1 May 2002
Mercedes-Benz entered its ultra-luxury Maybach long-wheelbase limo range into the fierce and expensive battle for supremacy at the very pinnacle of the world car industry, specifically to take on BMW-owned Rolls-Royce and VW-owned Bentley.
Maybach model names, derive from the length of the cars – thus the 57 is 5.73 metres long. All Maybachs were motivated by a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V12 engine, pumping out 405kW and a monstrous 900Nm of torque.
Also standard were Benz-sourced technologies like electronically controlled air suspension and the electro-hydraulic brake control.
From there, the sky was the limit, Mercedes claiming that only the highest quality materials were used for the interior, along with a host of techno gadgetry as standard equipment including TV tuner, DVD player, CD changer, telephone and a Dolby surround sound system.
Maybach also introduced a new retailing concept for Mercedes-Benz, with customers assigned a personal liaison manager (PLM) to assist them with any questions about the car. Each vehicle was manufactured based on specific customer requirements after styling and fittings discussions with the PLM and Maybach designers and engineers.
In February 2006, an AMG-fettled 57S version landed, featuring an upgraded engine with power and torque outputs of 450kW and an electronically limited 1000Nm, and handled by a beefed-up five-speed automatic gearbox and firmer suspension.
Maybach said the S was aimed at "owner-drivers" as opposed to chauffeured types, and could catapult to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds on the way to a 275km/h V-max – despite weighing in at 2735kg.