HACKENSACK, New Jersey — Resurrected in 2002 as part of Mercedes’ attempt to challenge Rolls-Royce, the Maybach name has seen an interesting evolution. The stand-alone Maybach brand was retired in 2012, but the name returned for 2016 as a luxury focused sub-brand. For 2018, Mercedes applied a mid-cycle update to the entire S-Class lineup, including the Maybach range, with the 2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560 serving as the new entry point.
One of the most significant changes for 2018 is under the hood. Instead of the 4.7 liters displaced by the 2017 S550’s twin-turbo V-8, the 2018 S560’s displaces only 4.0 liters. Despite the size reduction, it produces an additional 14 horses for a total of 463 hp, with torque unchanged at 516 lb-ft. Mated to the latest and greatest nine-speed 9GTRONIC automatic transmission, the S560 will whisk you away on a wave of acceleration, almost rendering the V-12-powered S650 irrelevant. Almost.
On the outside, though, its dimensions remain largely untouched. At 215.0 inches long, its 0.3-inch longer than the 2017 variant, and is also 0.3 inch taller. That makes the Maybach S560 8.5 inches longer than the regular S560. Almost all of that extended length—7.9 inches, to be exact—is in the wheelbase, avoiding disruption of the W222 S-Class’ elegant design.
Even in the affluent NYC suburbs of Bergen County, New Jersey, a place where such automobiles are commonplace, the Maybach garnered admiration and hardly went unnoticed. If its huge footprint doesn’t grab your attention, the Maybach badges on the trunk and the C-pillars will. Mercedes’ original revival of the Maybach brand with the 57 and 62 may have failed to gain traction, but the name’s reputation certainly stuck, with many acknowledging the high-dollar requirement for ownership.
Opening the sedan’s heavy and sturdy doors leads you into a plush and opulence space. There’s not one surface, switch, or function that exhibits any compromise or consideration of cost. The seats envelop you like the best leather recliners you can imagine, and all four corners offer massage, heating, and cooling capabilities.
The rear right corner is best seat in the house, however. Not only can it recline with full foot-resting support thanks to the standard Chauffeur Package, the occupant can push the front passenger seat all the way forward at the touch of a button, summoning even more space.
Because the Maybach is so large, even with the seats fully extended for the tallest individual, there’s plenty of room for all. And if the space and supple materials of the Maybach aren’t enough to wow, the ambient lighting’s 64 adjustable colors will at least dazzle the eyes.
Should you find yourself behind the wheel, the driving experience is similar to that of the shorter “Benz” S560. The Maybach’s length only makes its noticeable only to the extent that it necessitates wider turns and extra-large parallel parking spots. AIRMATIC does a great job of controlling the body and felt completely unbothered by the worst that New Jersey’s pothole-ridden roads could throw at it.
The Mercedes-Maybach comes with the same clever DISTRONIC PLUS radar-guided cruise control as the normal Sonderklasse, too. It not only keeps you in line in any traffic at any speed, it also will actually steer the car like autopilot for short, extended periods of time, until it asks you to grab the wheel.
The Mercedes-Maybach S560 is a clear reminder as to why the Silver Arrow has simply been a buy-word for it. But what’s even more astonishing is that it feels like a Rolls-Royce or Bentley competitor at nearly half the price.
All of the effort that engineers put into the 2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560 vividly shows. It doesn’t just do it with blistering speed, stability, and seductive bodywork, rather, it blows your mind by simply how uncompromised it is as an ultimatum in automotive luxury. All the little ways the Maybach S560 treats not only its occupants, like the incredible amount of attention to detail and luxury, but the driver as well, add up to create an experience worthy of its hefty price tag.
2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560 4MATIC Specifications
|PRICE||$169,595/$180,545 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/463 hp @ 5,250-5,500 rpm, 516 lb-ft
@ 2,000-4,000 rpm
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||16/25 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||215.0 x 74.8 x 59.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.8 sec|
|TOP SPEED||130 mph|