First Drive: The Mercedes Maybach S580 Is Essentially a Yacht on Wheels
With a hidden champagne chest, adjustable fragrance settings and other opulent conveniences, Mercedes’ latest luxobarge is truly something special.
There’s nothing particularly common about an $111,000 S-Class, but some people want more. That’s what the Mercedes-Maybach S580 is for. Even with an all-optional price hovering around $230,000, it’s safe to say Mercedes’ luxobarge gets its money’s worth. Here’s why:
A yacht on wheels
Generally, large limos from Rolls-Royce and Bentley appear as a formidable presence on the road, and there’s no denying that the Maybach S580 is too.
But it also shows some executive restraint, borrowing most of its exterior design cues from its S-Class sibling. There are a few extra chrome bits popping up here and there, along with the plethora of illuminated Maybach logos around the car. 20-inch one-piece style wheels are standard, and the two-tone paint option costs an extra $12,750.
The meticulous painting process justifies the high cost. The robotic arms first paint the whole body in the bottom color, then the parting line is painted by hand. Finally, the lower part is wrapped and the coating of the roof, bonnet and rear is applied manually by Maybach’s expert painters.
Up front, the rather compact S-Class grille is replaced by a giant radiator-style grille. Thanks to its seven-inch longer wheelbase, the “comfort” rear doors are also larger. They are opened and closed electronically, either by touching the retractable door handles, an interior roof switch or the infotainment touchscreen.
The C-pillar is considerably straighter, ensuring there’s plenty of headroom where it really matters for VIPs, at the rear.
Usually, the front of the cabin amenities gets all the attention. However, when it comes to ultra-luxury limos, chauffeured driving is the norm, so the rear compartment is massive.
The level of comfort is on par with that of a private jet. Everything inside screams luxury, from the design to the materials and the overall vibe.
Take the back seats. You don’t just get a headrest to relieve your neck tension, you also get a head pillow attached in front of the headrest. The S580 has another set of leather-wrapped pillows at the bottom of the seats, where your calves rest. These can be extended to stretch your legs in multiple positions.
Reach for the right door panel and, with the push of a button, the front seat moves forward as far as possible and folds down to provide incredible space in the back. Press the next button on the door handle and the rear seat goes into a reclining position.
A hidden compartment reveals itself from the center console separating the two rear seats, revealing four cupholders: two for champagne flutes ($3,200 a pair) and two for regular goblets (not included). And they have their own climate controls. Push a button and the cupholders will turn red or blue, depending on whether you want to cool or heat your drink. There are also USB chargers and climate controls for the cabin, placed above the cupholders.
The touch screens positioned on the front seat backrests allow passengers to control all aspects of the vehicle: radio station, navigation destination, air conditioning, telephone calls, even fragrance settings. It is truly a car for the passenger first and then for the driver.
The rear console also includes foldable trays that extend and swivel for use with a laptop or diary. The small screen at the base of the console actually pops up, turning into a mini tablet for another interface with which to control the conveniences of the S580.
As expected, the Maybach S580 brings the highest quality materials all around the interior. The interior configuration choices are basically limitless, both in terms of technology and upholstery. Even the very small handful of plastic parts are pleasant to the touch.
From the driver’s seat
The 2022 Maybach S580 is powered by the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from the S-Class. Although it weighs 472 pounds more than the S-Class, the S580 is still capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.7 seconds thanks to a sports launch mode.
The accelerator pedal is soft and the nine-speed automatic gearbox shifts at low revs to optimize graceful movement. The air suspension pushes for the utmost comfort no matter where you sit in the car. Even the brakes are more progressive than those of the S-Class, so as not to disturb your sips of coffee when approaching red lights.
Even the extended wheelbase is no problem for this sedan. The rear wheels are capable of 10 degrees of opposite lock. Basically, turn the steering wheel to lock it and the S580 will have a turning radius more like the C-Class than a stretch limo.
Seamless is how to describe the feel of start-stop technology in the S580. Without the dashboard notifications, you would hardly know if the engine is running or not.
Driver stress and fatigue are kept under control with Mercedes’ wide range of passive and active assistance systems. While most cars would start to act erratically when encountering poorly marked lane lines, damaged road signs or unfamiliar construction zones, the Maybach S580 can simply be trusted to keep going. It will not trigger erratic or unhuman movements in any way, regardless of all the hectic situations it faced in testing.
The Maybach S580 can be configured to fetch over $230,000, more than $100,000 less than the competing Rolls Royce Ghost. But this price is still high.
However, what you get for the money spent can hardly be put into words. The only proper way to witness the refinement, luxurious whisper of the Maybach S580’s flawless, elite technology is to find yourself driven in one.
Tags: Luxobarge limousine luxury luxury cars Mercedes Mercedes-Maybach Rides Test Rides