From £277,500
If you can afford it, there is no faster way to be driven so comfortably.

Our Verdict

Maybach 57 2003-2012
Few cars are more luxurious than the Maybach 57, but its appeal is limited

The Maybach 57 is one of the world's most luxurious cars. But at nearly £300k, you could buy two S63 AMGs and still have change

10 December 2005

The standard Maybach 57 was never short of performance. The big German limo might major on comfort – and lots of it – but with a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V12 it also hauls with great enthusiasm.

Still, those with the £253k it takes to enter the rarefied Maybach ranks are clearly a demanding lot, so the upmarket Mercedes-Benz off-shoot has just launched a new performance version of the 57.

Dubbed the 57S, it offers 61bhp more than the standard 57 at 604bhp, thanks to the twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12 from the S65 AMG.

Yet it is not so much the engine’s colossal power that moulds the 57S’s character, more the seemingly endless reserves of torque. It swells to a peak of 738lb ft at just 2000rpm to provide the Maybach with devastating off-the-line and in-gear acceleration.

Although it carries a vast array of electronic driving aids, the 57S’s engine has more than enough low-end grunt to make the otherwise dignified Maybach light up its rear tyres when you press the throttle against its end plate. Before you do, however, you’ll want to select the five-speed automatic transmission’s manual mode for more rapid shifts and dial up the second of two sport modes for the air suspension to keep body movements reined in.

Despite tipping the scales at a palatial 2735kg, the 57S is capable of hitting 62mph from rest in just 5.0sec and dispatching the 50mph-75mph split in a crushingly rapid 3.7sec. Top speed is limited to 171mph, though there’s little doubt that the limousine would haul beyond 200mph when left to its own devices.

Still, for all the straight-line heroics, the 57S can’t bend the laws of physics. On winding roads its size and weight limit the scope of the performance, although it is more responsive and eager than the standard 57 in tight corners.

Among the measures taken to tie the fastest Maybach down are 15mm-lower suspension, firmer springs and dampers, and beefed-up anti-roll bars. Also included are 20-inch wheels with 275/40 tyres.

Despite the Maybach’s creature comforts, vast interior space and time-warp acceleration, at £290k you’d probably be better off with the new S500 LWB and an SL55 AMG. Then again, if you can afford the Maybach, you’d probably have all three.

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