Mercedes stretches the Maybach into limousine form
The Maybach brand may not have survived on its own, but now that it's "Mercedes-Maybach," Daimler sure seems eager to grow the lineup. Following the launch of the very first Mercedes-Maybach at last November's LA Auto Show, the German luxury marque is getting a new halo. Set to launch in early 2016, the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is a stretched ultra-luxury motor car with face-to-face rear seating.
Maybach never developed the cachet of Bentley or Rolls Royce – at least if we're using factors like sales and "staying in business" as measurements of how it was received in the ultra-premium auto segment. Turns out, so it seems, that you can't just create brand prestige by slapping exorbitant prices on ultra-luxury cars.
The one stand-out achievement that Maybach had in relation to its more revered colleagues during its decade-long tenure was introducing some interesting body styles, most notably the 62 S Landaulet, a chauffeured half-convertible body type that had previously been reserved for special vehicles parading dignitaries around streets lined by adoring onlookers. The seven-figure Landaulet didn't do a whole lot to halt Maybach's eventual demise, but it did at least provide a little intrigue to separate Daimler's flagship car brand from its British competition.
With that in mind, it's both surprising and unsurprising that the second car to float under the resurrected Maybach, now Mercedes-Maybach, is a limousine. Daimler explains that the Pullman name was originally used for railway carriages with open-plan compartments manufactured by the American Pullman Palace Car Company and later applied to extra- long-wheelbase, chauffeured versions of Mercedes cars with spacious, four-seat passenger compartments. In fact, the prestigious Mercedes-Benz 600 of the 1960s and 70s was offered in both Pullman (shown in the background in the picture above) and Pullman Landaulet styles.
The new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman stretches out a total of 6,499 mm (21.3 ft), that's 1,053 mm (3.5 ft) farther than the Mercedes-Maybach S600. The Pullman's wheelbase alone stretches 4,418 mm (14.5 ft). That huge sizing opens up room for a spacious lounge in back, with two rows of seats facing each other. The two fully adjustable, reclining executive seats facing the direction of travel are reserved for the "VIPs" because they enjoy the most legroom and easiest ingress/egress. We're sure the two fold-down seats facing the rear of the vehicle aren't exactly uncomfortable, either. Antisocial billionaires and oligarchs can order the Pullman with only the VIP executive seats.
"Quite apart from providing spacious seating in first-class comfort for high-ranking passengers, the new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is of course the embodiment of exclusivity at its highest level," comments Ola Källenius, Daimler AG Management Board member responsible for sales and marketing of Mercedes‑Benz Cars. "One can sense the significance and greatness of it in every detail."
One of those details of "significance and greatness" is a 100-mm (3.9 in) height increase over top the Mercedes S-Class, giving occupants plenty of headroom to go along with their cramp-free legroom. A partition window provides privacy from the driver, and the standard rear-window curtains cloak the passengers from the outside world. The glass partition lowers electrically and adjusts from transparent to opaque at the push of a button.
The Pullman keeps passengers connected with an 18.5-in widescreen monitor in front of the partition and a set of analog instruments in the roof liner showing the outside temperature, speed and time. Audio is delivered by way of a standard surround sound system or an available 3D surround sound system, both from Burmester.
Daimler's press release is surprisingly short on detail about the other standard and available "creature comforts" in the leather cabin – an important consideration for anyone debating dropping €500K (plus the cost of all those personalized options) on the Pullman versus just hiring a driver for a run-of-the-mill Mercedes S-Class. It does specify that the long carriage is pulled by the 530 horses stored in the 6.0-liter V12 biturbo engine. Perhaps it's holding onto a few juicy details for the official Geneva debut. We'll be there to check it out and step inside for a feel of what it's like to be a Fortune 500 CEO or member of a royal family.