Maybach, We Hardly Knew Ye (Or Cared, Really)

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

It seemed like such a wonderful idea: build a car that combined the styling of the Hyundai XG300, albeit without some of the more tasteful details of that model, and the interior of the thoroughly-reviled W220 S-Class, albeit with carved-wood buttons. Drop a twin-turbo V-12 and some retractable curtains in it. Paint it in two-tone schemes that wouldn’t have passed muster of a ’78 d’Elegance, and charge three hundred grand for it. Oh yeah, name it after a car nobody remembers, just to make absolutely certain there’s no brand equity. Thus was the Maybach born.

And this is how it dies: with a whimper, at the feet of the S-Klasse whose shadow it could never completely escape.

Quoth Bloomberg,

Daimler AG will shut down its super- luxury Maybach brand when a revamped version of the flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes to market in 2013.

“It would not make sense to develop a successor model,” Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in remarks confirmed by Daimler spokesman Marc Binder. “The coming S-Class is in such a way a superior vehicle that it can replace the Maybach.”

Daimler hasn’t made a profit on the Maybach since it decided to reintroduce the 1930s-era marque in 2002, Zetsche said.

Perhaps this will help explain why. This is a Maybach 57S:

This is a Mercedes S350 Bluetec:

One of those cars costs $91,300. The other one costs $372,500. See if you can get your wife/girlfriend/whatever to understand which one costs more and why that is the case. Oh yeah, let’s throw one more contender into the pot:

That was kind of a cheap shot, I admit.

The Maybach wasn’t entirely without merit. The engines were astonishing (although you could get them in the S-Class) and the interior quality was largely in keeping with the price. In the long run, however, selling a tarted-up pastiche S-Class for Rolls-Royce money didn’t make any sense. Goodnight, Maybach.

Full disclaimer, modern blog style: My future sister-in-law, Catherine Plant, was once paid to dress up in a very shimmery outfit and burst out of the Maybach 62’s sunroof at a Mercedes-Benz reveal party back in 2002 or thereabouts. At the time, she was working as a model and magician’s assistant, and somehow that led to this weird thing where they pulled the cover off the 62 very dramatically and had her burst out of the top while not bursting out of her own top. I attended the party, ate two light snacks, and was heard to remark, “They should have left the cover on it.” This remark was later on construed to mean that Ms. Plant should have been left to die in the car. We are currently not speaking.

Jack Baruth
Jack Baruth

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  • Tced2 Tced2 on Nov 27, 2011

    Another market in which Diamler has failed. economy (Smart). volume (Chrysler division). super-luxury (Maybach). I wonder what else they will try?

  • Dave M. Dave M. on Jan 14, 2012

    Nothing sounds more like luxury than someone clearing their throat. 6 weeks late to the comment party: OMG that is tooooooo funny!!! When I hear my German co-worker speak native to her mom on the phone, I wonder how that country ever re-populates. And smooth talking France next door. All said, a black A8 with tinted windows to me is pure class.

  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
  • Lou_BC "That’s expensive for a midsize pickup" All of the "offroad" midsize trucks fall in that 65k USD range. The ZR2 is probably the cheapest ( without Bison option).
  • Lou_BC There are a few in my town. They come out on sunny days. I'd rather spend $29k on a square body Chevy
  • Lou_BC I had a 2010 Ford F150 and 2010 Toyota Sienna. The F150 went through 3 sets of brakes and Sienna 2 sets. Similar mileage and 10 year span.4 sets tires on F150. Truck needed a set of rear shocks and front axle seals. The solenoid in the T-case was replaced under warranty. I replaced a "blend door motor" on heater. Sienna needed a water pump and heater blower both on warranty. One TSB then recall on spare tire cable. Has a limp mode due to an engine sensor failure. At 11 years old I had to replace clutch pack in rear diff F150. My ZR2 diesel at 55,000 km. Needs new tires. Duratrac's worn and chewed up. Needed front end alignment (1st time ever on any truck I've owned).Rear brakes worn out. Left pads were to metal. Chevy rear brakes don't like offroad. Weird "inside out" dents in a few spots rear fenders. Typically GM can't really build an offroad truck issue. They won't warranty. Has fender-well liners. Tore off one rear shock protector. Was cheaper to order from GM warehouse through parts supplier than through Chevy dealer. Lots of squeaks and rattles. Infotainment has crashed a few times. Seat heater modual was on recall. One of those post sale retrofit.Local dealer is horrific. If my son can't service or repair it, I'll drive 120 km to the next town. 1st and last Chevy. Love the drivetrain and suspension. Fit and finish mediocre. Dealer sucks.
  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.