MERCEDES-BENZ plans to develop the dormant Maybach brand as its luxury arm, in the same way AMG is Mercedes’ performance division. The first S-class Maybach, due in 2015, adds a fourth wheelbase to the S-class offering, with an additional extra-long wheelbase for the 2016 Pullman. And there’s a chance it’ll come to Australia, despite being built primarily for the Chinese and Russian markets.
“The current long wheelbase version of the new S Class is doing very well here, and while the regular car is still popular, buyers are starting to shift to the longer car,” said Mercedes Australia spokesperson Jerry Stamoulis. “So an even longer, more premium car could do very well in Australia and attract new customers. But we’ll have to wait to see a final production version before making a decision.”
To distinguish the Maybach from lesser S-class models, the sedan gets a unique and more formal roofline and window treatment, with a third side window in the D-pillar, behind the rear door. The Maybach will also have a more premium interior with a higher seating position in the rear.
Maybach, Mercedes once stand-alone, ultra-luxury variant aimed directly at Rolls-Royce, was discontinued in 2012 after building just 3000 cars in the decade after it was revived in 2002.
“Look pricing played a key role in the number of vehicles we tried to sell,” said Stamoulis – hinting the new Maybach won’t be priced as a Rolls Royce rival.
Alongside the S-class Maybach, Mercedes plans a super-luxury long wheelbase version of the next generation GL SUV, due in 2017-2018. Rumours of a Maybach E-class are denied by insiders, who suggest Maybach variants will be reserved for absolutely top end models.
“You’ve only got to look at the GL63 and the increases in total GL sales to see there’s a market for a bigger, more luxurious SUV,” said Stamoulis. “So there’s a possibility for both areas of the market in sedan and SUV.”
While a high-end Maybach SUV would have no current rivals, Mercedes see it going up against cars like the upcoming Bentley SUV due in 2016.