February 26, 2009 Maybach is bringing out a reincarnated Maybach Zeppelin to spearhead its luxury saloon model range. The new model, which is receiving its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, will represent the brand in the high-end luxury saloon segment. It will be a successor to the legendary Maybach Zeppelin, which was revered worldwide as one of the ultimate in high-class automotive engineering in the 1930s. The 21st Century model is the most powerful Maybach ever (471 kW/640 hp and a peak torque of 1000 Newton metres) and two models are on offer, the Maybach 57 Zeppelin which costs €406,000 ($521,000 USD) and the Maybach 62 Zeppelin with a price tag of €473,200 ($607,000 USD).

Maybach – a brief history

The first Maybach prototype was built in 1919 by Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH a company founded by Wilhelm Maybach and his son Karl. The company was originally a subsidiary of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH who built the infamous Zeppelin airships. Initial production of the Maybech started in 1921 and between 1921 and 1940, various classic opulent vehicles were built. Maybach contributed to the German war effort (World War ll) by producing the engines for Panther and Tiger Tanks and after the war the factory performed some repair work, but automotive production was never restarted. Today, the brand is owned by Daimler AG and is based in Stuttgart.

In 1997, Mercedes-Benz presented a luxury concept car at the Tokyo Motorshow - the Mercedes-Benz Maybach - sporting a V12, 5987 cc, 550 hp engine. Mercedes-Benz later developed the concept under the sole brand name of Maybach going into production in the early 2000s. Two models were produced, the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62, the numbers being equal to the lengths of the automobiles in decimeters. In 2005, the new 57S was added, sporting a 6.0L V12 bi-turbo engine, producing 604 bhp (450 kW) and 737 lbft (999 Nm) of torque.

The new Maybach Zeppelin

The power plant

The Maybach 57 S and the long-wheelbase version, the 62 S, serve as the technical basis for the new model. High performance is delivered in both cases by the 6.0 litre V12 bi-turbo engine delivering 471 kW/640 hp (+ 28 hp) and a peak torque of 1000 Newton meters.

The exterior

The new model can be recognized by its two-tone special paint finish in Rocky Mountains light brown in contrast to the Taiga black. Dark red tail light units and a fine vertical partition in the tailpipe add to the visual touches at the rear. Daimler says that their Maybach customers have the option to specify other paint finish if they wish.

The Maybach Zeppelin’s newly designed 20-inch wheels in a Chrome Shadow finish complete the picture. These were first painted with a black undercoat, before having a silver topcoat applied using a painting process that causes the tone to gradually increase in darkness from the outside in.

The streamlined new exterior mirrors produce even less wind noise than previous models, says Daimler. They have a more angular design and are separated from the door frame by a slender arm, giving them a more expressive look. They also feature an enlarged mirror surface together with integral indicators in the shape of a horizontal “V” for improved safety.

The interior

As you might expect - it's all about luxury. Leather appointments are in California beige and deep Stromboli contrasts with the piano lacquer finish of the trim and the topstitching in the dashboard and on the doors. The seats consist of a diamond quilting pattern on the cushions and backrests together with the black piping and genuine lambskin carpets the floor.

The new models have the center console in the front, the partition screen that is available as an option for the Maybach Zeppelin 62, plus the silver champagne flutes included as standard, marked with the lettering “MAYBACH ZEPPELIN”, while the door sill panels as well as the key ring are engraved with the word “ZEPPELIN”.

Customers are also able to opt for a perfume atomizer that Daimler says is the only one of its kind in the world. The system’s core component is an internally illuminated Plexiglass sphere on the rear center console, into which Maybach Zeppelin owners can insert a vial of their preferred fragrance. A regulator pump then directs a gentle flow of air into the Plexiglass sphere, fanning the vial's perfume molecules into the vehicle interior. The perfume atomizer can be activated either from the driver’s seat or by means of a button in the rear center console, with an additional thumbwheel in the rear for sensitive aroma control. The chosen fragrance wafts into the passenger compartment within ten to twelve seconds. The elaborate system is a patented Maybach innovation.

Being built in a limited edition of just 100 worldwide, the new Maybach Zeppelin goes on sale on 3 March 2009, with the first models expected to be delivered to customers in September 2009.

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