Hiding behind its camouflage, the new Maybach is as elegant and opulent as ever.
It's been little more than half a decade since Mercedes-Benz relaunched the German Maybach marque as a sub-brand peddling high-priced, ultra-luxurious versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The arrangement, although less than ideal, appears to be the only realistic way forward for Maybach, which sold just over 1,100 units between 2003 and 2010, according to the figures.
Now, Mercedes-Benz is on the brink of bringing out an all-new version of its trend-setting S-Class sedan, and with it is expected to come a brand new Maybach. In fact, something that we believe to be a Maybach prototype was spotted testing recently, wearing a full suit of camouflage to hide its design.
As far as the sheet metal is concerned, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class will share most of its design with the regular S-Class - already a supreme luxury vehicle with a sweeping, elegant design and plenty of on-road presence. But the grille looks substantially more well covered on this prototype than on many of the standard S-Classes we've seen. This leads us to believe that most of the aesthetic tweaks will be in the face.
Indeed, that seemed to be Mercedes's approach with the last Maybach, too, although then as now, the wheelbase and overall length are substantially greater than on the standard S-Class. That's important for a top-of-the-line luxury car where the expectation is for customers to be driven - not to drive themselves.
The other key difference for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Mercedes-Maybach S-Class could be the engine, as rumor has it that only the Maybach will offer an optional V12 engine this time around. That seems likely, given how serious Europe has gotten about lowering automotive carbon emissions; the Mercedes-AMG S 65, if it continues to exist, may have to downsize so as to not contribute quite so much to Mercedes' corporate average emissions.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is expected to bow before the end of the year, although it might not be until 2021 that we finally get to see the ultra-luxurious Maybach S-Class without all the camouflage.