As a person who came from a humble background, I have a different appreciation of luxury than most.
I see luxury as both a treat and a reward – and, yes, they do go hand-in-hand.
Frankly, that line that Junior LaBeija said in the film Paris Is Burning serves as a reminder of our love of luxury: “O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E: Opulence! You own everything. Everything is yours.”
It came as no surprise that with the plethora of new vehicle reveals in mid-November that one of them ended up striking a chord. It was a subtle reveal, but it resonated with me.
That new vehicle reveal was for the newest Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
The new S-Class already got my attention with it being a showcase of Mercedes-Benz’s latest technology. The Maybach takes the new S-Class, stretches it to fulfill a lofty space in the pantheon of luxury. The result is a very opulent car at a lower price point than its rivals.
In case you forgot, the name Maybach has always meant the ultimate in German luxury and engineering. Their peak came as the Weimar Republic would fold on the onslaught of the Third Reich. The latter government would exploit the Maybach works to build engines during World War II. By VE Day – the end of the European theater of WWII – Maybach was relegated to history’s back shelves.
You may have already forgotten about the nameplate’s return under Daimler’s guidance from 2002. Daimler bought the rights to the brand name in 1980, however they held onto it until it figured out what it wanted to do with it. When it found a purpose for the brand, they applied it to the most luxurious versions of the W 140 S-Class ever created. They were the darlings of the nouveau riche – hip-hop artists and the wealthy in the Gulf States.
Today, the Mercedes-Maybach lineup has doubled to include a version of the GLS SUV. I have to admit that it did get my attention, but I also believe that it would serve as a “volume” seller for the sub-brand. After all, it is still an SUV market out there.
However, it will be the S-Class that will be the more desirable model. Built on the W 223 platform, the Maybach S-Class gets a seven-inch wheelbase extension to accommodate a rear seat atmosphere that was made for the driven. That is not to say that the owner or the hired professional can drive this machine like a regular S-Class.
Its opulence will be on full display with its distinctive grille, the use of both the three-pointed star and the double-M badges, exclusive two-tone paint schemes, and exclusive Executive rear seating and appointments. Expect another level of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience that have been the hallmark of the brand in recent years. The rear seat entertainment is supposed to be engaging for the passenger.
The initial release from Mercedes-Benz did not mention specifics about which engine will appear under the Maybach’s hood. However, it is known that it will have a nine-speed automatic transmission and an integrated second-generation starter/generator. Mercedes-Benz also stated that it will employ a highly sophisticated air suspension, along with a rear steering assist.
There is no question that the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class will be positioned against the likes of the Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase and the Bentley Flying Spur. Word has it that the Mercedes-Maybach will continue to have a price advantage over those two models. How much? Mercedes-Benz has not announced pricing for the USA as of publication. I suspect we might be seeing pricing below $250,000 with all of the option boxes ticked off.
The opulence is this newest member of Mercedes-Benz’s Maybach sub-brand is going to stop some people in their tracks. It has to. The upper echelon of the luxury market could stand a third choice designed to completely stun and wow everyone that set eyes upon it. That is how you attract potential clientele to your brand, right?
Because, honey, when you have a Mercedes-Maybach…you own everything! Everything is yours!
All photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz USA