2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class unveiled

Mild hybrid, all-wheel drive limo gets even plusher

By Sam Sheehan / Thursday, November 19, 2020

For those who think the plushest versions of the new Mercedes S-Class just aren’t posh enough, Maybach has revealed its version of the luxury limo ahead of sales commencing next year. It’s big, sitting on a wheelbase that’s 18cm longer than that of the most stretched existing S-Class (321cm already!), and specced to the nines, with new rear seats capable of reclining 43.5 degrees in addition to a new body massage function that extends down to the calves. Mercedes-Maybach’s machine is to be launched globally, but China is expected to remain the model’s key market. More than 8,400 Maybachs were delivered there last year alone. 

Perhaps surprisingly, given market trends and the significance of China on Maybach’s books, there’s no mention of a plug-in hybrid model, but rather confirmation that the entire line-up will be all mild hybrid. That means starter generator power to boost maximum performance, smooth shifts from the 9G-Tronic auto and make the car’s fuel saving coast function seamless in operation. As for the engines themselves, Mercedes-Maybach will offer its limo with a choice of V8 and V12 engines, with China having the third option of an inline six. All are pinched from the S-Class W223 range and use all-wheel drive. 

We’re not given outputs for the powertrains at this stage, but expect more than 600hp for the flagship, with the V8 likely borrowing the EQ Boost system that makes it similar to the 612hp AMG GLS 63. But the Maybach will obviously be tuned to provide its performance without you really knowing about it. That’s hammered home with claims for next-gen active road compensation tech that’s said to completely overlay the sounds coming from the tyres and driveline. That suggests an occupant experience of near silence, with the distant bass of a big capacity motor. Lovely. 

Maybachs of late have always been about the rear seats, but in this 2021 car there’s new stuff up front, too. Essentially, it gets top-spec S-Class features plus a bit more, with the latest MBUX digital instrument cluster and square central infotainment screen joined by wood veneers and the softest leathers. In the rear, Maybach equips the S-Class with its Executive seats as standard, allowing for separate adjustment of the seat surface and backrest. Essentially, it can be moulded to support any torso. The leg rest also extends 50mm further than before, while a new calf rest massage function is available as an option. Oh, and there’s a fridge for your champagne. Obviously.  

You’d imagine that seats as soft and adjustable as the ones in this car would leave you feeling cossetted no matter the chassis beneath them, but the Maybach does, of course, come with a whole load of suspension hardware designed to make everything this side of driving off a cliff feel like you’re floating on a cloud. The structure is suspended on Mercedes’ W223 AirMatic system in its highest specification, with continuously adjusting dampers. Buyers can add the optional E-Active body control system, which uses the 48-volt electrical architecture and a stereo camera to prepare the suspension for the road surface ahead. This system can also provide additional protection in a lateral collision by lifting the sills (the strongest part of the car) in the moments before. All-wheel steering is offered, too. 

To help reduce the fatigue of a long-distance driving chauffeur, the Maybach also builds on the driving assistance features of the Benz S-Class, with more standard fit features of Mercedes’ Drive Pilot tech. The car can drive autonomously at up to speeds of 37mph on certain roads where permitted; LiDAR sensors are positioned all over the car and can recognise everything from traffic signs to the blue flashing lights of emergency vehicles, ensuring that the car is always primed to react to present scenarios. Should any of the autonomous tech fail, the Maybach has a back-up steering, braking and electrical system to ensure all manual controls remain fully operational. 

The 2021 Mercedes-Maybach is certainly packing a lot of tech and luxury, then – what else did you expect? Prices haven’t yet been confirmed, though expect the Maybach range to kick off at around £185,000; it’s hard to imagine any customers feeling short changed, either, given this specification. It would be a surprise to see Maybach’s growing demand falter one jot with this taking the brand into the 2020s – and soon there will be the Maybach EV to think about… 

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