For those who think a Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a bit too plebian, the German automaker is today taking the wraps off what it’s billing as its ultimate flagship, the Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic sedan.
Calling it “the manifestation of sophisticated luxury in its most advanced form,” the S 680 is designed to go up against ultra-premium alternatives like the Bentley Flying Spur and even the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
Opulence is the name of the game here, starting with a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 that can launch the big sedan from 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds. But, in keeping with its target market, Mercedes says it has taken steps to strike a balance between ride comfort and driving dynamics with its new “Dynamic Select” mode. Among other things, the Maybach model is fitted with a new active noise compensation system designed to neutralize both wind and road noises.
For those unfamiliar with the name, Wilhelm Maybach was one of the automaker’s earliest engineers. He went on to create his own, short-lived luxury brand. The name was resurrected by Mercedes’ parent Daimler as a standalone brand in 2002, an attempt to compete with Bentley and Rolls-Royce. The project failed to generate much demand and the marque was scuttled a decade later. Then, in 2015, Maybach returned, this time as a special, super-premium badge for special-edition S-Class products.
The S 680 starts off as the latest-generation S-Class, adopting many of the big sedan’s most striking features, like the Hyperscreen that covers virtually the entire instrument panel.
Measuring 215.3 inches nose-to-tail, the Maybach adds a unique front end, including exclusive headlights. The illuminated door handles are another Maybach-exclusive feature. And the sedan can be ordered in a two-tone paint scheme. There are unique bumpers and the exhaust system also has been modified for Maybach.
Inside, the S 680 adds Nappa leather throughout, even on the sun visors and backrest pockets. Seats are done up in diamond quilting with contrasting piping and the Mercedes-Maybach emblem. The rear doors are electronically operated and can be opened or closed by the driver with the touch of a button.
High-tech features include twin rear 11.6-inch videoscreens and adaptive interior lighting. The MBUX voice assistant found in the standard S-Class, meanwhile, adds new duties. A voice command can raise or lower the rear headrests, and a hand gesture can be used to operate the rear sun blinds and panoramic roof.
The Burmeister “4D” audio system serves a dual purpose, delivering rich, audiophile sound while also acting as the heart of the new noise cancellation system.
Power comes from a 6.0-liter biturbo V-12 that delivers 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque through a 9-speed automatic. Like Mercedes-AMG engines, the V-12 is hand-built by a single technician.
Plenty of performance
Under normal conditions, the Maybach’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system delivers 31% of its torque to the front wheels, 69% to the rear. But power can be redirected as needed in less optimum conditions. This marks the first time 4Matic is available in a Maybach sedan.
While the S 680 can deliver aggressive acceleration, the sedan is designed to deliver sublime comfort, as well. The Dynamic Select mode, Mercedes claims, smooths out acceleration, even on quick launches. At 4.4 seconds, the new S 680 hits 60 about 0.2 seconds faster than the outgoing model.
The sedan also features a two-step rear-axle steering system, with a choice of up to 4.5 or 10 degrees of turning. The system improves maneuverability at low speeds, but also enhances handling on highways.
The next-generation Mercedes-Maybach S 680 4Matic will reach U.S. showrooms during the first half of 2022. The automaker hasn’t revealed pricing yet, but the outgoing model starts at $203,545. Of course, buyers can drive that up substantially with all the options and features offered on Maybach models.