Test Drive: 2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560

Courtesy Mercedes

With footrests, in-seat massages, and diamond-quilted leather, we’re in for a smooth ride.

I’m in a car I don’t want to drive and I’m loving it. I’m sitting in the back seat of the 2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560 and I’ve just extended the footrest so my legs are comfortably raised. I have convinced a colleague to play chauffeur and I’m slipping away from the World Trade Center in the downtown Financial District of Manhattan like a man who has made a killing on the Street. The seat is diamond-quilted leather. A pillow has my back.

There are still executive decisions to be made, however. There are six massage modes to choose among but after a moment’s deliberating, I realize there is no need to choose just one, so I cycle through them all during the course of the drive up West Side Highway, leaving the “refresh” option for last. The pop-up trays are handy if I wanted to use my laptop to plug into the wider world, but I’m still considering the interior lighting options: it takes a while to decide among the 64 color options, but the Burmeister audio system plays soothing music while I deliberate further. My faux chauffeur, meanwhile, is marveling at the heated armrests.


Courtesy Mercedes

The West Side Highway isn’t the smoothest road in New York City but if there has been a ripple in the ride, I didn’t notice. The AWD Maybach uses cameras to scan the road ahead to detect oncoming bumps and adjust the suspension accordingly. The chassis also tilts into turns, thereby reducing the centrifugal forces felt by passengers on sharp curves.

I switch places with my temporary Jeeves to discover the chauffeur’s job is pretty sweet. There is a biturbo V8 engine under the hood controlled by a nine-speed automatic transmission that zips from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 130 mph. And for a vehicle that is almost 18 feet long, the Maybach drives like a getaway car, nimbly whisking in and out of corners. Just how fast I’m driving is at times determined by the car itself: speed is adjusted automatically when heading into curve or approaching an intersection. And just tapping the indicator stalk initiates a lane change once the car’s sensors have determined it’s safe to do so. The car also brakes itself if necessary. Touch control buttons on the steering wheel respond to swiping motions like with a smartphone so I control the multimedia system without ever having to take my hands off the wheel.


Courtesy Mercedes

The exterior is thoroughly modern in its design, eschewing any cues to the Maybach’s storied history as a standalone luxury brand. But the Maybach badging inside and out still gives this new version of the car a special flavor. I’m now driving around the rich rustic lanes of Greenwich, Connecticut like a real-estate mogul. I’m ready to hop back into the rear seat but I can see in the rear-view mirror my Jeeves doesn’t want his old job back. The comfort has overwhelmed him; he’s taking a nap. As driven: $180,545. mbusa.com