For those that find the new Mercedes S-Class a little too commonplace, not quite luxurious enough and, even in long-wheelbase format, not quite spacious enough in the back seats, there's a new Mercedes-Maybach version to consider. Subtle it is not.
Unique Maybach styling
Don't worry: the, erm, 'striking' two-tone paint finish is optional. Nonetheless, it brings with it an astounding paint process that can take up to a week. Firstly, the entire bodyshell is painted as normal using the colour for the lower half of the car. Then it moves to the custom paint shop where it is masked up and painted by hand, with incredible attention to detail. Before masking the thin dividing line between the colours, for example, weights are added to the doors to simulate the finished items, which will accommodate window glass, speakers, etc.
Anyway, this Maybach S-Class doesn't need the garish two-tone effect to set it apart. Up front, there's a unique radiator grille, topped by the 'MAYBACH' lettering, and a restyled bumper with lots of chrome. There's a sharp chromed fin down the middle of the bonnet, too. The side view reveals unique 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels, but the biggest difference between the regular and Maybach S-Classes is a 180mm stretch in the wheelbase (beyond that of the long-wheelbase S-Class).
It brings with it longer back doors, an extra (fixed) piece of glass to the rear and a more upright C-pillar. On that you'll find a large Maybach badge, which can be illuminated. The same badge is projected onto the floor using LEDs when the doors are opened. At the back, the Maybach model gets a unique bumper and exhaust finishers.
It's all about the back seats
Most owners of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class will be found in the back seats, obviously. Hence it gets individually adjustable 'Executive' chairs as standard, as well as the Chauffeur package that allows movement of the front passenger seat by those in the rear. There are footrests and leg rests, the latter including a new calf massage function, incidentally, to complement the rest of the massaging and wellbeing features.
Choose to upgrade to the 'First-Class Rear' and you get a continuous centre console from the front of the car to the back. This houses all manner of toys, such as thermo-cupholders, a tablet holder for the MBUX infotainment system, USB ports, wireless phone charging and fold-out table trays. Why not specify the optional silver-plated champagne goblets in the process?
As standard, the doors have a soft-close function, but it's possible to specify electrically operated rear doors, too. These can be opened and closed remotely and even by gesture, though they have obstacle detection built-in for safety. Speaking of which, the rear seats also get automatic seat belt extenders, as is usually only found in coupes and convertibles.
High-tech chassis for comfort
According to its maker, the previous-generation Mercedes-Maybach S-Class was the world's quietest saloon car when it was launched, and the new one is even quieter. That's thanks to a lot of extra sound-deadening material, including optional noise-optimised tyres that have built-in foam absorbers and special glass. On top of all that, the Maybach uses an active road noise compensation system that employs the high-end Burmester speakers to counteract unwanted sounds.
Naturally, the Maybach S-Class gets Airmatic air suspension as standard, which self-levels, and fully adaptive damping. E-Active Body Control is optional, including the Road Surface Scan function, which looks at the road ahead with a camera and alters the spring and damper forces for each individual wheel as needs be. It also can lean the car into a bend to reduce lateral forces on the passengers, and it can reduce the severity of an unavoidable collision by raising the car body up.
Not that those in the rear are likely to care, but the Maybach can also be had with the optional rear-wheel steering that debuted on the normal S-Class, with up to 10 degrees of rear-axle steering. That greatly reduces the car's turning circle, which should be particularly useful given the extra length of this model.
Finally, there's a new driving mode for the chauffeur to select, called simply 'Maybach'. This softens the throttle response to make progress smoother and alters the automatic gearbox's operation for even smoother changes - while starting off in second gear where possible.
Mercedes hasn't detailed which engines will be available in the Maybach model.