by Karl Furlong
Now that the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been revealed, the German marque is aiming for even more exclusive company with the arrival of the new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. This Bentley and Rolls-Royce rival brings unsurpassed opulence and luxury to the table thanks to a sensational interior that shares much with the new S-Class. With over 60,000 Maybachs having being sold globally since 2015, the new one has big shoes to fill.
Rear-seat passengers have been prioritized in a car that has a seven-inch longer wheelbase than the already lengthy S-Class. A gorgeous two-tone paint finish is available to give this luxury limo the presence required of a car at this level, while the introduction of electrical assistance for the twin-turbo V8 engine ensures rapid, serene progress.
The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class needs to visually distance itself from the standard S-Class, and it gets off to a good start by being substantially bigger. At 215.3 inches in length, it is 7.1 inches longer than the S-Class and the wheelbase has been stretched by the same amount. Available with a dramatic two-tone paint finish, this coating is applied by hand and takes as long as one week to finish. The striking color combinations include High-Tech Silver over Nautical Blue, Onyx Black over Mojave Silver, and designo Kalahari Gold over Rubellite Red. Added details are a fixed C-pillar quarterlight, a chromed fin on the hood, seamless door handles, and 19- or 20-inch wheels. Let's just say that you won't go unnoticed in the new Maybach.
The real magic happens in the cabin of the new Maybach, of course. A mix of first-class materials, acres of space, and a surfeit of screens combine for a truly memorable experience. Based on the elaborate S-Class cabin, the Maybach delivers even more space with up to 49.4 inches of rear legroom, trouncing the regular S-Class by a healthy 5.5 inches. Executive rear seats are standard and customers can luxuriate with various massaging programs and heating that extends to the neck/shoulder area.
Other highlights included an available rear refrigerated compartment, silver-plated champagne flutes, calf massaging, and adaptive rear lighting. The backrest angle can recline to 43.5 degrees if desired. An active road noise compensation system lowers the effect of undesirable low-frequency sounds, assisted by the Burmester high-end 4D surround sound system.
Getting in and out of the Maybach is even a top-class experience thanks to available power-operated comfort rear doors. They can be opened or closed with minimal effort, whether on a gradient or not, and the driver can open the rear doors from his seat for passengers at the back who simply can't be bothered with this task.
Along with all this luxury comes plenty of tech. Five display screens include a 12.8-inch central OLED display, a 3D driver's display measuring 12.3 inches, and dual 11.6-inch displays at the back. The latest MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) system is more advanced than ever, with the ability to create personal profiles that can even be used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Although a V12-engined Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is expected sometime in the future, the limo will launch with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine with electrical assistance. The V8 produces 496 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, while the EQ Boost system adds another 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. The setup is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and power is directed to all four corners. As standard, a rear-wheel steering system provides enhanced maneuverability, with Mercedes claiming that the turning circle is reduced by up to seven feet.
No acceleration times have yet been announced, although the Maybach's Airmatic air suspension is likely to be of greater concern to those being driven around. A special Maybach driving mode ensures that the vehicle is set up for maximum comfort. Optionally available is the E-Active Body Control suspension which scans the road ahead and makes suspension adjustments accordingly.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class often showcases the latest safety and tech innovations that will filter down to more attainable Mercs, and the Maybach is no different. When fully equipped, the cabin boasts no less than 18 airbags. Along with seat cushion airbags, an inflatable belt strap provides further occupant protection in the event of a crash. For the first time ever, frontal airbags for rear-seat occupants are offered.
A mind-boggling array of driver-assist technologies are on offer, including attention assist that monitors the driver's eyelid movements, evasive steering assist that works at speeds of up to 67 mph (previously this was 45 mph), and active lane-keeping assist that is linked to an augmented reality head-up display.
Competitors are easy to find as not many vehicles offer the Maybach's standard of luxury and status. Both the Bentley Flying Spur and the Rolls-Royce Phantom have the brand cachet to match and even surpass the Maybach, but there is a vast price differential. The Flying Spur begins at around $215,000 while the Phantom starts at almost double that.
Mercedes has yet to confirm pricing details for the new Maybach S-Class, although the last one did undercut both of its prestigious rivals. Sales for the new Maybach will begin in the USA in mid-2021.