According to its makers, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 is the car that lays to rest the ghost of the failed stand-alone Maybach project and arrives as the most luxurious, comprehensively equipped and refined S-Class ever.
For all the qualities of the standard S-Class, though, it needs to be as good as they claim in order to persuade buyers to forgo the likes of the Bentley Flying Spur and Rolls Royce Ghost.
As such, it has been substantially re-engineered and is longer, taller and more spacious than ever even the long-wheelbase S-Class, gaining 207mm in length (allowing 159mm more knee-room) and 2mm in height.
Despite that modest latter figure, headroom increases by 12mm thanks to the way the new layout plays out. The cabin can also be trimmed in a wide variety of leathers, woods, roofliners and stitch arrangements, and all without pushing up the list price.
The list of luxuries is long and – inevitably – focused on enhancing passenger comfort while the chauffeur (who is one of the few items not available as standard but will almost inevitably be installed post-delivery) focuses on getting from A to B.
The standard equipment list includes a chrome twin exhaust system, LED headlights, a sliding panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and go, run-flat tyres, tinted rear windows and a 360-degree camera system on the outside.
Inside there is velour floor mats, Mercedes’ Air Balance fragance system, ventilated front and rear seats, electric sunblinds, electrically adjustable and massaging seats, a glass cabinet, four-zone climate control, reclining rear seats, and heated armrests and steering wheel.
On the entertainment front there is Mercedes-Benz 12.3 inch Comand infotainment system complete with sat nav, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, DAB radio, Wi-fi hotspot and a TV tuner, alongside a rear entertainment package which includes 10 inch screens, a DVD player and wireless headphones.
There is also the so-called First Class Cabin option. Other than more opulent paint colours, this is the only other cost option available, at £7200, and swaps the three-seat rear bench for two individual seats, which can recline to 43.5 degrees. Alongside these seats is a central armrest with inset tables, temperature-controlled cupholders, silver-plated champagne flutes and a refrigerated compartment.
Behind the wheel, you inevitably feel the extra length of the car over a standard S-Class, as well as the additional 120kg or so of weight from the enlarged body structure and equipment list, but this only slightly dulls the qualities that earned the standard S-Class a five-star road test verdict.
Ultimately, all the key attributes remain: the Mercedes-Maybach steers predictably, body roll is well controlled and the ride and refinement are superb. Somewhat laughably, there is a Sport button – demanded by owners, apparently – but this is not a car in which to hussle along; wafting is the only sensible option, and it does this very well indeed.
The twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 is the only engine available in the UK, and lacks nothing in performance or smoothness of delivery. From 1900rpm, progress is swift and silky smooth, despite the substantial 2335kg weight of the car. The seven-speed automatic gearbox’s shifts are barely perceptible.
Despite the ominous appearance of quad exhaust pipes and ‘V12’ lettering on the front wings, the engine need never be heard; Mercedes describes the Maybach as the world’s quietest production saloon car, and it may well be right.
Cabin style and quality can be a subjective assessment, but there’s nothing that would give owners of top-end nameplates from rivals anything at which to cock an eyebrow. Rear seat space and comfort are exceptional, as is the material fit and finish.
The level of technology to improve your life – ranging from the variety of seating positions to the onboard entertainment systems – is top notch and, in parts, eclipses what’s available on cars costing twice as much.
Of course, some people will always feel the need to turn up at events in a Bently, or a RollsRoyce and flaunt it. So be it.
For some, however, that will appeal, and the levels of space, comfort and technology are top notch. Odd though it may sound to say it, the Maybach is very good value when you consider the standard kit list and non-cost options against rivals.
All in, this is a very capable car with an exceptional rear seat experience that is being sold at a well judged price. It deserves to do well, and Maybach can unquestionably stand proud again.