We are starting to see the logic behind Mercedes-Maybach. The second rebirth of this brand is now a much more subtle affair. That goes for the sales experience as well as the curb appeal of the car. The biggest change for the new Maybach versus the previous generation or the Rolls-Royce Phantom/Bentley Mulsanne competition is all about subtly. Like it or not, from afar this is just a blend-in S-Class limo.
It takes time up close to see its unique grille detailing, polished-alloy window surrounds, or gigantic saucer wheel designs. These are all nice touches, but pale in comparison with the back seat of the new Maybach S600. The wood-lined rear cabin is actually quite impressive – even over a standard S65 or S65. Our favorite detail? The flowing cowls that wrap around the back of each throne of a seat.
The “Mystery of the C-pillar” has now been solved!
When the long-rumored Mercedes-Benz S-Class ‘Pullman’ was running around this year, it wore only the slightest camouflage disguise, and on one of the places you would least expect it: behind the rear doorframe.
What could be so special in that region as to require a disguise, yet let the rest of the car run camo-free?
We now know that it is a subtle change in the arc of the S-Class roofline that marks out the new Mercedes-Maybach S500 and S600 limousines. This brings a much softer and curved chrome element to the C-pillar, along with a more upright roof angle overall.
Other changes to the S-Class include more chrome on the window surrounds of the B-pillar versus gloss-black on the S-Class, unique wheels, a special Mercedes-Maybach ‘Double M’ crest badges, and an overall softness to the styling. These changes are actually very effective at making the new MM S600 feel unique versus the Mercedes-Benz S600 — which we now think of as a personal or civilian vehicle.
This one is designed largely for the 0.001-percent crowd. Those with more than $1-billion under their management. This means royals, a few super executives, and government big-wigs — for the most part.
The Mercedes-Maybach S600 really dials up the luxury ambiance inside versus outside. Matching these austere times, the interior is as outrageously lavish as the exterior is subtle and tries to blend in.
This S600 has leather-wrapped and quilted padding throughout the cabin — with what is likely double the square-footage of the softest cow-hides versus the regular S-Class. Not sure if anyone is counting, but we estimate that a herd of more than 36 head of cattle devoted their lives to the skin of each Mercedes-Maybach S600.
Huge headroom, snazzy pillows and a twin-throne rear seat setup matches the car’s new mission as a chauffeur-driven affair — along with a voice-amplifier intercom to yell at the driver up front… without raising your voice in back. Inside the MM is, Mercedes claims, the quietest car interior of any vehicle. Ever.
That speaks to the mission of the MM S600 —
ride softly, but carry big-wigs.
2015 Mercedes-Maybach S600
2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG – for comparison
2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG – for comparison
MERCEDES-MAYBACH S-CLASS: STYLISH, EFFORTLESS SUPERIORITY COMBINED WITH TREND-SETTING EXCLUSIVITY
Stuttgart/Guangzhou/Los Angeles. At the world première in Guangzhou and the presentation in Los Angeles, the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is being unveiled almost simultaneously in its two key markets of the USA and China. The vehicle makes its début at Auto Guangzhou and the Los Angeles Auto Show just hours apart. At 5453 mm long and with a wheelbase of 3365 mm, the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range is 20 cm larger in both dimensions than the S-Class Saloon with long wheelbase. Rear passengers benefit from this increased size as well as from standard equipment that includes executive seats on both left and right and other exclusive details such as innovative voice amplification. In the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is also the world’s quietest production saloon car.
“The history of prestige vehicles made by Daimler extends back to the earliest days of the motor car. We have now commenced a new chapter with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class,” points out Ola Källenius, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for sales. “As an addition to the portfolio of S-Class saloons, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sets new standards in the luxury segment. The vehicle satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of exclusivity appointments and comfort.”
“Perfection down to the last detail and a new dimension in seating and resting comfort for the rear passengers are the hallmarks of the new Mercedes-Maybach,” says Professor Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “Our exceptionally successful new S-Class already defines the pinnacle of automotive engineering in a host of technical disciplines such as safety, efficiency, climate control and noise characteristics. The Mercedes-Maybach now sets the benchmark in the luxury segment even higher.”
Mercedes-Maybach: a new sub-brand offering peerless exclusivity
The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class melds the perfection of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the exclusivity of Maybach. Mercedes-Maybach motor cars epitomise peerless exclusivity. Some of the features that distinguish these vehicles from production models include extra spaciousness with lavishly designed, prestigious interiors offering extensive scope for individualisation. As a result, the cars fulfil the requirements of even the most discerning customers worldwide.
Mercedes-Maybach is not an equipment line – it is a sub-brand that in future will provide Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an even more exclusive form. Alongside Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach is thus the second sub-brand in the Mercedes-Benz brand world. Providing both prestige and exclusivity, it is aimed at customers for whom status is important.
The market launch of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is scheduled for February 2015. The top-of-the-range model is the Mercedes-Maybach S 600. Its V12 biturbo engine has an output of 530 hp. With a displacement of 5980 cc, the maximum torque of 830 Nm is available from 1900 rpm. The V8 biturbo engine in the Mercedes-Maybach S 500 generates an output of 455 hp from a displacement of 4663 cc. Its peak torque is 700 Nm. NEDC combined fuel consumption for the saloon is 31.7 mpg (premium petrol). CO2 emissions are 207 g/km.
Inside the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the level of wind noise is impressively low and in the rear, despite the large windows, betters even the quietest car in the world – the S-Class Coupé. For passengers in the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is the world’s quietest production saloon car.
In its exterior design, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class combines stylish, effortless superiority with trend-setting exclusivity. The vehicle makes modern luxury come alive in an exceptional way. Along with the extended wheelbase, emphatic lines suggest power and dynamism. Due to the sidewall’s special design, characteristic design elements for the S-Class are retained such as the sweeping, dome-shaped roofline.
The key distinguishing feature is the new side line: by comparison with the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class, the striking rear door has been shortened by 66 mm and therefore appears to meld seamlessly into the overall composition. The door has no triangular window because this has been relocated into the C-pillar. As a result, the rear seats are situated beyond the door cutout, which creates a feeling of exceptional privacy and exclusivity. The elegant Maybach Manufaktur logo – a double M inside an arched triangle – adorns the C-pillars on both sides.
In the interior of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, passengers are enveloped in lounge-style, modern luxury. With its clear architecture, refined materials and stylish controls, the vehicle embodies a sensuous elegance. For an exclusive look, the front centre armrests with nappa leather or exclusive nappa leather upholstery feature embossed Maybach crests. Another special feature in the dashboard is the analogue clock with an IWC design.
The high quality standards of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are impressively evident from the doors, which even have handstitched door trim as part of the standard equipment. This extravagance is part of the interior’s luxurious, hand-finished “Manufaktur” character. Exclusive features used in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are trim parts in wood/chrome and leather at shoulder height in the door panels, chrome-plated tweeter grilles and fibre-optic cables for the ambience lighting to the side on the armrest. Together they create a unique atmosphere conveying a sense of capacious style.
As the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of luxury appointments and comfort. In addition to all the amenities of the conventional S-Class, a number of exclusive interior touches underscore the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class’s ambition to lead. These include the exclusive Maybach perfume AGARWOOD for fragrancing as part of the AIR-BALANCE package and two silver-plated, handcrafted champagne flutes (both optional extras). Voice amplification is a novel function emphasising the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class’s positioning as a chauffeur-driven vehicle, which makes it much easier for occupants in the front to communicate with the rear passengers. The Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system offers a unique optical and acoustic experience. As a visual highlight, the tweeters in the rear doors of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are particularly sophisticated and can also be moved towards the passengers in a spiral motion.
A sense of spaciousness: setting new benchmarks for sleeping and resting comfort in the rear
The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is specifically designed to be chauffeur-driven. For the driver and any front passenger, there have been no compromises compared with a “normal” S-Class. Here, however, the real sense of spaciousness is to be found in the rear. The benefits of extending the wheelbase by 200 mm are felt entirely in the back of the vehicle where the specification has been refined even more. Due to the roofline, it was also possible to further raise the head clearance.
Here is a comparison of two important dimensions relating to comfort:
|V 222||X 222|
|Effective headroom in rear* (mm)||951||963|
|Kneeroom in rear* (mm)||166||325|
* With executive seat and sliding sunroof
A clear indication that the owner of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class will typically be found in the second row are the standard-fit executive seats on the left and right. These rear seats offer a unique level of comfort thanks to a special adjustment kinematics system. In contrast to the norm, the backrest is adjusted separately while the footwell and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be adjusted separately, with inclination and horizontal adjustment combined.
For the executive seats, the maximum backrest angle is 43.5 degrees. The most upright backrest position of 19 degrees allows relaxed working in the rear. The reclining seats feature a calf support, which is freely adjustable for length and angle. As standard, the luxury head restraints come with an extra cushion.
The Chauffeur package is also part of the standard equipment. A “chauffeur position” for the front passenger seat is one of the key components: due to changes to the kinematics system, the rear seat occupant on the front-passenger side has 77 mm more footroom compared with a normal front passenger seat in the furthest forward seat position. In addition to this “chauffeur position”, the front passenger seat can be folded forward and the rear seat placed in an extended recline position for breaks. EASY ADJUST luxury head restraints come as standard for the driver and passenger, and the one on the front-passenger side is folding. For the rear passenger, the Chauffeur package also includes a heel support, which extends from under the front passenger seat. This allows a reclined position that sets new standards in the automotive sector with respect to sleeping and resting comfort.
Individual seat functions in the rear, and those of the chauffeur seat, are of course electrically operated via the typical Mercedes control panels in the rear doors. The rear armrest has a double cup holder, stowage space and wood trim.
As an option, it is possible to boost comfort for rear passengers even further. The Rear Seat Comfort package includes individually adjustable multicontour seats, for example, and an ENERGIZING massage function based on the hot-stone principle.
The First-Class rear suite (centre console in the rear) is a visual continuation of the front console on the centre tunnel. It is equipped with innovative thermo cup holders, which use Peltier technology to cool or warm drinks over a longer period of time.
Like an aircraft seat, the centre console is available with two tables which can be easily folded in or out using one hand. Two articulated joints on the stem and underside of the table enable it to be adjusted to almost any position. The table supports and surface are made of a light alloy, combining great stability with a high-quality look. The table surfaces have leather inserts to provide a comfortable writing surface.
To deliver maximum climatic control in the rear compartment, there is a second, standard-fitted THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system in the rear with two additional climate zones for the rear seats. A control panel on the back of the centre console allows the temperature and air distribution to be set individually for the left and right sides. For targeted climate control, there are two nozzles in the centre console and also on the B-pillars and in the rear footwell. Using COMAND Online, the driver can conveniently adjust the automatic climate control system for the back of the vehicle too.
As exclusive optional equipment (standard in the Mercedes-Maybach S 600), there is the AIR-BALANCE package including ionisation, enhanced air filtration and fragrancing with AGARWOOD, the exclusive Maybach perfume (see section on appointments).
Aeroacoustics: in the back of the world’s quietest production saloon
Inside the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the level of wind noise is impressively low and, despite the large windows, betters even the quietest car in the world – the S-Class Coupé. For passengers in the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is the world’s quietest production saloon car. Extensive measurements were also taken in experimental vehicles considering the fully reclined position in the rear. That is because positioning the passenger away from the side windows and towards the rear window and triangular windows creates a new acoustic situation.
Special seals optimise the noise insulation, thereby ensuring excellent aeroacoustic performance in the rear. These include seals over the C joints in the rear doors, which have a hose profile rather than the usual lip seal, as well as bonded triangular windows with a special seal.
Other measures in the rear compartment are a generous area of insulation around the single seats extending from the seat cushion over the rear panel to the parcel shelf. Intelligent air ducting around the parcel shelf reduces the intrusion of noise, and sealed inertia reels on the seat belts prevent possible disturbing sounds. The textile underbody and wheel arch lining have an insulating and absorptive effect, which reduces high-frequency tyre noise in the interior.
A new aeroacoustic wind tunnel at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Sindelfingen became operational in September 2013 and played a crucial part in achieving excellent, quiet running. For example, the conveyor belt/balance system there is integrated into a turntable with a diameter of twelve metres. This means that test vehicles can also to be subjected to an angled flow of air in order to simulate crosswinds.
As a result, experts in aeroacoustics were able to study the perfect design for the door structure of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class under wind load. The door seal must fit closely even when subjected to a constant or gusty sidewind such as would be encountered when passing a truck, on bridges, in wooded areas or when driving on a coastal road. Despite negative pressure on the side away from wind, the door must never be pulled more than a few millimetres away from the seal. Large doors are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon because strength is a product of (negative) pressure and area.
Aerodynamics: many details with optimum flow
With a Cd value of 0.26, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class maintains the brand’s leading position in the area of aerodynamics.
A whole raft of aerodynamic optimisations have been implemented:
- Wheel spoilers with aerodynamically optimised contour ahead of the front wheels
- Large area of cladding on the rear axle
- Aerodynamically efficient design of the front and rear aprons and the rear spoiler
- Optimised exterior mirror design with mirror base
- Sealed headlamp surrounds
- Improved sealing of the radiator section and flow properties to make efficient use of the available cooling air
- Streamlined water drainage channels
- Speed-dependent lowering of the vehicle by up to 20 mm
- Spoiler lip on each tail light
- Aerodynamically optimised underbody with extensive engine compartment and underbody panelling
Exterior design: elegant and exclusive
In its exterior design, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class combines stylish, effortless superiority with trend-setting exclusivity. The vehicle makes modern luxury (in the truest sense of the word) come alive in an exceptional way. Along with the extended wheelbase, emphatic lines suggest power and dynamism. Due to the sidewall’s special design, characteristic design elements for the S-Class are retained such as the sweeping, dome-shaped roofline.
The key distinguishing feature is the new side line: by comparison with the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class, the striking rear door has been shortened by 66 mm and therefore appears to seamlessly meld into the overall composition. The door has no triangular window. This has been relocated into the C-pillar. As a result, the rear seats are situated beyond the door cutout, which creates a feeling of exceptional privacy and exclusivity. The triangular windows and other glass areas alike have chrome surrounds. The B-pillar is also covered in chrome. The elegant Maybach Manufaktur logo – a double M inside an arched triangle – adorns the C-pillars on both sides. What is more, exclusive 20-inch (50.8 cm) forged, light-alloy wheels are available for the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. Instead of delicate spokes, their design features large surfaces to underline the flagship model’s high-quality look.
Overall the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is 207 mm longer than the S-Class with long wheelbase. 200 mm of this is the result of the extension between the B and C-pillar. All this additional space is used to boost comfort for rear passengers.
Subtle yet noticeable changes in both the front and rear area differentiate the longest S-Class from its smaller siblings. Three double louvres in chrome within the radiator trim have a formative influence on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class’s elegant look. Additional vertical chrome trim discreetly but deeply underlines the special appeal of this extraordinary vehicle. This theme is taken up once again in the design at the tail end.
The key features of the front end design:
- Dominant radiator trim with large radiator opening and three double louvres in chrome
- Subtle vertical chrome trim
- Double trim in the air intakes on the right and left
- Double trim in the bottom end piece of the bumpers
- The emphatic design for the sides draws to an effective conclusion at the rear. The chrome double louvres deployed at the front are continued in the rear area, emphasising high quality and elegance.
- Key features of the rear end design:
- Horizontal lines emphasise the vehicle’s width
- Two tailpipe trim elements in chrome integrated into the bumper with vertical partition
- Chrome double louvres in the bottom section of the bumper covering add the perfect finishing touch to the vehicle
- Maybach lettering on the boot lid (mounted on the left in direction of travel)
Interior design: the essence of modern luxury
“To create only the very best from the very best – a car that fulfils every last wish and stands out for its supremely refined elegance and power” is the aim according to a Maybach brochure dating from 1930. This continues to be the case today. In the interior of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, passengers are enveloped in lounge-style, modern luxury. With its clear architecture, refined materials and stylish controls, the vehicle embodies a sensuous elegance.
The Exclusive trim package, which is fitted as standard, increases the sense of perceived value still further, particularly in the rear of the vehicle. Sensuously curved, fine-wood trim with a handcrafted feel surrounds the entire rear seating system. The seat-back lining, doors and nozzle coverings are resplendent in fine wood.
For an exclusive look, the front centre armrests with nappa leather or exclusive nappa leather upholstery feature embossed Maybach crests (and also the armrests in the rear in conjunction with the First-Class rear suite). Another special feature in the dashboard is the analogue clock with an IWC design. The numbers are individually milled and applied, underlining the analogue clock’s exclusive design. Both the numbers and indicators are made of fine metal.
The high quality standards of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are evident from the doors, which even have handstitched door trim as part of the standard equipment (in nappa leather with exclusive leather as an optional extra). This extravagance is part of the interior’s luxurious, hand-finished “Manufaktur” character. Exclusive features used in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are trim parts in wood/chrome and leather at shoulder height in the door panels, chrome-plated tweeter grilles and fibre-optic cables for the ambience lighting to the side on the armrest. Together they create a unique atmosphere conveying a sense of capacious style.
The models: with V12 and V8 engines plus 4MATIC
The top-of-the-range model is the Mercedes-Maybach S 600. Its V12 biturbo engine has an output of 530 hp. With a displacement of 5980 cc, the maximum torque of 830 Nm is available from 1900 rpm. The Mercedes-Maybach S 600 completes the sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 5.0 seconds, while the top speed is 155 mph (electronically limited). The most important features of the V12 engine are the all-aluminium crankcase, one-piece chain drive, forged crankshaft in high-grade quenched and tempered steel, forged pistons, dedicated ignition coil with multispark ignition, hollow-stem outlet valves filled with sodium and a low-temperature coolant circuit with separate expansion reservoir.
The V8 biturbo engine in the Mercedes-Maybach S 500 generates an output of 455 hp from a displacement of 4663 cc. Its peak torque is 700 Nm. NEDC combined fuel consumption for the saloon is just 31.7 mpg (premium petrol). CO2 emissions are 207 g/km. Permanent all-wheel drive improves traction and driving stability, particularly when road conditions are difficult in winter, for example. The Mercedes-Maybach S 500 is equipped as standard with new 9G-TRONIC, the world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission in the premium segment. Its broad ratio spread (9.15) for gears one to nine allows an overall reduction in engine speed a key factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. Shortened shift and reaction times ensure optimum spontaneity combined with outstanding ease of shifting. The Mercedes-Maybach S 600 comes with the latest evolution of the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission.
All models at a glance:
|Mercedes-Maybach||S 500||S 600|
|Number of cylinders/arrangement||8/V||12/V|
|Rated output (hp at rpm)||455 at 5250-5500||530 at 4900-5300|
|Rated torque (Nm at rpm)||700 at
|Combined fuel consumption from
|Combined CO2 emissions from
0-62 mph (s)
|Top speed (mph)||155||155|
Bodyshell: exemplary stability
From the outset, the bodyshell for the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class was developed alongside the two shorter S-Class models and thus benefits from the innovative solutions deployed there. The new S-Class has already won the world’s most prestigious award in car body construction: at the annual EuroCarBody Conference in Bad Nauheim in October 2013, it beat off the competition to achieve first place. Decisive factors included the highly innovative aluminium hybrid construction of the S-Class vehicle body featuring various materials such as cast aluminium and high-strength steels, along with the efficient use of appropriate joining technology such as aluminium MIG welding, self-piercing riveting and the first use of RobScan welding on aluminium in large-scale production.
Based on this exemplary substructure the Mercedes-Maybach bodyshell, which has the largest side panel made in series production in a single piece, was optimised further. Repeated reinforcements at the base of the B-pillar – the engineers talk vividly of the shoe-shaped reinforcements on the S-Class with long wheelbase turning into “boots” here on the Mercedes-Maybach – and at the transition from the almost square door cutout to the wheel arch provide additional rigidity. Despite the much longer length, NVH conduct is trend-setting for its class. Among other factors, the attachments for the reclining seats in the rear have been enlarged to avoid subtle vibrations – a modification that likewise benefits the S-Class with long wheelbase.
Safety: intelligent assistance systems and innovations for the rear
Like the S-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is available with numerous new assistance systems that make driving even more comfortable and safer. Intelligent Drive systems include PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, Brake Assist BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus and Night View Assist Plus.
In the shape of the seat belt buckle extender, beltbag (both part of the PRE-SAFE® rear package) and seat cushion airbag, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class possesses further innovative safety features that are not even available as options from other brands.
Executive seats in the rear as standard come with the innovative seat cushion airbag. The airbag is located under the seat cushion upholstery, but on top of the plastic seat shell, which is moved by the seat mechanisms. This means that the airbag is always in the right position relative to the occupant.
In an accident, with the occupant in a reclined position on a flat seat cushion, without additional measures there would be a danger of the pelvic area sliding beneath the belt strap (submarining). This can be prevented by the cushionbag, as it raises the front section of the seat cushion upholstery. The airbag is only activated if the seat is in the reclined position during a crash. It is not activated in the upright position, as there is then no danger of submarining.
Reducing belt slack: the seat belt buckle extender
In the seat belt buckle extender, an electric motor automatically raises and lowers the buckle. This makes for easier seat belt attachment and reduces any belt slack in the area of the pelvis and thorax. Passengers are also secured more firmly in both the sideways and lengthways direction. The seat belt buckle extender follows the integral Mercedes-Benz safety concept. By systematically implementing safety as a priority, this concept covers all phases of automobile safety: from safety while driving to safety in hazardous situations, and from protection in an accident to minimisation of the consequences.
The innovation is classic Mercedes-Benz, improving safety and comfort in one. This is because fastening seat belts in the rear is also made much simpler: the seat belt buckle emerges from the upholstery when the rear doors are opened and is provided with an illuminated insertion slot. Simplifying use of the seat belt in this manner may increase the percentage of rear passengers who buckle up. It also makes it easier to assist children or people who require help in fastening their seat belts.
The seat belt buckle extender is furthermore integrated into the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory safety system. This means that in cases where PRE-SAFE® is activated in critical driving situations, there is also reversible belt tensioning in the rear via the seat belt buckle extender. The restraint system and passengers are thus better prepared for a possible accident situation. In this way, the seat belt buckle extender complements the pyrotechnical belt tensioning which has featured as standard on all outer rear seats in Mercedes-Benz vehicles for many years now, and is triggered in the event of an impact exceeding a certain severity.
The seat belt buckle extender is a motorised belt buckle which can be extended upwards by up to 50 mm and retracted by up to 40 mm. The belt buckle is attached via a cable to a nut which runs on a spindle, translating the electric motor’s rotary movement into a linear movement.
An airbag for seat belts: the beltbag
The beltbag is an inflatable seat-belt strap that reduces the load on the ribcage in a front impact and is thus able to reduce the risk of injury to passengers in the rear. Because dummy measurement technology is not capable of quantifying the benefits resulting from a wider belt strap, such as the lower force exerted on occupants in the rib area in particular, the safety experts at Mercedes have been working extensively with virtual human models too. Such computer-generated models make it possible to obtain detailed findings on the biomechanical strain during an accident.
Should the crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit triggers deployment and inflation of the beltbag. A gas generator then inflates the multi-layered belt strap with tear seams to nearly three times its normal width. The resulting larger surface area is able to better distribute the force acting on the seat occupant. This lowers the risk of injury.
The beltbag is used in exactly the same way as a conventional seat belt. The belt strap’s design is different from that of the standard belt though, and received top marks in practical trials for being extremely comfortable to wear and for its extra-soft belt strap edge.
Other protective measures: windowbag and thorax-sidebag
If the central electronic control unit detects a side crash, the windowbag and thorax-sidebag are deployed on the side of the vehicle on which the impact occurs. To ascertain the lateral acceleration, the central crash sensor has support from exterior satellite sensors located at the base of the B-pillars. Pressure sensors in all four doors also help to estimate the severity of the impact.
Equipment and appointments: an exclusive perfume and handcrafted champagne flutes
As the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of luxury appointments and comfort. In addition to all the amenities of the conventional S-Class, a number of exclusive interior touches underscore the ambition to lead of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
Here is an overview of the most important exclusive highlights:
- Of course, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class comes with the option of selecting the AIR-BALANCE package which includes fragrancing, ionisation and even more efficient filtration compared with the basic vehicle. A premium room fragrance has been designed exclusively for this model and the AGARWOOD bottle itself is adorned with Maybach lettering. Agarwood speaks of the centuries-old tradition of perfume. Oud derived from the wood of the Agar tree has long been one of the most precious ingredients – more valuable even than gold – and lends this fragrance its inimitable presence. The luminous golden warmth of resin marries with a striking woodiness, richly contrasted with smokiness. With its refined and elegant character, agarwood makes a statement.
- Any journey in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class can be celebrated in style with two high-quality, handcrafted champagne flutes (optional extra). These silver-plated flutes have been made for the on-board bar by Robbe & Berking, silversmiths in Flensburg, Germany. The prestigious company has a long tradition and well over half of the 200 largest yachts in the world carry silver from Robbe & Berking. Fine restaurants around the globe with several hundred Michelin stars between them are also customers of this luxury brand.
- As standard the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is fitted with a panoramic sliding sunroof. This roof system and its large glass areas make for an especially bright and friendly ambience in the interior. It consists of a fixed panoramic glass roof in the rear section and a top-sliding power sunroof so that the interior can be ventilated as desired. For the first time, the sliding sunroof is available with optional MAGIC SKY CONTROL technology from Mercedes-Benz: the glass can be switched to light or dark at the touch of a button (optional extra for the Mercedes-Maybach S 600).
- Small roller sunblinds for the triangular windows in the C-pillar reflect the great attention to detail. Together with the electric roller sunblinds in the rear doors, they protect passengers in the rear from prying eyes and direct sunlight if desired. When not in use, the roller sunblinds for the triangular windows are concealed out of sight in the side panels. In conjunction with the electric roller sunblind for the rear window, the roller sunblinds for the triangular windows and the rear doors form part of the standard-fit Sun Protection package.
- The continuous business console, part of the optional First-Class rear suite, is longer than in the normal S-Class and offers extra stowage space.
- A range of exclusive paintwork is available as an option for the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. These paint finishes are produced as part of a “Manufaktur” process (hand-finishing section) at the plant in Sindelfingen. After the first clear coat is applied, the surface of all vehicles is roughened (intermediate sanding) and then a second and final clear coat is painted on. This adds extra depth to the paint finish.
- In addition to the leather options for the S-Class, a designo roof liner in nappa leather is available exclusively for the Mercedes-Maybach. The leather trim extends to sunblinds, roof grab handle, pillar trim, both vanity mirrors in the rear with diamond quilting pattern, and the frames of the Burmester 3D loudspeakers. Elaborate topstitching on the three interior colours of nappa leather available (black, porcelain and crystal grey) attest to the high level of craftsmanship involved in each vehicle’s fabrication.
“Piano lacquer flowing lines” trim will be available from mid-2015. Derived from piano lacquer trim, 0.8 mm wide lines are milled into the wood veneer to accentuate the form using a special “Manufaktur” (hand-finishing) process. Lighter stripes appear from the plastic layer below and create an extremely high-quality sense of visual depth. Once worked in this particular complex way, the trim is then painted with a high-gloss finish and polished. The result is discernible differentiation from standard.
Voice amplification: convenient communication from front to rear
Voice amplification is a new function underscoring the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class’s positioning as a chauffeur-driven vehicle. This innovative function makes it easier to communicate with the rear passengers from the front. The two microphones in the interior mirror are also used to pick up speech for the handsfree telephone function. These signals are then discreetly amplified depending on the amount of driving noise, and continuously adjusted for the speaker’s volume and the ambient noise level.
The rear loudspeakers in the doors and in the parcel shelf are used for playback. Key considerations for the developers at Mercedes-Benz were ensuring very clear speech along with natural spatial sound and exactly the same ambience.
Voice amplification comes as standard in conjunction with the Burmester® surround sound system and the Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system. The function is activated and deactivated under “Vehicle settings” in the COMAND menu. Voice amplification is paused during a telephone call or when using LINGUATRONIC. If the volume of a media source in the background exceeds a certain threshold, voice amplification stops. The threshold is set for relaxed conversation with background music. To prevent disturbing sounds, voice amplification only works when the doors, side windows and panoramic sliding sunroof are closed.
When developing and fine-tuning the voice amplification function, the engineers paid special attention to avoiding what is known as the Lombard effect. This is a speaker’s tendency to increase their pitch as well as their volume when there is background noise.
Wideband speech: HD-quality telephone calls
When making calls using a mobile phone via Bluetooth®, wideband speech technology (also known as HD Voice) provides better, more natural voice quality. This standard transmits voice over a wider frequency range. In good conditions this will be in a range from 50 to 7000 Hertz rather than 200 to 3400 Hertz previously. Telephone calls become considerably easier to understand, especially in environments like a vehicle where background noise is prevalent.
Burmester® sound systems: specially tuned and also set up for the rear of the vehicle
As alternatives to the standard sound system with ten loudspeakers including the innovative Frontbass system, two very high-quality audio systems are available which were developed together with high-end audio specialist Burmester: the Burmester® surround sound system and the Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system. Both are, of course, tuned specifically to the sound situation inside the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
The Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system offers a unique optical and acoustic experience. As a visual highlight, the tweeters in the mirror triangle of the driver’s door and their counterparts in the rear doors are particularly sophisticated in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. They rotate through 360 degrees when the head unit is turned on, moving ten millimetres towards the passengers in a spiral motion. This movement aligns the tweeters to give the optimum sound impression. If the ambience lighting is switched on, the tweeters are illuminated in one of the seven available colours.
The Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system provides its unrivalled listening experience by virtue of 24 high-performance speakers and 24 separate amplifier channels with a total output of 1540 watts. Its intelligent combination of analogue and digital amplifier technologies leads to an unparalleled mix of fine, natural sounds and high power reserves.
Popular with buyers and the media: the S-Class’s success
Just a short time after the model change, the new S-Class has already taken the top sales position in its segment worldwide. Since then it has consistently remained on the path of success: one year after the market launch in all core markets, Mercedes-Benz has delivered more than 100,000 S-Class vehicles to customers. The car has also attracted numerous accolades from the media. For example, international motoring journalists this year chose the S-Class as “World Luxury Car”. When selecting the best cars of 2014, the readers of trade journal “auto, motor und sport” declared the saloon the winner in its segment. Specialist American magazine “Ward’s Auto World” has honoured the Mercedes-Benz S-Class for its outstanding interior design. In 2013 the S-Class received the coveted title of “Car Of The Year” in China, an important sales market. That same year, 320,000 readers of AUTO BILD and COMPUTER BILD chose the S-Class as the best networked car and gave it the “Connected Car of the Year” award.
The concept: the ultimate in prestige and stylish travel
As an addition to the portfolio of S-Class saloons, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sets new benchmarks in the luxury segment. The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class melds the perfection of the S-Class with the exclusivity of Maybach. Impressive spaciousness, elegant design and high-quality materials create an ambience of the highest standard, particularly in the rear of the vehicle. Aspects such as premium craftsmanship, extrovert luxury, Maybach excellence, uniqueness and individualisation establish a connection between Mercedes-Maybach and the S-Class.
The target group consists of successful businesspeople that will mainly use the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class in a professional context with a chauffeur. For working in the car, technical functions are therefore very important in the back. The majority of customers are from China, Russia and the USA, where high importance is attached to status symbols.
Strictly speaking, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class has no direct competitors because it is positioned above the existing S-Class segment but below the segment for ultra-luxury vehicles.
The Grand Mercedes: prestigious, high-end motor cars
Size and style combined with technological advances and sublime comfort – these are the shared attributes of prestigious vehicles made by Daimler. Their history dates back to the earliest days of the automobile. As well as conveying passengers in maximum comfort, these luxurious high-end vehicles play an important part in helping their owners to make a dignified impression as befits their status. In terms of style they also always reflect their time.
The tradition of prestige vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and the original brands has its roots in the early 20th century and initially went on to 1981 when the final Mercedes-Benz 600 left the factory buildings in Sindelfingen. In 1991 the 600 SEL, the top-of-the-range model in the S-Class 140 model series and at the same time the first Mercedes-Benz production car with a V12 engine, brought the tradition back to life in more than name alone. By 2002, luxury saloons from the Maybach brand were maintaining the connection with power in the high-end segment. In turn the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sets another new standard.
1903: the start of a unique tradition
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Mercedes and Benz brands were already shaping the luxury automotive segment and offering customers top-of-the-range models to meet their requirements of comfort and prestige. One early example is the luxurious Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp touring coach from 1904 that Emil Jellinek, father of the brand’s namesake Mercédès Jellinek, drove on the French Riviera and caused a sensation. The Mercedes-Benz 630 continued this tradition in the 1920s followed by the 770 model known as the Grand Mercedes from 1931. Its era came to a temporary end in 1939. After the second world war the stakes had changed in Germany and Western Europe. People were suffering greater hardship, their needs were existential, their standards more modest. However, Chairman of the Management Board Wilhelm Haspel declared back in December 1947 that: “… what is missing is a vehicle that gold-plates the name Mercedes-Benz again.”
1951 comeback: Mercedes-Benz 300 “Adenauer”
The gap was closed in 1951 with the Mercedes-Benz 300. Although nowhere near as ostentatious as the Grand Mercedes of the 1930s, this was the most spacious, comfortable and fastest German saloon of its time and the first prestige vehicle of the post-war period. Facelifted several times, the 300 remained part of the range until 1962 and was the highly prized official car of the German Chancellor. Even today it is referred to as the “Adenauer”.
By 1963 the economic miracle was in full swing. Germany was back and this also extended to automotive engineering. The headline of a press release issued by Daimler-Benz AG leaves no doubt: “The ‘Super Mercedes’ model 600 – the exclusive vehicle for grand luxury.” It went on to say that “Mercedes-Benz is creating a link with the company’s pre-war tradition of being present in the world’s small group of outstanding prestige vehicles – in the form of a luxuriously appointed car which offers the highest degree of handling safety.” The 600 was the first Mercedes-Benz production passenger car with a V8 engine. It set standards in ride comfort and safety worldwide. With a production period of 18 years between 1963 and 1981, the model 600, alongside the SL of the 107 model series, is one of the cars that was made for the longest amount of uninterrupted time at Mercedes-Benz.
Until 2002 the top-of-the-range versions of the S-Class assumed the leading position in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio of cars. The Grand Mercedes then found its natural successor in every respect: luxury vehicles made by the Maybach brand over the next ten years. The first prototype was presented in 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show under the name “Mercedes-Benz Maybach”. It would take 17 years for this combination of names to become a reality, though, in the guise of the 2014 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. With new highlights from 2014, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is steering the unique tradition of prestige vehicles into the future.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.