The auction of the prestigious Rolls-Royce/Bentley brands by Vickers in 1998 developed into a three-way scrap between German giants. Volkswagen got Bentley and the Crewe factory, BMW the right to produce Rolls-Royce cars, whilst Daimler got… nothing. The words ‘sour’ and `grapes’ spring to mind, but it may be merely coincidence that luxury saloon cars from Daimler’s revived Maybach luxury marque appeared in 2002.
The Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 were direct descendants of the Mercedes-Benz Maybach concept car that was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997.
The base model (if such a term can be applied to a palace on wheels) was the 57, with its 5.5 litre V12 engine. The list of features covers several pages and includes goodies like heated cupholders and massaging seats. Other essentials were voice recognition satnav, remote engine start, a premium sound system controlled from the heated wood, and leather-wrapped steering wheel, powered seats with lumbar adjustment, heated or cooled front seats, leather upholstery throughout, power sunroof, rear-facing camera . . you get the picture. The Maybach 57 S (for ‘Special”) features a 6 litre engine and lower ride height.
The Maybach 62 and 62S make the 57 look, well, rather sparsely equipped. The 62’s goodies require a full chapter — and that’s before getting to optional extras like a retractable glass screen between driver and passengers, a two-way communications system that lets occupants talk to people outside the car without opening a window and the GUARD high-protection package that ensures no head of state will be seen dead in a Maybach.
Evolution versions are the 62 Landaulet (reviving a popular prewar luxury car form), and 57/62 Zeppelin models offering (yes, truly) a more luxurious interior. There is also a highly tuned aftermarket Brabus Maybach.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
5,513 cc or 5,980 cc V12 1Win Turbo
With 6.0 l engine — top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
In a burst of PR extravagance, a Maybach 62 enclosed in a glass case was shipped from Southampton to New York on the liner Queen Elizabeth 2 (with pampered media and company reps for company). Once there, it was lifted ashore by helicopter and driven to the official US launch at a Wall Street hotel.