2011 Maybach 62 Sedan - FROM $423,500
Stately in size, decadent in its luxuries and rapid in its pace, the 2011 Maybach 62 could be the most exquisite car that money (a lot of it) can buy. Even so, it lacks the overwhelming character and panache of its only competitor, the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Maybach 62 S gets an extra 16 horsepower -- apparently, 604 hp just wasn't enough. Adding to the rear-seat niceties, a pair of different partition walls now debut. One has a 19-inch flat screen television mounted to it and the other features power-operated glass and an intercom.
If a Rolls-Royce is a motor car fit for a king, the 2011 Maybach 62 is an automobile fit for a German chancellor. The Rolls emphasizes presentation and classic British opulence, while the Maybach is all business, mixing a restrained German aesthetic with exquisite luxury and technology. The Maybach's lackluster sales success would indicate which of these approaches most high-end luxury buyers prefer, but it's this difference in character that's likely to ultimately determine which joins your multicar garage.
The Maybach 62 is one of three models sold by the ultraluxury division of Mercedes-Benz -- the others being the short-wheelbase Maybach 57 and quasi-convertible Maybach Landaulet. Though the Maybach name dates back to the 1920s, the current iteration was launched in 2002 when Mercedes-Benz jumped into the ultraluxury sedan segment to keep pace with BMW and Volkswagen, which had gobbled up Britain's most storied automotive marques (Rolls and Bentley, respectively). The resulting car shares not only a passing resemblance to the styling of the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class but also its basic platform as well. As such, the 62 comes across as an über-Benz rather than a bespoke car like the Rolls and Bentley.
Of course, saying that a car is too much like a Mercedes-Benz is like saying your date looks too darn much like Scarlett Johansson. With solid construction, fine craftsmanship and bulletproof engineering, the 2011 Maybach 62 features a choice of two twin-turbo V12 engines hand-built by a single technician at Mercedes AMG headquarters in Germany. The "base model" 62 produces 543 hp, while the 62 S gets a bump up to 620 hp for 2011 (it previously produced 604 hp).
Of course, performance is one thing, but for super limousines like a Maybach, the interior is of paramount importance. While it doesn't have the sort of grand, old-world interior design of the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the 62 has the abundance of leather and wood you'd expect from a vehicle this expensive. Its backseat is where it really sets itself apart from the Rolls, with a pair of heated and reclining captain's chairs separated by a center console containing climate and entertainment controls. Oh, and it also has a miniature fridge perfect for chilling champagne -- though we're not sure how that jibes with open container laws. Perhaps it would be best to get the optional solid partition just in case.
When ordering a 62 at a Maybach "Commissioning Studio," customers can equip their car in literally any way they wish. If they want alpaca upholstery instead of regular old cow leather, the "Maybach Relationship Manager" can probably make it happen -- just be prepared to pay a colossal amount of money. Indeed, Maybach regular options are extraordinarily expensive.
It's hard to compare cars that cost vastly more than the average American home and only slightly less than the entire GDP of Tajikistan. Despite its many niceties, though, the 2011 Maybach 62 can't match a Rolls-Royce for exquisitely decadent luxury and that uniquely British character that dates back a century. The Maybach has a classic name, but it's very much the world's nicest S-Class. That may be perfect if you're a German chancellor or P. Diddy (he owns several), but for others, the Phantom might be the more regal choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Maybach 62 is a long-wheelbase ultra-luxury sedan available in two trims: the 62 and 62 S. There are also a regular-wheelbase version known as the 57 and a quasi-convertible known as the Landaulet discussed in separate reviews.
Either Maybach 62 model can be customized with nearly any features the purchaser can dream up, but nevertheless, standard kit includes 19-inch wheels, an active self-leveling suspension, adaptive cruise control, front and rear cabin sunroofs, power rear sunshades, 10-way power front seats with heat and massage, front-seat memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a full leather interior. The opulent rear quarters includes reclining rear captain's chairs with heating, memory functions, power leg supports and footrests, folding rear picnic tables, electronic rear door closers, four-zone climate control with active air filter and a rear beverage cooler. Standard tech features include front and rear Bluetooth controls, a navigation system, a rearview camera, a DVD entertainment system and a 21-speaker Bose surround-sound system with an in-dash CD player, a console-mounted six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Maybach 62 S adds 20-inch wheels with higher-performance tires, a slightly lower ride height, sportier suspension and minor exterior differences.
Regular optional extras revolve mostly around the rear passengers and include additional rear-seat entertainment options, a three-person rear bench seat, different front and rear partition designs, ventilated front or rear seats, folding rear picnic tables and rear curtains. Other options include a solar panel module (it generates enough electricity to power the car's ventilation fan) and a rear sunroof design that can be turned opaque at the touch of a button.
Powertrains and Performance
Both the Maybach 62 and 62 S are rear-wheel drive and powered by versions of the twin-turbocharged V12 found in some of the high-end AMG-tuned Benzes. The 5.5-liter V12 in the 62 produces 543 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque. The 62 S gets a 6.0-liter version of the V12 with 620 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Maybach estimates both will go from zero to 60 mph in the mid 5-second range. According to the EPA, the Maybach 62 and 62 S will return 10 mpg city/16 mpg highway and 12 mpg combined.
The 2011 Maybach 62 has a comprehensive list of safety features that includes side airbags for the front and rear passengers, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
Interior Design and Special Features
For the few Maybach 62 owners who actually drive their car, they will find a front cabin that basically resembles a lavish previous-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The electronic controls are consequently behind the times and the interior design also generally lacks the sense of classical grandeur evident in the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Still, it's a safe bet most Maybach 62 owners will be occupying the rear quarters as their chauffeur ferries them about. They will find a pair of reclining and heated bucket seats with full-sized retractable footrests. A center console separates the two and incorporates a refrigerated compartment as well as controls for the rear dual-zone climate control and the standard DVD entertainment system. Traveling by car really doesn't get more luxurious than this.
Every Maybach drives like the large car that it is. That said, these are pretty amazing large cars, with a prodigious amount of power that easily overcomes their substantial mass. Both the 62 and the 62 S are seriously quick. At the same time, there's just no way to make 3 tons and 20 feet worth of Maybach seem agile. Of course, these are cars built to deliver diplomats to a meeting of the World Bank, not set a low lap time at the Nurburgring. For such deliveries, the Maybach provides a beautiful ride that swallows bumps without floating about like a luxury yacht upon the high seas.