Few names carry as much resonance in the luxury auto space as Maybach. With origins dating back to 1909, the marque is a full decade older than Bentley and nearly as storied as Rolls-Royce. Admittedly its production history has been more sporadic, but that has only served to preserve its aura of ultra-exclusivity. An aura that hasn’t dissipated since Daimler incorporated it into Mercedes-Benz in 2015 with the launch of the first Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
Just as AMG represents the most powerful, performance-oriented expression of Mercedes-Benz cars, Maybach now stands for “the manifestation of sophisticated luxury in its most advanced form” for vehicles bearing the coveted three-pointed star.
This year sees not only an all-new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, but also the first-ever Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 SUV, making 2021 the most important year in the marque’s history since Daimler originally revived it nearly 20 years ago. The timing is hardly accidental; in 2019, more Mercedes-Maybach S-Class cars were sold than ever before.
While the two new models carry on Maybach’s signature incomparable elegance and refined craftsmanship, Mercedes has now brought the storied marque fully up to speed in terms of its industry-leading intelligent drive, connectivity and driver assistance systems. The resulting blend of luxury and technology truly has no equal.
Many exclusive features distinguish the Maybach S-Class from the standard Mercedes-Benz S 580 4MATIC, which is already bristling with class-leading technology. Chief among them are wider rear doors and a seven-inch longer wheelbase which makes the rear compartment as sybaritic as the Orient Express—especially when paired with the new Executive Seats upholstered in exclusive Maybach leather, incorporating a calfrest massage function and neck/shoulder heating.
Large swathes of luxurious wood and leather trim on the rear of the front seats and between the two rear passengers (an option) heighten the effect, along with an active ambient lighting system comprising a total of 253 LEDs.
Visually the Maybach S-Class gets a unique hood with a chrome fin and the Mercedes-Maybach radiator grille with vertical chrome pinstripes, as well as C-pillars with a fixed quarterlight and Maybach logo. And it would be sheer madness not to opt for the Maybach-exclusive two-tone paint finish, which takes up to a week to painstakingly apply by hand.
None of this is lost on Virgil Abloh, designer of Off-White and Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections, who recently entered into a creative collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. “For me, what I appreciate about a luxury car is the craft,” he says.
“I think it’s not that hard of a concept to understand that a car, on one hand, is just an object that gets you from A to B. But once you add craftsmanship, once you add attention to detail, all of a sudden that trip from A to B can become an experience. And I think within well-designed things, that experience stays with you and leaves a lasting impact…. [The] Maybach has this transcendent quality that transforms just a trip from A to B into something that stays with you.”