2018 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S650 new car reviews

Perhaps third time is the charm for Maybach? The German brand first built cars from 1919 until World War II, with Daimler Benz reintroducing the nameplate as a premium brand to showrooms in 2002. Due to poor sales, that effort was dead a decade later.

Now the nameplate is being attached to the top-tier Mercedes-Benz S-class sedans. Unlike the previous run, these still retain that familiar Mercedes-Benz face. The bodywork has been stretched, though, giving those all-important passengers much-needed legroom.

The introduction on the Mercedes-Maybach website pretty much says it all:

No detail overlooked. Or underachieved.
A Mercedes-Maybach expands the pleasures of motoring to new dimensions. Its lengthened wheelbase heightens your comfort. Exquisite appointments reach beyond accommodating. More than distinctive, it's travel in one of its most distinguished forms.

So, basically, it’s an alternative to a private jet–meaning lots of pampering for those in the back. We’re talking about things way beyond TV screens and HVAC controls for rear seat passengers. The Maybach can be ordered with reclining, massaging seats, folding-away tables and the cutest pillows you have ever seen. Soft-Close Doors come standard.

Two versions of this new Maybach are available: The all-wheel-drive S 560 4Matic gets a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 that produces 463 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. Starting price is $168,600. Then there’s the rear-wheel-drive, twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V12 S 650: 621 horsepower and 738 lb.-ft. of torque.

Our test car was the latter. The base MSRP is $198,700 and, somewhat surprisingly, few options boosted the final tally. The biggest add-on was $3900 for the forged wheels.

Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

Look, I’m never going to have $209,000 to spend on a car, and if I do, it’s going to have a roll cage. That said, I do kind of “get” the Maybach S650. It’s evidence that all excess is not necessarily wretched. It’s what happens when no one in the development meetings ever says “no.”

First off, it’s got a 6.5-liter twin turbo V12 with 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft or torque. This is because when you’re rich enough, you don’t go places, you simply hit the accelerator and rotate the earth under you while you stay stationary. It’s also got a one-touch button for the right rear seat that turns it into a full-on sleeper lounge by reclining the back and extending a footrest while folding up the front passenger seat into a nice little ball. Presumably it does this whether or not there is a passenger in that front seat because, let’s face it, you can get another guy, but you might not be able to get another nap any time soon with your busy schedule.

Likely few of the people actually buying these cars give a hoot about how they drive, because usually that will be some redshirt’s job, but little do they know they’re actually missing out a bit. The new Maybach is built on a Mercedes S-Class chassis, after all, and they retain the same feeling of engagement that many German sedans—even 2.5-ton ones—enjoy.

From the stretched back lounge area, though, none of this seems to matter. Although the S650 has entertainment screens behind both seats with a host of apps and connectivity options, there’s plenty enough room to stage actual live performances, which we think is what most owners will opt for. Accommodations are thorough and well thought out, from the velvet-lined monocle holder, to the button that takes away a single mom’s food stamps and gives them to the CEO of a for-profit prison corporation.

Look, I'm saying you could do worse. Few people are ever going to have the chance to ride in any of the Maybach’s four comfy seats, but it’s kind of cool that such an audacious, moon-shot spectacle of a car exists in any sort of mass-production environment. That it works as a car and not just a rolling PR stunt is a testament to good engineering as well.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I don’t think this one is aimed at those combing craigslist for a deal on a used Miata. If you want the very best and can afford it, then there’s a chance you’ll be cross-shopping this against a Rolls-Royce or Bentley. You’re not looking at the payment.

For those of us who do search craigslist for used Miatas, the Maybach is still an impressive place to park your butt for a few. Totally silent. Perfectly weighted controls. Every comfort and convenience possibility. And, of course, all the torque.

My wife spent more time in the all-important back seat, so here are her impressions:

With a car as luxurious as the Maybach, one cannot simply ride in the passenger seat like a normal couple. One must crawl in the back to savor the luxury offered by the leather throw pillows, heated/cooling seats, and individual screens for each back seat occupant–complete with headphones so as not to disturb those around you. Thanks to the space, you could have your own party in the back. Of course, the front seats, with the various massage/heating combinations, is not to be outdone either. There is so much to enjoy with the Maybach there just wasn't enough time to use all it had to offer.

And my impressions from the driver seat:

It’s everything that I like about the larger Benzes. It’s not a Miata, but as a large car it excels. That’s the mission here: It’s a giant, opulent car for chauffeuring around someone of means and/or importance.

The V12 engine carries the status for that job, but upon reflection I think that I prefer the V8’s engine—or, rather, I favor its nine-speed transmission. Either way, you’re getting a ton of power. I just felt that the V8 driveline had a smoother gearbox. A few times I felt the V12’s seven-speed box pause or stumble for a nanosecond.

While you can order a Maybach with a V8—I know, the sacrilege—the Maybach’s diamond-quilted interior was a bit much for me. I felt like I was driving a handbag. And the exterior looks, at least with those wheels, was a bit garish.

So, what’s the answer? If I had the coin and the need for a Big Benz, I’d do an AMG S63 Sedan—and it starts at only $147,500. Despite four less cylinders, its numbers are close to the Maybach’s: 603 horsepower along with 664 lb.-ft. of torque. Zero-to-60 is an impressive 3.4 seconds. (Okay, so a GT3 Porsche is still two-tenths quicker, but it still beats either Maybach by at least a full second–important when you’re important.)

I just built up an AMG S 63 Sedan with what I’d consider to be some reasonable options and came up with a total price of $166,545.

I’m sure I’d get a good trade-in on that used Miata.

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Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
5/24/18 2:06 p.m.

Honestly when I saw this at the NAIAS in January my thought was 'It's actually pretty good value for less than $200K considering what you're getting'  Not my kind of car, but the back seat is a glorious place to be heading from the board room to you G600.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/18 2:22 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

Honestly when I saw this at the NAIAS in January my thought was 'It's actually pretty good value for less than $200K considering what you're getting'  Not my kind of car, but the back seat is a glorious place to be heading from the board room to you G600.

And that's kind of the point. If you operate in this financial bracket and life situation, yeah, this is what you'd want. 

When I had the press car, I ran into some friends of ours. Their first comment? "We were looking at getting one of these." Yeah, a new Maybach. So people like this do exist. 

Personally, if I had the scratch, I'd do the AMG S-class. All black, of course. :)

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
5/24/18 2:25 p.m.

Incredible car.  

The0retical
The0retical UltraDork
5/24/18 2:29 p.m.

Man I'd have spent the day with the staff shuttling each other between Krystals.

The interior details are stunning.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/18 2:29 p.m.

And a PS to my post. We discussed what they'd cross-shop against the Maybach. Their answer without hesitation: a Bentley. But the Maybach is a way better deal, and they've always had Benzes. Also a consideration, she added: Porsche Panamera. 

 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/24/18 2:29 p.m.

We've been using a car service to drive us the 90 miles into Atlanta for business travel lately. It's only about $40 more than 2 tickets on the bus shuttle, and they'll pick you up at home. Plus, the luxury...

They're using a Genesis G90 5.0. The back seat has about 75% of the features on the Maybach - reclines, but not as far, has the collapsing front seat controls, stretch wheelbase, heated/cooled seats (no massage), hvac and media controls, power retractable window shades...

It's a damn nice way to get to the airport. I can't imagine how nice it must be in the Maybach. I considered sending them a link to the article but I'm afraid they might actually buy one and then I couldn't afford to use them any more...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/18 2:31 p.m.
The0retical said:

Man I'd have spent the day with the staff shuttling each other between Krystals.

The interior details are stunning.

Sadly I didn't take this one to Waffle House. I took the AMG 63 Coupe to one.

My wife and I did play the "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" game while out with the Maybach.

We wound up at Panera. 

grover
grover HalfDork
5/24/18 2:45 p.m.

I’ve seen a few of these around, used to see the old style more often.  Wasn’t the old one also an S class that had been changed up? All things considered though, I do think it’s going to do well. 

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
5/24/18 3:42 p.m.

By the time I can pop down to the dealer and get something in this class I'll be an empty nester which makes that back seat kind of useless. It would be fantastic for mid day naps at the track though. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
5/24/18 7:49 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

By the time I can pop down to the dealer and get something in this class I'll be an empty nester which makes that back seat kind of useless. It would be fantastic for mid day naps at the track though. 

MB really does owe you one. Considering the amount of press you got for the R63, it should be enough leverage to convince them to loan you a Maybach for One Lap next year. 

Mike
Mike SuperDork
5/27/18 8:54 a.m.

I keep looking at a Maybach 57. At the bottom end, I could swing one, but there are two problems.

First, the maintenance costs, with expensive consumables, and expensive non-consumables. Almost everything is bespoke. There's a video on YouTube about a wrecked one that needs a $20k left rear door. If I recall, the alternator is water cooled and most of the size of a Smart engine.

The second, and bigger problem is opportunity cost. I'd love to wait about, and to have something so incredibly special, but the $40-50k luxury car needs to handle if it's going to earn it's parking space. I should fill that spot with a used Panamera, or an SS, or something with an M, AMG, or even a Polestar badge. 

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