The potential customer base for a car that can deliver the sumptuous comfort of a private jet and the performance of a muscle car is likely a small one, but we should be happy that the Mercedes-Maybach S580 has it covered. Wearing the two-tone paint scheme that signals its superiority over the regular S-class—a $14,500 option we suspect most buyers will go for—this XL sedan looks like it should be gently shuttling A-listers between red carpets. Yet it is brutally fast when unleashed, even if doing so would likely cause rear-seat passengers to spill their champagne (from their Maybach-branded flutes).
How fast? During testing, the Maybach S580 blasted its way from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, from rest to 100 mph in 10 seconds flat, and through the quarter-mile in just 12.6 seconds. The V-8 Bentley Flying Spur is slightly quicker, but it is also more obviously aimed at those who drive themselves rather than relax in the back. The Maybach feels like a luxury yacht with the punch of a speedboat—and the forthcoming S680, with its 621-hp V-12, should be even quicker.
Yet even the most demanding plutocrat would find it hard to feel shortchanged by the S580 and its 496-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Performance is delivered without drama—full throttle produces an exhaust note that sounds as if it’s issuing from several towns away. Under more respectful use the engine is almost silent, with the Maybach’s cabin very hushed at cruising speeds. We recorded 64 decibels at a 70-mph cruise, and Maybach’s active noise cancellation effectively suppresses low-frequency road rumble and makes the cabin seem even quieter. The low ambient noise also provides a blemish-free auditory backdrop for the superb 30-speaker Burmeister audio system.
From the driver’s seat, there are no obvious differences between the Maybach and the regular Mercedes S-class. Both cars share the same controls and displays, with a 12.3-inch screen for the instruments that features 3-D rendering. Some of us loved the effect, others immediately switched it back to 2-D. The vast 12.8-inch touchscreen in the center of the dashboard runs the same MBUX UI system as lesser Mercs—and suffers from the same usability issues. It does grow easier to understand with prolonged use, but the need to interact with the screen to adjust heating and ventilation settings requires you to take your eyes off the road. Both the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Flying Spur have much-nicer-feeling physical controls.
It’s when you move to the back that the Maybach turns truly special, combining the room of an extended-wheelbase S-Class—7.1 inches longer than the regular car—with plusher trim. Our test car had been given the sort of full-options workout we suspect few Maybach buyers will be able to resist, albeit one that took its asking price to nearly $230,000.
That tally was boosted by the highest grade MANUFAKTUR leather package ($8000), a refrigerator behind the seats with two clip-in champagne flutes ($4300), and the Executive Rear Seat Plus package, which brings two individually reclinable chairs with fold-out airline style tables in the center console, as well as heated and cooled cupholders ($6000). It also had power-operated rear doors, removing the irksome requirement of physically heaving them open and shut ($1350).
The driving experience is clearly suited to chauffeuring. The Maybach feels bigger and heavier than it actually is, with the soft suspension settings and light steering encouraging gentle use. As in the regular S-class, there are switchable dynamic modes, including a new Maybach one that’s effectively a Comfort Plus setting, delivering truly imperious progress.
Our test car also had the $6500 option of the E-Active body control system, which brings active anti-roll and a Curve dynamic mode that actually leans the car into a corner to reduce the perceived lateral forces, although the bicycle impression felt odd from the driver’s seat. The S580 was impressively pillowy over rougher road surfaces but seemed to struggle to digest freeway expansion joints, thumping over those in a manner unsuited to its price.
Although it offers little encouragement for spirited driving, even in Sport mode, it is possible to hustle the Maybach S580 along at an impressive pace. Our test car rode on Pirelli all-season run-flat tires, enabling 0.91 g of skidpad grip—entirely respectable for a large luxury sedan. Pushed beyond these limits the Maybach defaults to gentle understeer, with no sense of the all-wheel-drive system’s claimed rear-torque bias. More impressive is the low-speed maneuverability enabled by the rear-wheel steering, which helps thread the car through gaps and pull off tight U-turns. Braking performance was respectable at 185 feet from 70 mph, although that is 17 feet longer than the Flying Spur V-8 managed, also on all-season tires.
The Maybach’s 48-volt hybrid system doesn’t appreciably add to performance, but it does boost fuel economy, with a respectable 18-mpg EPA overall rating that amounts to 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. We averaged 19 mpg in mixed driving.
While the Bentley Flying Spur is more athletic, and the similarly sized but more expensive Rolls-Royce Ghost projects more VVIP presence, the Mercedes-Maybach S580 feels like an entirely justified addition to the top of the luxury-sedan segment. It builds on the strengths of the already-excellent S-class, albeit at a substantial premium. Just make sure you specify the exclusive two-tone paint, lest onlookers think you settled for the mere Benz.
2022 Mercedes-Maybach S580 4Matic
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $185,950/$227,900
Options: Obsidian Black upper and MANUFAKTUR Diamond White lower paint, $14,500; MANUFAKTUR leather package, $8000; E-Active body control, $6500; executive first-class 4-seat configuration w/folding rear tables, heated and cooled rear cupholders, $6000; refrigerator rear console and Maybach champagne flutes, $4300; rear electric comfort doors, $1350; Piano Lacquer Flowing Lines interior trim, $1300
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 243 in3, 3982 cm3
Power: 496 hp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 516 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.6-in vented disc/14.2-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero All Season Run Flat
255/40R-20 101H M+S Extra Load MOE-S
Wheelbase: 133.7 in
Length: 215.3 in
Width: 75.6 in
Height: 59.4 in
Passenger Volume: 127 ft3
Trunk Volume: 12 ft3
Curb Weight: 5422 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.1 sec
100 mph: 10.0 sec
1/4-Mile: 12.6 sec @ 112 mph
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.0 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.6 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 128 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 185 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.91 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 19 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 18/15/24 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
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Source: Reviews - aranddriver.com