According to its makers, the Mercedes-Maybach S 600 is the car that lays to rest the ghost of the failed stand-alone Maybach project and arrives as the most luxurious, comprehensively equipped and refined S-class ever.
As such, it has been substantially re-engineered and is longer, taller and more spacious than even the long-wheelbase S-class, gaining 207mm in length (allowing 159mm more knee-room) and 2mm in height. Despite that modest latter figure, headroom increases by 12mm thanks to the way the new layout plays out. The cabin can also be trimmed in a wide variety of leathers, woods, roofliners and stitch arrangements, and all without pushing up the list price.
The list of luxuries is long and - inevitably - focused on enhancing passenger comfort while the chauffeur (who is one of the few items not available as standard but will almost inevitably be installed post-delivery) focuses on getting from A to B. Selected highlights include air-conditioned, heated and massaging seats, armrests that can be warmed, a system to pump scented, ionised air around the cabin and a 1540-watt Burmester 3D surround sound system with 24 speakers.
There is also the so-called First Class Cabin option. Other than more opulent paint colours, this is the only other cost option available, at £7200, and swaps the three-seat rear bench for two individual seats, which can recline to 43.5deg. Alongside these seats is a central armrest with inset tables, temperature-controlled cupholders, silver-plated champagne flutes and a refrigerated compartment.
Behind the wheel, you inevitably feel the extra length of the car over a standard S-class, as well as the additional 120kg or so of weight from the enlarged body structure and equipment list, but this only slightly dulls the qualities that earned the standard S-class a five-star road test verdict.
Ultimately, all the key attributes remain: the Mercedes-Maybach steers predictably, body roll is well controlled and the ride and refinement are superb. Somewhat laughably, there is a Sport button - demanded by owners, apparently - but this is not a car in which to hussle along; wafting is the only sensible option, and it does this very well indeed.
The twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 is the only engine available in the UK, and lacks nothing in performance or smoothness of delivery. From 1900rpm, progress is swift and silky smooth, despite the substantial 2335kg weight of the car. The seven-speed automatic gearbox's shifts are barely perceptible.
Despite the ominous appearance of quad exhaust pipes and 'V12' lettering on the front wings, the engine need never be heard; Mercedes describes the Maybach as the world’s quietest production saloon car, and it may well be right.
Cabin style and quality can be a subjective assessment, but there’s nothing that would give owners of top-end nameplates from rivals anything at which to cock an eyebrow. Rear seat space and comfort are exceptional, as is the material fit and finish.
The level of technology to improve your life - ranging from the variety of seating positions to the onboard entertainment systems - is top notch and, in parts, eclipses what’s available on cars costing twice as much.
For some, however, that will appeal, and the levels of space, comfort and technology are top notch. Odd though it may sound to say it, the Maybach is very good value when you consider the standard kit list and non-cost options against rivals.
All in, this is a very capable car with an exceptional rear seat experience that is being sold at a well judged price. It deserves to do well, and Maybach can unquestionably stand proud again.
Mercedes-Maybach S 600
Price £165,700; 0-62mph 5.0sec; Top Speed 155mph; Engine V12, 5980cc, petrol; Power 523bhp at 4900rpm; Torque 612lb ft at 1900rpm; Kerb weight 2335kg; Gearbox 7-spd automatic; Economy 24.1mpg; CO2 274g/km, 35%