2021 Mercedes-Maybach S580
I feel a little like a schoolmarm here, with ruler at the ready, but I am compelled to start with the pronunciation of “Maybach.” Interestingly, the most common way to say it, among those who know the German language and German car history, seems to be “MY-bach,” even though it looks like “MAY-bach.” And I once met a member of the Maybach family who said that his branch (perhaps tired of mispronunciations) pronounced their name “MAY-bach.” So, there you have it. Or don’t. But it’s like they say about Brits and Americans: two nations separated by a common language.
Now that we’re on the same page (oh, well, close enough), let’s take a look at the car. Almost 20 years ago, Mercedes decided to create an upmarket sub-brand, perhaps to compete with the BMW/Rolls-Royce family of vehicles. However, that foray was not overly successful, and production stopped a few years later. Then, a couple of years ago, Mercedes brought back the name (it’s the last name of William Maybach, Mercedes’ chief designer in the early years), and the model profiled here is the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S580, a high-end S-class (MB also offers a Mercedes-Maybach GLS, a very high-end SUV). With a price starting at $184,900, it’s certainly near the top of the S-class sedan price range, but the creature comforts available on this car—fully-reclining rear seats, wine refrigerator, special goblets, etc.—put the car in a class by itself. Its closest competitor would be a rolling palace. As expected, it drives like a dream, rides like a cloud, and coddles its occupants.
True, there are many similarities between the “regular” S-class and the Maybach version. They certainly resemble each other, though there are more flourishes and design changes on the Maybach. Notably, it has a longer wheel base, so the ride is somewhat smoother and the interior is more commodious. They share the same twin-turbo motor and its output—just under 500 horsepower—moves this 2-ton-plus boulevardier from zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds. (If that’s not fast enough for you, order the V12 engine option.) Of course, having 516 pound-feet of torque, thanks in part to the car’s “EQ Boost” electric motor, is what makes that magic happen.
“My” Maybach had a beautiful, duotone paint job: “Cirrus Silver” from just below the beltline on up, including the hood and top, and “Obsidian Black” below. Coupled with stylishly unique, chrome, disc-like wheels, the car has a really elegant stance and looks terrific (and imposing) from all angles. It looks much lusher than its S-class cousin.
The beauty continues inside where “mine” was clothed in “exclusive Maybach Black” leather, as sumptuous as it sounds. Offset by diamond-stitched, perforated seats, the interior trim is mostly soft-looking, low-luster silver metal, more like brushed sterling instead of chrome.
I really enjoyed my time with this car. It doesn’t pretend to be a sports car, but it’s quick and quite agile for its size. It’s super quiet and extremely luxurious. With a base price of $184,900, it comes so well-appointed that mine “only” had $27,150 in options. Of those options, $14,500 was for the gorgeous 2-tone paint and $3,200 was for the champagne flutes which were necessary due to the $1,100 “beverage center console.” Don’t forget the “Executive Rear Seat Package,” though: for $6,000, you get two separate reclining rear passenger seats, each with an airplane-style folding table hidden beneath the inboard armrest of each and heated and cooled … cupholders.
I felt quite coddled in the Maybach and rightly so. The Mercedes engineers made certain that the ride quality, the quieted outside sound, the plush seating, the excellent cabin air conditioning, and even the goblets all join together to make one’s time in the S580, whether as passenger or driver, relaxing and enjoyable.