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New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class lunveiled

This is the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. It’s based on the recently launched seventh- generation S-Class saloon, but features more technology, a more luxurious interior and a restyled exterior – all of which marks it out as the most exclusive model in the German brand’s line-up.

Cosmetic revisions over the standard S-Class include a redesigned radiator grille, a new front bumper, fresh LED headlights and a tweaked rear-end with a more svelte diffuser and twin-exit exhaust system. As an optional extra, buyers can also spec Maybach’s trademark two-tone paint scheme, which is cut at the saloon’s waistline.

Like the outgoing model, the Maybach S-Class will be exclusively available as a long-wheelbase saloon. However, despite sharing the same basic underpinnings as the standard car, it’s a full 18cm longer than the extended wheelbase Mercedes S-Class. Maybach says this gives rear-seat passengers extra space to stretch out.

New Mercedes-Maybach S-Class: interior and technology

Maybach expects most S-Class buyers will have their own chauffeur, rather than drive the cars themselves. In the rear, there’s a pair of 11.6-inch touchscreens which allow the occupants to browse the internet or watch films. There’s also two electrically adjustable, reclining chairs in place of the standard car’s bench seat, both of which feature massaging leg-rests and footrests built into the floor.

Buyers can also spec a refrigerator, which is built into the rear armrest. It can be removed from the vehicle and can chill up to 10 litres of food and drinks to between 1 degrees and 7 degrees celsius. For a bit of added luxury, Maybach also sells a pair of optional silver-plated champagne goblets, which slot neatly into a cubby in the centre console.

However, Maybach hasn’t neglected the driver. Up front, there’s the same 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.8-inch infotainment system as the standard S-Class – but they’re surrounded by finer-quality trim, plusher upholstery and deeper-pile carpets.

New Mercedes-Maybach S-Class: autonomous driving and technology

Like the standard saloon, Mercedes is aiming to roll-out a conditionally autonomous driving mode for the Maybach S-Class in the second half of 2021, which promises to take the strain off the driver and allow them to browse the internet or check their emails using the car’s MBUX infotainment system.

The company’s new Drive Pilot system will be one of the world’s first Level 3 autonomous driving modes, which will be able to assume complete control of the Maybach’s steering, throttle and brakes on designated stretches of motorway without any intervention from the driver. Mercedes says the system will also be able to react to events such as speed limit changes and accidents completely independently.

However, the system comes with a caveat. The driver is constantly monitored using the car’s on-board cameras – and if they seem unresponsive, or spend too much time looking into the rear of the vehicle, the system will pull the car over to the side of the road in a controlled manner and call the local emergency services.

The Maybach’s tech-fest continues with an active road noise compensation system, which works in tandem with the car’s premium Burmester stereo system. It’s similar to noise-cancelling technology on a pair of high-end headphones, with microphones in the cabin picking up low-frequency background noise and feeding a counter-phase version of the sound waves through the car’s speakers.

As an optional extra, buyers can also spec Mercedes’s MBUX interior assist – a system which uses a series of cameras mounted in the roof to recognise the passengers’ eye movements, hand gestures and body language to perform certain interior functions. For example, if a rear-seat passenger reaches for the seat belt, the system will recognise the movement and automatically extend the belt into their hands.

New Mercedes-Maybach S-Class: engines and performance

Engine specs are yet to be confirmed, but Mercedes has suggested that the Maybach S-Class will be available with either an electrically assisted V8 or a V12 powertrain.

The former unit will likely be the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 mild-hybrid engine as the AMG GLS 63, which generates 450kW and 850Nm. The unit will send drive to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox, which houses a compact electric motor that allows the Maybach to “glide” when driving at constant speeds, helping to save a little fuel.

Details on the V12 are equally thin on the ground, but we expect Mercedes will use a tuned version of the twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre unit found in the outgoing Maybach S-Class. The engine produces 463kW and 1,000Nm of torque.

Every car will also come as standard with adaptive air suspension and a “Chauffeur” drive mode setting, which promises to provide gentler acceleration. As an optional extra, buyers can also spec Mercedes’s E-Active Body Control system, which actively leans the car into corners like a motorcycle rider, supposedly providing a more stable ride.

Prices for the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are yet to be announced, however we expect it be to be more than the current version which starts at $445,235 plus on road costs. which places it in the same league as the new Bentley Flying Spur. The order books will be opened in early 2021, with first deliveries expected to arrive towards the end of the year.

Luke Wilkinson

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