Maybach was one of the world's most exquisite nameplates in the 1920s and 1930s. The original company was founded by Karl Maybach � the son of Wilhelm Maybach, who invented the first Mercedes � and produced luxury vehicles between 1921 and 1941.
The new Maybach models are loaded with posh fittings and nearly every sort of comfort and convenience feature that might be found in a motorcar. Ostensibly a product of DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes-Benz's parent company, the modern-day Maybach is actually considered a make of its own. Sales began in May 2003 at U.S. dealerships.
Priced in the $300,000 range, the Maybach comes in two sizes: the regular Type 57 and the extended-length Type 62. Each model designation indicates the car's length in meters: 5.73 for the Type 57 and 6.17 for the Type 62. Special features include an electrohydraulic braking system, Sensotronic Brake Control, Airmatic Dual Control air suspension and Linguatronic voice control.
A Maybach concept first appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997, and the near-production version was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland in the spring of 2002. The first Type 62 sedan was sent to the United States via ship, arriving with a fanfare in New York City on July 2, 2002. At the Paris Motor Show just two months later, both the Type 57 and Type 62 saw their European premieres. Finally, in January 2003, Maybachs were unveiled for the U.S. market at the Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows.
Approximately 1,000 Maybachs per year will be built at a state-of-the-art facility in Germany, and Mercedes-Benz dealers must sign separate agreements to sell them. Buyers will be assigned their own personal liaison manager.
According to the German manufacturer, Maybach styling balances classic and avant-garde features. The doors, hood and fenders are made of aluminum. Maybach says a primary goal was to deliver an "entirely new definition of first class." A panoramic glass roof is electrotransparent and capable of altering the amount of light that enters the cabin.
Twelve body colors are available, and two-tone paint schemes may be specified. Bi-xenon headlights are standard. The extended-length Type 62 is 242.7 inches long overall on a 150.7-inch wheelbase and rides 19-inch tires.
As many as 78 items inside the Maybach are trimmed with exotic woods. Buyers can mix options with the immense standard-equipment list in a massive number of combinations to suit specific tastes. Available accessories include a luggage set, a sterling silver champagne goblet, a humidor, a golf bag and a fluffy travel rug. Buyers may choose from six Grand Nappa leather colors and three types of fine wood.
Occupants can luxuriate in fully reclining rear seats. A standard TV set with a 9.5-inch TFT flat screen includes a DVD player. Interior features also include four-zone climate control with two air-conditioning units, a refrigerated compartment, a cordless phone with two handsets and a 600-watt audio system with Dolby surround sound at every seat. In addition to the technical features that are unique to Maybach, the sedan will have Tele Aid and COMAND systems, which are available for Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Described by the manufacturer as a potential "business jet on wheels," the Type 62 can be equipped with an optional Business Package that includes a notebook computer, which operates via Bluetooth technology. Capable of faxing and attaining Internet access, the computer can sit on a folding table between the rear seats.
Under the Hood
Breathing with the assistance of twin turbochargers, the 5.5-liter V-12 engine produces 550 horsepower and teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission. The company claims that the Type 62 can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds, which is just 0.2 second slower than the smaller Type 57.
Ten airbags are installed in each Maybach. The list includes two adaptive front airbags, four side-impact airbags and two large curtain-type airbags on each side of the interior.