“The new S-Class based S600 Maybach isn’t only gorgeous and much better to drive than previous Titanic-sized models, but it even got a price-cut from $350,000 to just under $200,000. Somewhere in Manhattan P Diddy must be kicking himself…”
It wasn’t too long ago that the pompous Maybach first became available for purchase to the world, although with a starting price of over $350,000 it was to a very small percent of the world indeed. It is now 2015 and the Maybach brand along with its silly nomenclature of 57, 62, 57S, Zeppelin and Landaulet is remembered as a ridiculous car that once existed for the super-rich, or shall I say —the super-rich with questionable taste?
Most, including myself, figured the once engine supplier for Zeppelins and Nazi war tanks was doomed, and that P Diddy’s gifting of a Maybach 57 to his then 16-year old son would most definitely be the highlight of the Maybach Wikipedia page. Well, I’m happy to say that is not the case. Mercedes Benz decided to give the old brand some charm and bring it back for 2015.
It was a cloudy, windy and very chilly morning in Wisconsin, as usual. Myself along with a group of journalists scattered to find shelter from the annoying weather in the fleet of vehicles in front of us. So I did it, I hopped behind the wheel of a brand-spanking new S600 Maybach, only to realize there were two journalist sitting in the backseat already, so I apologized and reached for the door handle but was quickly stopped. I was asked if I would kindly drive them around so they could get the Maybach experience, and in return one of them would play chauffeur later on while I lounged in the back. The answer was, yes.
The Technology Experience
What all can I say about this vehicle that hasn’t been said already. I truly hate being redundant and passing along information from site to site or magazine to magazine, only amplifying what other creative minds have already stated. I could sit here and tell you about its incredible seats, furry floor mats and jaw-dropping technology. Instead, I will tell you about how cool the seats are, how adorable the furry floor mats are, and just stupefying the technology in this Hindenburg-sized machine really is. Kapiert?
Sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle as special as this isn’t easy, it takes a moment for your emotions to settle, as well as for your brain to make sense of the layout and array of buttons at your disposal. This is particularly more difficult in the S600 Maybach, as it manages to one-up the already highly technological S-Class with more standard features.
Take a deep breath and start by adjusting the Nappa leather, hand-stitched, 12-way power seat to your liking, followed by choosing one of the six spa-style massage programs available, and lastly, don’t you dare take off without choosing the right cabin fragrance for your short drive to the golf course. An atomizer system inside the cabin of the S600 Maybach will periodically spray your scent of choice. But don’t worry, the fragrance will not linger in the cabin or stick to your clothes.
Think you are ready to drive? Think again. Now that your bottom is well settled in the deluxe seat, your lower back is being massaged, and your olfactory system is being treated to a fragrance that even the Fragonards would be proud of, it’s time to choose various engine, suspension, and even driver-aid settings to make sure you get the most out of your land-yatch.
Look down by your right hand and you’ll notice the Comand system touchpad controller, around it lay the buttons which you will need to become accustomed to if you want to squeeze the most value out of your S600 Maybach. Start by choosing a Sport or Eco driving mode, this mode will affect the throttle and brake reaction time, the weight of the electromechanical steering wheel (nope, I didn’t make that word up), and will either make things quite lively or a bit more relaxed. Then you must choose your suspension settings —choose Sport or Comf depending on your mood, but keep in mind this will also alter the ride height, so tell the chauffeur to avoid steep driveways when in Sport mode.
Still awake? Be patient, the champagne and canapés will still be there when you arrive. Now it’s time to choose which driver-aid systems you want activated, and whether or not you care about the environment. First press or depress the Eco button (Yes, a different one) to tell your V12 Bi-turbo engine if you want it to auto stop-start at every stop light in order to conserve fuel. Now that you’ve made your choice on saving or murdering polar bears, you can choose whether you want save a few deer, raccoons and other little critters that insist on crossing the roads you drive on. And how exactly do you do that? Thermal Imaging and Night Vision, that’s how.
Yup, Thermal Imaging and Night Vision transforms what you thought were dials in front of you, into a massive fighter-jet like screen that feeds the images the cameras mounted around your S600 Maybach are seeing. Not only are those cameras hundreds of times more powerful than the human eye, but they can detect movement to the side of the road via heat sensors and military-grade night vision. Flip either system on or off by reaching to the left of the steering wheel, or set them as an automatic preset to your driver profile.
If you think this took me a long time to figure out, you’d be right. The exquisite IWC Ingenieur analog clock mounted on the dash showed it had taken me little over ten minutes to come to terms with this.
I’m aware that it’s not necessary to go through this procedure every time you get behind the wheel, but I’d really hate to have everything set to my liking, only to accidentally hit a button with my knee or elbow and throw everything out of whack as I usually do with my DSLR camera. I also couldn’t imagine having to teach my chauffeur all of these things.
The Driving Experience – finally…
Once you get on the road, the S600 Maybach is basically like every other car on the road. If every other car on the road had a 523-horsepower engine, a $16,000 Burmester 3D sound system, a glass-roof that darkens electrically, seat bolsters that actively inflate depending on which direction you turn, a champagne chiller in the backseat, floor mats that look like baby bunnies, and was also acclaimed with being the world’s quietest production sedan (according to Mercedes Benz).
So yeah, basically just like any other ordinary car.
I can’t, nor will I ever be able to tell you if you should buy this car or not, but thankfully that doesn’t matter. See, journalists test these kind of cars to offer mesmerizing figures about mesmerizing things these level of cars can do, but in the end, I think it’s all kind of worthless. The modern day customer for the S600 Maybach will first see this vehicle on the Mercedes Benz Instagram account, they will head over to the dealer for a test drive, and then, they will either buy it or not. The aero-drag coefficient specs, or if the rear working tables feel like something out of a JetBlue Airlines coach cabin (they do) are totally irrelevant. In retrospect, that also makes this article kind of —irrelevant.
Update: Mercedes Benz has announced the new Maybach-Pullman. The Pullman adds 3.5ft of length to the S600 for a total 21.3ft of luxury. It will be on sale around mid-2016 with an estimated price of $566,000 dollars.