This is the new Z223 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, and it is essentially a more opulent version of the seventh-generation S-Class that made its debut in September this year. The company says its new creation is “particularly suitable for chauffeured driving,” so you’ll want to spend more of your time in the back rather than behind the wheel.
Before we dive inside, let’s focus on the exterior. Given its S-Class foundations, the overall design doesn’t differ much from Mercedes-Benz’s flagship sedan. However, to ensure that it stands out from a regular S-Class, there are some exclusive features.
For starters, the front end sports the trademark Maybach grille, with bold vertical slats and an embossed script that provide a greater sense of presence. Adding to this is a model-specific bumper design, which incorporates a “fan-shaped” mesh that spans nearly the width of the lower apron, all prominently finished in chrome. If you’re not a fan of the shiny, you can specify a black mesh as an option.
Along the sides, you’ll notice that the body appears to be a lot longer than the regular S-Class, and that is certainly the case. Pulling out some figures, the Maybach S-Class measures 5,469 mm end to end, making it significantly longer than the long-wheelbase (V223) version of S-Class that is 5,289 mm long. The extra 180 mm entirely benefits the rear of the Maybach S-Class’ cabin, particularly legroom, as the wheelbase spans 3,396 mm instead of the V223’s 3,216 mm.
Other cues include more upright C-pillars that bumps the height up to 1,510 mm (+7 mm), along with Maybach logos and optional two-tone paint finishes. The latter is painstakingly applied by hand in a separate paint shop, requiring almost a week before the vehicle is returned to the regular production process, according to the company.
Customers will have 10 two-tone paint combinations to choose from, along with wheel sizes ranging from 19 to 21 inches, all of which were specially designed and exclusive to the Maybach model. For some idea of the vast customisation options available, just look at some examples in the gallery below.
Moving to the rear, the differences from a normal S-Class are a little more subtle. The two-piece taillights retain the same design that we’re familiar with, but the bumper gains more chrome elements, and the exhaust finishers are made to look more distinctive.
Entering the front of the cabin via the retractable door handles, we are greeted by a dashboard that is pretty much identical to the normal S-Class. Ahead of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display with 3D effects and a head-up display, while a 12.8-inch OLED central display takes its place on the centre stack -both screens are powered by the second-generation Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX).
Of course, being in the driver’s seat isn’t a concern for the discerning businessperson, so let’s talk about life in the rear of the cabin, starting with getting in. On request, the Maybach S-Class can be equipped with electrically-operated comfort rear doors, which can be conveniently opened and closed with little force, even on a gradient. For even greater convenience, the chauffeur can also operate the rear doors from the front.
Once seated, the optional MBUX Interior Assist system is on hand to recognise the intentions of occupants, using 3D laser cameras to identify movements and gestures. For instance, if you’re trying to reach for the seatbelt, the system identifies this and engages the belt extender so the seat belt is offered up to you.
Other examples of the system in operation include moving the front passenger seat to a chauffeur position when it detects no one in it (forward tilt up to 23 degrees); if you’re reaching for the grab handles, a light is automatically switched on; or opening the roller sunblind with hand gestures.
As standard, the Maybach S-Class comes with rear executive seats that are trimmed in Nappa leather, with the material also generously applied throughout the cabin, along with other premium materials. The seats have a maximum backrest angle of 43.5 degrees for lounging, and in its most upright position of 19 degrees, allows for relaxed working in conjunction with the folding table on the front seat backrests.
Aside from being a comfortable place to rest your posterior, the seats are also ventilated or heated, including neck and shoulder heating, as well as an expanded list of massaging functions that now also covers the calfrests.
For entertainment, there are two 11.6-inch touchscreens that are tied to the MBUX system, so multi-user support and a variety of inputs and services are available. A detachable tablet on the rear centre console makes up the five-screen setup found inside, and it provides access to various vehicle functions as well as Android apps.
The aural experience should be pretty special too, as a Burmester 4D surround sound system handles media playback. The system is also linked to an active road noise compensation system, which gathers data from six acceleration sensors in the suspension system to generate counterwaves to cancel out noise from the outside.
This is engaged at speeds above 20 km/h, but not above 180 km/h when wind noises predominate. Additionally, no counterwaves are generated when the side windows or sunroof are open, as this changes the control parameters in the interior. The aim is to ensure optimum NVH, and to that end, the Maybach S-Class gets plenty of insulation throughout its body, along with thicker laminated glass, and noise-reduced tyres with foam absorbers.
Other luxury aspects include the option of wood surrounds that encase the rear of the front seat backrests, if you need even more of a lounge feel while inside. Throw in the the First-Class Rear package, and this trim is also placed between the two rear passengers.
There’s also the optional active ambient lighting system, which has two more LEDs than the regular S-Class at 253 LEDs, along with two more colour themes (rose gold white and amethyst glow). It goes on, as customers can also specify a refrigerator between the executive seats to keep their drinks at chilly temperatures of between one to seven degrees Celsius, plus adaptive rear lighting.
On the safety front, a fully-equipped Maybach S-Class will have 18 airbags in total, along with a bunch of other safety systems. These include Pre-Safe and Driving Assistance packages, so driver and occupants are well covered from autonomous emergency braking, to active lane keep assist, right on through to emergency stop assist.
That’s plenty of goodies for those in the rear, but the chauffeur isn’t left out in the cold either. The car’s Drive Pilot system provides Level 3 autonomous driving features, backed by a comprehensive suite LiDAR, camera and other sensors. This allows for conditional automated driving, although the driver must still remain alert to take over when required.
As for engines, the Maybach S-Class gets the same line-up as the regular S-Class, starting with the S 580 4Matic that is powered by a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 rated at 489 PS (483 hp) and 700 Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the S 650 4Matic and S 680 4Matic (China market) gets a beefier 6.0 litre biturbo V12 with 630 PS (621 hp) and 1,000 Nm.
The smaller of the two engines benefits from a 48-volt mild hybrid EQ Boost system, which provides assistance of up to 20 PS (20 hp) and 180 Nm when required. The integrated starter-generator (ISG) also facilities coasting and a smoother start-stop experience for better efficiency. Both engines are paired with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is standard equipment however you specify the Maybach S-Class.
The default kit list also includes Airmatic air suspension with continuously adjustable damping ADS+, with their characteristics adjusted via the Dynamic Select system. Available add-ons include rear-axle steering – also present with the S-Class – and E-Active Body Control active roll stabilisation that is dependant on a 48-volt electrical system.
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