Mercedes-Benz has announced plans for a long wheelbase Pullman model based on the current generation S-class. The luxurious new six-seat limousine, a traditional favourite of government officials, heads of state and celebrities the world over, is planned to join Merc’s line-up in 2008 at an as-yet-undisclosed price. Based on the S600L Guard – an armoured version of Mercedes’ top-of-the-range saloon, the new car is powered by the same twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine used in the Maybach 57 and 61 models. With a generous 517bhp and 620lb ft of torque, it promises to whisk the big Pullman along in much more immediate fashion than its predecessor, which made do with a naturally aspirated 5.8-litre V12 developing 387bhp and 339lb ft. A generous lengthening of the standard 3165mm wheelbase has brought about major changes to the original S600L’s floorpan, with a series of added reinforcements required to provide necessary stiffness, while the rear door aperture has been redesigned to liberate extra headroom. Inside, there is space for four passengers in the rear compartment in face-to-face seats. Mercedes is not divulging any details to the Pullman’s dimensions, though they are said to be similar to those of Maybach 61 – a car that shares the same engine but owing to its age is not as technically advanced as the new limousine. All of which raises the question: could Mercedes’ decision to bring back the Pullman spell the end of Maybach as it exists today? Since its rebirth in 2002, the upmarket brand has failed to post the sort of sales Mercedes had banked on. Original plans were for 1000 cars per year, and former Mercedes-Benz chairman Juergen Hubbert saying the break-even point for Maybach stood at 800 cars per year. With sales currently running at around half of that, one has to ask whether it makes much sense for Mercedes to create an in-house competitor to the Maybach.