Is the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman the Perfect Family Vehicle?
With the minivan now dethroned by sport utility vehicles and crossovers as the king of family transportation, we’ve run into a problem. Larger three-row SUVs can be expensive, while their more affordable counterparts frequently sacrifice cargo space and comfort to accommodate that last row of seats. Another issue is that adults who decided to spawn four children are forced to interact with them during long drives by occupying the same cabin.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if a manufacturer invented a vehicle that could solve most of these problems? Well, some already have. Limousines have been around for ages and it’s ludicrous that they haven’t been co-opted for family use. But, if you’re going to purchase a high-end luxury transport specifically for road trips with the brood, you had better make sure it’s so decadently comfortable and quiet in the back that they can’t help but fall asleep. That’s why the perfect family vehicle is probably the new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman S650.
Granted, the long-wheelbase version of the already lengthened variant of the S-Class isn’t intended for familial use. It’s supposed signal the wealth of overachieving business persons. But exceedingly wealthy parents who think way outside the box might find it worthy of double duty.
Two executive forward-facing seats in the back provide the largest legroom available without converting the rear of a cargo van into a giant bed. The Pullman also has an additional pair of rear-facing seats, allowing for luxurious in-car business meetings or an opportunity for the kids to play UNO. But what if everyone starts screaming and hitting each other? Well, that’s the perfect time to raise the electrically operated partition. Parents will love isolating their noisy children as they pummel each other, and hired drivers will be blissfully unaware of any shady business dealings.
The Pullman focuses primarily on comfort; however, its 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 produces a serviceable 630 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. That’s a colossal increase over its predecessor and is enough to make highway merging a touch easier. Mercedes claims the stretched S650 should hit 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds. That’s almost a second faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe, which I have now decided is the Pullman’s closest rival.
Cheaper and with one extra seat, the Santa Fe appears to offer more than than the €500,000 ($619,000 USD) Maybach on the surface. But it lacks some of the amenities when optioned as a base model and isn’t nearly as spacious in the back. You’ll probably want to go with the Limited Ultimate trim on the Hyundai. But doing so installs second-row captain’s chairs in place of a three-across bench — limiting maximum occupancy to six.
That’s not to suggest sacrifices won’t have to be made if you choose the Pullman. While more comfortable overall, it is fifteen times the price of a fully-loaded Santa Fe. The Maybach’s on-board refrigerator also eats into the vehicle’s trunk space a bit, but there should still be more than enough room for everyone to bring a modestly sized travel bag for weekend excursions.
Rear passengers receive massage-equipped reclining seats, light eliminating drapery, access to the vehicle’s front facing cameras (in case they want to monitor traffic), and the car’s 10,000+ pound curb weight should help it fare well against most larger vehicles in the event of an accident — and you can’t put a price on the safety of your family. While the Pullman pictured boasts a gorgeous silk beige interior, we would recommend going with one of the other Maybach-exclusive colors: magma grey, mahogany brown, or deep sea blue. Darker colors typically hide stains better and kids be spillin’.
Updated to include Mercedes’ new vertical grille (extra thin on Maybachs), and showcased with those sexy 20-inch 10-hole wheels, well-heeled shoppers can also have their Pullman S650 optioned with a tasteful two-tone paint job.
[Images: Daimler AG]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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