The ultra-luxurious Maybach is making a return to compete with the ever-luxurious Bentley Mulsanne and Rolls-Royce Phantom.
The new cars will be ultra-long-wheelbase versions of the company’s new flagship S Class model. The autos will have larger, rectangular rear doors for effortless ingress and egress, and the rear compartment will contain every creature comfort needed to work or recline in comfort while someone else takes care of the driving.
When Mercedes first revived the Maybach luxury brand, in 2002, it did so with two cars — the long wheelbase Maybach 57 and even longer wheelbase 62, which were meant to be Mercedes’s even more luxurious answers to a resurgent Rolls-Royce.
Based on an older S Class platform, they were devised to offer rear seat passengers an experience equivalent to flying business class — fully reclining leather seats, panoramic glass roof, a wine chiller and slide-out solid wood picnic tables. Also adding to the exclusivity was the price. An entry-level Maybach57 S cost $381,000 and a Maybach 62 $394,000, while limited edition versions commanded price tags of up to $1 million.
Despite finding a cult following within the rap community — Rick Ross loves them so much his record label was named in their honor and Jay Z and Kanye West took power tools to one in an act of extreme customization in the video to the track “Otis” — the marque bombed so badly that Mercedes’s parent company, Daimler, was forced to pull the plug in 2011.
But they didn’t fail because they were too expensive, they failed because they were built on an already out-of-date platform which couldn’t offer any of the advanced driver or passenger features that were on all of Mercedes’s new cars at every price point form city car to executive sedan.
This time around it looks as if it has learned its lesson. The current S Class is the most technologically advanced car currently available and one of the best big cars to drive. Therefore, anything that makes it even more comfortable will make it even more desirable.
Then there is the question of price. According to Autoweek, this time around the cars are expected to cost $250,000-$300,000 before customization or bespoke treatments — in other words roughly the same as a Rolls Royce or Bentley.
The new Maybach is expected to launch some time in 2014 and could make a surprise debut at the upcoming Geneva motor show this March.