MaybachNew Cars > Maybach
When the ultra-luxury Maybach sedan went on sale in 2003, few people realized that the Germany company had a history reaching back more than 80 years. That's because the Maybach nameplate disappeared when World War Two broke out, and did not return until the 21st century.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Maybach was well known as one of the elegant marques in the world. Karl Maybach, who founded the company, was the son of Wilhelm Maybach, an engineer who had developed the first Mercedes automobile in 1901. Working together, father and son created the Maybach W1 in 1919, as a concept model. A production model, the W3, debuted at the 1921 Berlin auto show with a V-6 engine.
Maybach's next major effort featured a famous name as part of its model designation. Introduced in 1929, the Type Zeppelin DS8 held a 7-liter V-12 engine. Numerous custom bodies were available, to fit atop the Mercedes-Benz chassis, boosting the price to lofty levels as the Great Depression loomed and Germans faced a disastrous financial breakdown. Maybachs often led parades and carried dignitaries. A smaller SW 38 model emerged, before Maybach left the automobile business in 1941.
When the marque reappeared, two closely-related sedans went on sale, each fitted with just about every comfort/convenience feature available. At the time, DaimlerChrysler and Mercedes-Benz were joined together, but the modern-day Maybach was a separate make, not directly tied to either of those companies. The first Maybach arrived in the U.S. via ship, to quite a fanfare when it docked in New York City, in July 2002.
Type 57 was the regular-length model, and Type 62 rode an extended-length chassis. Model designations indicate the car's length in meters: 5.73 meters (18.8 feet) for the Type 57 and 6.17 meters (20.2 feet) for the Type 62. Each model had an Airmatic Dual Control air suspension.
Styling, according to Maybach, balances classic and avant-garde themes, resulting in an "entirely new definition of first class." Doors, fenders, and the hood were aluminum. Inside, dozens of components were trimmed with exotic woods. Maybachs could be equipped with such accessories as a humidor, a golf bag, a special luggage set, and a sterling silver champagne goblet. All four seats were heated, rear seats reclined, and active seat ventilation could be installed. Ten airbags were standard, and prices stood in the $300,000 neighborhood.
Beneath the hood, twin turbochargers sent air into the 5.5-liter V-12 engine, helping it generate 550 horsepower. At the Frankfurt (Germany) motor show in September 2005, Maybach unveiled a 57 S (Special) model, with a 6-liter turbocharged V-12 that produced 612 horsepower-62 more than usual. A firmer suspension was installed on the 57 S, which came with an exclusive monochrome color scheme.
At Maybach's state-of-the-art factory in Germany, only a couple of cars per day were finished. Mercedes-Benz dealers had to sign separate agreements to sell the Maybach brand.
For 2005, new standard equipment included Robbe & Berking beverage flutes and a handcraft umbrella from the Dunhill Collection. A rearview parking-assist camera became available, too. In 2011, the rumor mill sent out messages that the Maybach might soon be discontinued.