- I drove a $224,000 Mercedes-Maybach S650, a super-luxury sedan that was crammed with high-ended features.
- The bling is impressive and impressively expensive, but the Maybach is still a stretched S-Class.
- A stretched S-Class with a 621-horsepower V12 engine, however.
- The Maybach is rather silly, but there’s no question is delivers an ultra-premium passenger experience.
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The Mercedes-Maybach S650 is, alongside the Bentley Bentayga, one of the two most exasperating vehicles I’ve ever driven. The Bentayga is a massively overpriced Audi with a Bentley front end and engine, while the Maybach S650 is a massively overpriced S-Class Mercedes with a hulking V12 motor and a glorious interior.
On balance, the Bentley remains the most cynical attempt to extract money from the well-heeled and brand-conscious buyers I’ve ever experienced, while the Maybach is a tad more virtuous because it’s merely silly. The Bentagya filled me with rage, while the Maybach just made me grin and shake my head at the chutzpah.
The Maybach treatment adds over $25,000 to the S-Class’s price tag, and what you get for the cost of a used A220 is gobs and gobs of luxe. I experienced this firsthand when Mercedes loaned me a 2020 Maybach S650, which stickered at $224,125, up from a base of $202,550.
How did we get here? Well, Maybach was a standalone nameplate from the early 2000s until 2013, when a lack of affluent consumer interest led Mercedes parent Daimler to pull the plug. Maybach returned a few years ago, this time as a designation, akin to Mercedes-AMG, the carmaker’s high-performance sub-marque.
Despite the V12, I didn’t find the Maybach S650 any more interesting to drive than other Mercedes, with which I’ve been generally impressed. So I could move on to wallowing in the throwback appointments that strive to put the Maybach in a league with Bentley’s saloons and Rolls-Royce’s road-going yachts.
Here’s a rundown of all the bling: