Time, misfortune and unrealistic expectations have conspired over the years to kill the Maybach marque, but it just won’t die. The latest attempt to revive the luxury automaker, under the banner of a new Mercedes-Maybach nameplate, was put on display Wednesday at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The vehicle is essentially a rebadged version of the Mercedes S600 flagship sedan.
In years preceding World War II, the Maybach company, which had a factory in Friedrichshafen, Germany, produced a limited number of extremely high-end luxury automobiles now considered classics. But the war was not kind to Maybach, which had switched to tank engine production during those years. The company never recovered enough to make another automobile.
In 1960, Daimler-Benz bought what was left of Maybach and produced some custom-made Mercedes cars bearing the once-mighty name. A full-on attempt by Daimler to resurrect the marque as its luxury halo line for the 2003 model year had fizzled by 2010, after the marque’s annual sales dropped below 100 for the second year.
The 2015 Mercedes-Maybach S600 represents the latest attempt. Mercedes says the car is scheduled to hit the market in April 2015 and will cost about $200,000.
The model exhibited here seemed to offer luxury comparable to Bentley, but a click below a Rolls-Royce. The expectation seems to be that a significant number of them can be sold in America and China. Indeed, the vehicle was introduced here almost at the same moment it was shown to audiences at another auto show in Guangzhou, China.
“The history of prestige vehicles made by Daimler extends back to the earliest days of the motorcar; we have now commenced a new chapter with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class,” Ola Källenius, a Mercedes board member, said in introducing the vehicle. “As an addition to the portfolio of S-Class sedans, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sets new standards in the luxury segment. The vehicle satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of exclusivity, appointments and comfort.”
It is an S-Class sedan stretched by about eight inches. On the outside, there is scant difference between a Maybach and a Mercedes.
The company said that the S600 would be the first of several vehicles in a new Mercedes-Maybach “subbrand.”
The company said Mercedes-Maybach would provide a higher level of luxury to certain Mercedes vehicles, while the AMG division, ranked alongside Maybach as a subbrand, would continue to emphasise performance.
Even though Maybach will be more about opulence than performance, the Maybach version of the S600 will be powered by a twin-turbo, 6-litre V12 that produces 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque.
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