The Car Connection Maybach 62 Overview
The Maybach story started back in 1889, but its modern revival came at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show, when a Benz Maybach concept car relaunched the idea of a super-luxury sedan for the Daimler corporation, one above and beyond the already-luxurious Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Thus was born the Maybach line, including the 57 and 62. The larger of the two, the 62 was also the more prestigious, despite both Maybach models sharing their structural and mechanical cores with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Intended as a chauffeur-driven car, the Maybach 62 targeted executives, politicians, and the independently wealthy.
Under the hood of the large Maybach 62 sits a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 engine rated at 543 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The potent engine imparted brisk acceleration to the bulky sedan, but was paired to a five-speed automatic transmission that harbored no pretenses toward a sporty nature.
In addition to the standard Maybach 62, two other variants were available. The retractable-roof Maybach 62 Landaulet was produced in exceedingly limited numbers, but offered true head-of-state style; the Maybach 62 S was likewise even rarer than the standard 62, offering an upgraded engine with 603 horsepower on tap, though the suspension specification wasn't changed from the standard model's dual-control air suspension setup. A Zeppelin package was also available, launched at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. The Zeppelin package added unique beige and black leather with custom stitching, piano-black lacquer trim, and namesake silver Zeppelin champagne glasses. The Zeppelin's engine was also upgraded to 640 horsepower.
What defined the Maybach range wasn't the size or styling, or even the powerful V-12 engine, however. It was the luxurious interior and wide range of customizable options. Built from 2002-2012 for U.S. sale, the Maybach 62 offered four-zone climate control, DVD and satellite TV entertainment through two rear-mounted LCD screens, automatic closing doors, and more. An external communications system (basically, an intercom much like you'd find on the front gate of the owner's estate) was available as an option, as was a retractable partition located between the front and rear halves of the compartment, for when the rear-seat occupants might desire a little more privacy.
Ultimately, while the Maybach 62 was a study in excess, its sales and cachet never managed to establish a foothold in a market long dominated by Rolls-Royce and Bentley, causing Daimler to announce in late 2011 that it would discontinue the brand by 2013. To clear out lingering inventory, Maybach announced in 2012 that it would take up to $100,000 off the price of unsold cars, bringing the $427,000 retail price down to simply stratospheric, rather than orbital.
That might not be the final word for Maybach, however, at least as a name--rumors say Mercedes-Benz may apply the Maybach moniker to a stretched version of the S-Class due to reach the market in mid-2015.