From £318,285

The Maybach 62 is the car you never knew you wanted. And starting at £320,000 when new, few will be able to park one on their driveway (which, incidentally, will have to be a minimum of 6.2 metres long to accommodate the aptly named 62).

The standard 62 is an imposing model but for another £47,000 – the price of a Mercedes CLS – the 62 S packs an additional 62bhp, cutting the 0-62mph time by 0.2sec to 5.2sec.

Other changes include a revised grille, new wheels and modified light clusters. The interior is finished in piano black and, get this, carbon fibre – in a car weighing 2855kg. The suspension remains unchanged, as does the restricted top speed.

Maybachs are fabulous to fall asleep in the back of, preposterously fast, fine riding and awesomely refined, but it is still hard to think of them as anything more than very stretched Mercedes S-classes with more powerful engines.

Few would argue that the 62 is an attractive car, and in these days of austerity, it is a symbol of conspicuous consumption few could live with. The stark fact is that, for all its pomp and huge price, it does not feel sufficiently special to warrant a price nearly three times that of the considerably more charming and no slower Bentley Flying Spur.

Where the 62 does feel rather special is inside. Maybach claims there are more than two million possible interior combinations, so given the tiny numbers the company sells, it’s entirely possible that no two 62s are the same.

Grand nappa leather, in 210 separate hand-sewn sections, covers most of the surfaces not trimmed in quality carpet or wood. There are also more than 100 pieces of handcrafted wood trim.

The only Maybach that makes any sense is the standard 62. For a tycoon with an empire that needs running from the back seat of a car, there is none better. That said, putting the more powerful engine into the 57 S has helped improve sales considerably.

Apparently, there will always be a small constituency of people who want the biggest, fastest and most expensive limo money can buy, even if it’s not the best model in the range.

Top 5 Super luxury

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite
  • Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
    First Drive
    23 August 2016
    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • Car review
    23 August 2016
    Can the best sports coupé of the decade absorb a contentious new engine?