Few names carry as much resonance in the luxury automobile arena as Maybach. With origins dating back to 1909, the marque is a decade older than Bentley and nearly as legendary as Rolls-Royce. Admittedly its production history has been more sporadic, but that has only served to preserve its aura of ultra-exclusivity. An atmosphere 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 Mercedes-Benz cars’ most potent, performance-oriented expression, 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 crucial 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, making the rear compartment as sybaritic as the Orient Express—especially when paired with the new Executive Seats upholstered in exclusive Maybach leather, incorporating a calf rest massage function and neck/shoulder heating. In addition, 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 chromed membrane and the Mercedes-Maybach radiator grille with vertical chrome pinstripes and 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 the one hand, is just an object that gets you from A to B. But once you experience the craftsmanship and attention to detail becomes a true luxury experience.