending power to the rear exclusively. The S560 also misses out on the Magic Body Control system. Other than that, both cars share the same features. Both cars benefit from standard exterior features such as auto-leveling suspension, LED lighting, and rain-sensing window wipers, but the real show only starts once you step inside the generously appointed cabin. Inside, the Maybach S gets a 12.3-inch infotainment display with navigation, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration, as well as front wireless phone charging, four-zone climate control, and front and rear power-adjustable heated and ventilated seats with massage and memory function. Safety systems include driver attention assist, automatic emergency braking, active lane change, and lane keep assist as well as a surround-view camera system and much more. There are over twenty exterior paint options on offer, as well as your choice of seven unique wheel designs.
Traditionally, Mercedes-Benz products are less about the base offering and more about how deep you're willing to dive into the options list. But in the case of the Mercedes-Maybach S, most features are already included.
Exterior options include nine two-tone paint combinations costing $12,000 and three 20-inch wheel designs that will set you back between $3,950 and $5,000. The interior can be optioned out with the $1,950 executive rear seat package, which adds four-place seating with dual power rear seats, foldable tables in the rear, and heated and cooled rear cup holders. If you're feeling extra flush, you can even get yourself a set of handcrafted silver champagne flutes for a cool $3,200 and a rear fridge box for an extra $1,100. If you feel like saving money in the current economy, you get a $6,400 discount when you downgrade to the 13-speaker Burmester audio system instead of the standard 26-speaker item.
Seeing as both variants share the same features, it would only make sense to go for the base model, which benefits from AWD, the more refined nine-speed automatic gearbox, and provides more power than you'll ever need in the real world. The $29,150 you save by not going for the V12 can be reinvested in the stock market. The 463 hp S 560 4MATIC will still accelerate to sixty in only 4.7 seconds and do so in supreme luxury. The standard features list, which it shares with the S 650, includes dual 12.3-inch display screens with integrated navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The power-adjustable heated and ventilated seats come in either Nappa or semi-aniline leather and include a hot-stone massage function. Outside you get soft-closing doors, LED headlights with auto on/off functionality, rain-sensing window wipers and self-leveling suspension. Passenger safety is ensured through a list of active and passive systems, which include rear-cross traffic alert, automatic braking, lane keep and lane change assist, and much more. The only thing you really miss out on is the Magic Body Control, but it's a small concession to make.
The big question here is why you should spring for the Maybach when Mercedes-Benz offers the perfectly capable and luxurious S-Class for almost half the price? In base trim, the Mercedes S-Class makes use of a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm, which it sends to the rear through a nine-speed auto transmission. Power is plentiful, and there's torque available throughout the rev range. The smaller engine also means you use less fuel; the S450 sedan will get 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined, which makes the Maybach look like a Sherman tank in comparison. Inside, the S-Class Offers more trunk and cargo space, but can't offer the same levels of passenger space in the rear. Where the main difference lies is the way in which the interior is presented; the Maybach is clearly the more luxurious vehicle and offers premium features that are outside the standard S-Class' realm. The truth is that even in its base form, the standard S-Class comes close to providing the same levels of luxury, and will drive just as well, making it objectively a better choice. But this segment is all about excess, and your fellow UN buddies will never look at you the same if you didn't buy the Maybach.
The Maybach S and Rolls-Royce Ghost share very similar dimensions, and will both seat five adults, not to mention the similarities in engine offerings and luxury features. Rolls-Royce offers two models: the standard Ghost, and the extended wheelbase version. Both cars are powered by a massive 6.6-liter V12 engine that produces 562 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque, which is significantly less than what is offered in the Maybach S 650 but more than the base Maybach offering. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels, and the Ghost will manage a laughable 12/18/14 mpg city/highway/combined. The Rolls-Royce starts to earn its intimidating $311,900 price tag when you begin to look at the stunning detail that goes into the construction of the Ghost; the hand-polished paint, stunning wheel designs and classic Spirit of Ecstasy perched on top of the trademark Rolls-Royce grille is an internationally recognized symbol of affluence. The interior has a distinct old-English feel, that has more character than the Maybach, and oozes craftsmanship that is unmatched in this class. Where the Maybach bests the big Brit is in terms of safety and tech; the Ghost isn't a dinosaur by any measure, but the Maybach simply blows it out of the water. Most won't be able to tell the difference in ride quality and performance, and in this price range, it will boil down to which badge looks the most appealing.