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FIRST DRIVE | The new 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class defines opulence

The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is simply exceptional.
The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is simply exceptional.
Image: Supplied

The new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is available to the affluent few who have reached the pinnacle of success in SA.

They will not be disappointed by the luxuries offered by this stretched, more opulent version of the flagship sedan. We got to see it at its recent launch in the Western Cape. 

Based on the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach is glammed-up in various ways. A two-tone paint finish (with a hand painted pinstripe) is an option to complement the Mercedes-Maybach-specific front grille.   

Available in S580 4Matic and S680 4Matic guises, the range offers different engines to the normal S-Class range. The S580 utilises a 4.0-litre V8 producing 370kW and 700Nm, with an extra 15kW and 200Nm available thanks to the additional 48-volt electric system. The S680 features a brutishly sophisticated 6.0-litre V12 with 450kW and 900Nm. Both models use the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The added weight of all the luxuries are negated by the oversized engines.   

Rear passengers are treated to a lavish experience.
Rear passengers are treated to a lavish experience.
Image: Supplied

The wheelbase is 18cm longer than the standard S-Class model’s to provide even better ride comfort and space for the rear passengers, which is probably where the owner of the car will often be. The limousine is packed full of the latest technology to satisfy society’s most successful.    

Whilst reclining in individually adjustable rear seats that incorporate massage modes, including a calf massage and heated neck cushions, passengers also get to feel the music through their seats as the high-end 31-speaker Burmester 4D surround sound system features tactile transducers which translate the bass frequencies to your body.  

The Mercedes-Maybach also features active road noise compensation – technology similar to headphones’ noise canceling – to minimise noise from outside the vehicle. It creates the perfect ambience for passengers to enjoy their privacy while enjoying drinks from the onboard fridge and cooled and heated cup holders. “Comfort rear doors” make it possible to open the doors via the vehicle’s key or from the driver’s seat. They can also be closed by gesturing.  

A graceful appearance from all angles.
A graceful appearance from all angles.
Image: Supplied

SA has been allocated one of the S680 4Matic 100 Year Anniversary models, of which only 100 have been produced worldwide. This vehicle features every option available to the Mercedes-Maybach along with model-specific chrome alloy wheels. It is set to be auctioned off at the end of June, with the proceeds generated over and above the retail price to be donated to a charity organisation, according to Mark Raine, co-CEO and executive director of Mercedes-Benz SA.   

Pricing of the S580 4Matic starts at R3,507,000 and the S680 4Matic at R4,454,000.    Mercedes-Benz have also launched the new S350d which replaces the S400d. Besides the badge, the only difference is that the S350d does not use the 4Matic all-wheel drive system, instead opting for rear-wheel drive only. It still features the same in-line six-cylinder, turbocharged 3.0-litre engine that produces 210kW and 600Nm, directing power through a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Buyers of the standard S-Class won’t be disappointed either.
Buyers of the standard S-Class won’t be disappointed either.
Image: Supplied

Out on the road, the lack of 4Matic cannot really be felt. The S-Class is an impeccable cruiser and an extremely comfortable place to be. The S500 retains 4Matic and produces 320kW and 520Nm with an additional 16kW and 250Nm thanks to the 48-volt electric system.    

The MBUX infotainment system works a treat through the large 12.8-inch centre display, complemented by the 12.3-inch digital cluster. Everything can be controlled through the central screen – from the climate control, media, integrated ambient lighting to the massage or kinetic features of the seats.    

The S350d’s pricing starts at R2,330,000 compared to the S500’s R2,492,000.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, along with the Mercedes-Maybach range, have upped the level of sophistication and luxury in its class. It was recently announced Mercedes-Benz will invest 75% of their resources into their higher-end vehicles as they believe luxury vehicles are the future of their business success. With the S-Class and Mercedes-Maybach, they have definitely showcased a positive step towards this philosophy. 


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