MAYBACH 57Over-the-top VIP delivery.
Considering that the Maybach is so heavy that the gas-guzzler tax does not apply (anything weighing more than 6000 pounds is considered commercial), its effortless handling of the three-ton mass at hand is stunning. At low speed, you feel an urge to step on the gas, a champing at the bit. So you press that right pedal, and away she goes. There is no gathering of energy before delivery of power, just delivery, pure and simple, thanks to 664 lb-ft of torque.
As much as it makes your heart swell to feel the Maybach's 543-hp, twin-turbo-charged, 5.5-liter V-12 engine (which shares a block with the V-12s from Mercedes-Benz) rush straight to 60 mph from a dead stop in just over five seconds, you will be shocked to feel it roar straight to 155 mph with equal abandon. And with passengers.
In fact, what were you thinking driving so fast with people in the back? As if passengers would notice, cosseted as they are in the most heavily padded lap of luxury ever conceived by a modern carmaker.
Champagne chills in the cooler that's nestled between the two rear passengers who are luxuriating on heated leather massage seats. Pleated side curtains (at a mere $3050!) extend at the touch of a button to darken the rear cabin as a movie plays on the dual 9.5-inch flat-screen monitors embedded in the backs of the front headrests. Music booms from the 600-watt, twenty-one-speaker Bose audio system.
It may be the only time we've ever seen automotive journalists content to ride while someone else drives.
ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOMNot for the faint of ego.
It used to be said that Rolls-Royce was for the driven while Bentley was for the driver. But in the wake of the breakup of the two marques (it was a total shock to VW that it didn't automatically get Rolls-Royce when it bought Bentley), all preconceived notions about chauffeurs and their needs went directly out the window.
That's how we got a rockin' Roller. BMW had one ultraluxury car to work with, so it tucked a bored, 6.7-liter version of its own 6.0-liter V-12 behind the world's most impressive expanse of chrome, giving the 5577-pound behemoth a 453-hp and 531-lb-ft kick in its elegant slats. No longer the Zsa-Zsa-mobile, the Rolls-Royce Phantom rewards your lead foot with a solid 5.7-second 0-to-60-mph time.
Though not a locomotive like the Maybach, the Phantom's ride and handling are more buttoned down than we have a right to expect. Not knowing any better, BMW's high command saw fit to develop great, responsive steering and equally competent brakes that instill the confidence necessary to blow right through to triple-digit speeds.
For all that, the Phantom screams, "Look at us! We're very wealthy!" It is old-school ostentatious in a most fantastic way, making us feel like spreading the Grey Poupon with abandon. There is a reason the bulk of them are found within ten square miles of Beverly Hills.