The Mercedes Maybach S600 Will Sell Out - in China

In Beijing, owning a car and driving it are not the same thing.

Take a gander at the 2016 Mercedes Maybach S600: Its sleek yet bulging rear quarters are worthy of an album cover, but it’s the reclining back seats with their suede headrests and down pillows that speak to this car’s audience. This is not an automobile for drivers, it’s a conveyance for the driven.

And no population loves being chauffeured more than the Chinese. In the last few years, Audi, Volvo, and BMW debuted China-exclusive, long-wheelbase versions of their midsize sedans to accommodate (literally) the growing numbers of chauffeured middle-class Chinese. The year after introduction, sales of each model line grew 50%.

The Maybach is Mercedes’ play to the highest stratum of Chinese consumer, the new brand-obsessed millionaires and billionaires. Mercedes wisely chose the name for maximum statement: “Maybach” and the “600” moniker recall two of Diamler’s most opulent cars. In the first decade of the 20th century, Maybach was a Diamler-owned luxury carmaker whose founders originally assembled aircraft for the World War. Then, from 1963-1981, Mercedes produced the 600 Limousine, an enormous Rolls-Royce competitor (most say, vanquisher) that proved commodious enough for Coco Chanel, Aristotle Onassis and Leonid Brezhnev.

After a failed revival of the Maybach name as a stand-alone brand (2002-2011), Mercedes chose to introduce this super-saloon as a sub-brand, a luxury division akin to its AMG performance arm. Though the car is essentially a stretched and outfitted version of Mercedes’ already grand S600, we’re sure every CEO, baron and NBA star playing for the Xinjian Flying Tigers will want the best and the biggest. We suspect they’ll spend the $225,000 to get it. Here’s a premature congratulations to Mercedes for the sold-out run.

Photos by Mercedes Benz