The car is the new pinnacle of automotive luxury. The tech inside is proof that it’s a lot more than a plus-sized S-Class.
Just when we were gearing-up for the impending arrival of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Merc decided to take the cover off the new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. The S-Class has always carried class-leading technology in its holster, often considered to be one of the greatest cars in the world. So, when Merc has to give it the Maybach treatment, things get very interesting and very, very decadent.
So what exactly sets the Maybach apart from the comparatively pedestrian S-Class? Upon first glance it’s the increased length, the vertical slats on the grille, and the oligarch-friendly 20-inch chrome dish wheels which are now the chief visual trademarks of this ultra-luxurious sedan. It locks horns with the likes of the Rolls Royce Ghost and the Bentley Flying Spur, so it naturally has to bring a bazooka to a gun fight.
It goes without saying that the new Maybach is bigger than the S-Class. Bigger by 7-inches to be precise. It’s also 180mm longer than the LWB version of the new S-Class and 31mm longer than the outgoing Maybach S-Class, the additional space being utilized by the rear cabin. The car is festooned with badges carrying the ‘Maybach’ insignia (including the pedals), but you’ll notice those after you’ve taken in the gorgeous two-tone paint job (available in various shades) and all the chrome bits surrounding it.
The Tech Inside
As glorious as the Maybach is to behold, it’s really what’s on the inside that counts, since this is designed primarily for rear passenger comfort. That isn’t to say, the front-passenger has in any way been overlooked. Merc’s second-generation MBUX system envelops the cabin, from the 12.8-inch OLED infotainment screen, the 12.3-inch, 3D digital gauge cluster (which shows a three-dimensional representation of other road users) to the three screens available for the passengers at the back. Open-pore, organic woodwork with pinstripes runs along the breadth of the dashboard, rear centre console and the front seat backs.
Top-notch safety systems are in place, including, but certainly not limited to Merc’s patented ‘Pre-Safe Impulse’ side function’ which essentially moves you away from the door in the event of a collision by lifting the car up by 80mm. A collision which will undoubtedly be mitigated by the car’s automatic emergency braking response system and bevy of 18 airbags. More likely it will be avoided entirely, thanks to active lane and steering assist, blind spot monitoring and Level 3 Autonomous driving tech.
But none of that holds a candle to the Maybach’s coolest party trick - the fact that you can shut the rear doors with a hand gesture. Because touching door handles is for plebs. There are actually six other ways of closing these electronically controlled doors, but I reckon the hand-gesture will be more commonly used. All- wheel drive, ‘Airmatic’ suspension and adaptive damping are all standard features, so it should make for a pretty smooth ride, on the whole.
There’s also a Maybach mode that can be picked through the car’s ‘Dynamic Select’ function, which starts the car in second gear and softens the suspension and throttle response for an absolutely sublime start to the journey.
Another ‘Maybach-only’ feature is a rear-axle steering system which turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front axle to assist with parking, and in the same direction as the front axle by 4.5 degrees to aid cornering. This, along with the E-Active body control are optional extras. In fact one has to strain to read the fine print when it comes to optional extras. Whatever’s standard on an S-Class remains standard on a Maybach, but a lot of the features that set the model apart as the sybarites go-to chariot, are optional extras.
It’s unclear which powertrain is making its way to India, when the Maybach S-Class is launched here in the first half of 2021. Whichever one it may be, it will be assisted by a 48V ‘EQ Boost’ mild-hybrid system, capable of providing 20hp of additional power. Smart money is on the S580 making its way here with a twin-turbo V8 motor that makes 496hp and 699Nm of torque, but Mercedes-Benz India is yet to sketch out the details on that bit.
In a NutshellThe literature on the details of the new Maybach are extensive enough to fill out an IKEA catalogue. Suffice it to say, that it takes Mercedes- Benz into a realm of luxury no other brand can currently boast of, with the exception perhaps, of Rolls Royce. It’s got plenty of active and passive passenger safety functions, an intuitive-as-ever on-board computer which is gunning for the chauffeur’s job and individual seats (which can recline upto 43 degrees) with a refrigerator and two champagne glasses plonked at the back, so you know what to do with your unoccupied hands, now that the doors practically shut themselves.