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.
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.
See trim levels and configurations:
|Maybach S560 4MATIC||
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
6.0L Twin-Turbo V12 Gas
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.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
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.
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.
|Mercedes-Maybach S||496 hp||15/24 mpg||$184,900|
|Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan||429 hp||21/30 mpg||$111,100|
|Rolls-Royce Ghost||563 hp||12/19 mpg||$340,500|
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.
The most popular competitors of 2019 Mercedes-Maybach S: