"Hindsight is 20/20" is a handy yet disingenuous cliché. The flaw is that hindsight is only instructive up to the moment you would have made a different, perhaps better, decision. At the moment of that deviation the past goes in another direction, one that you can't peer back into because you didn't experience it.So when we say we wish Karl Benz's eponymous firm had produced the Mercedes-Maybach S600 in 2002 instead of the gilded blunder of the separate Maybach brand and its 57 and 62 sedans, we just can't know if the formula would have worked 13 years ago. But we do know the formula adds up superbly right now.A little history: Wilhelm Maybach helped Gottlieb Daimler build a high-speed, four-stroke internal combustion engine in 1885. Eventually Maybach went to work for Daimler's new car company and designed the first Mercedes, the 1901 35-hp model considered the world's first modern car. Maybach left the company after Daimler's death, started a company building zeppelins, then joined his son to start the Maybach car company. Together they developed super luxury cars including the DS8 Zeppelin models that competed with Rolls-Royce. A reviewer in 1933 wrote, "The Maybach Zeppelin models rank among the few cars in the international top class. They are highly luxurious, extremely lavish in their engineering and attainable only for a chosen few." It's a whopping 28 inches shorter than the departed Maybach 62, but 8.2 inches longer than a standard S-Class.As is this Maybach S600. It's a whopping 28 inches shorter than the departed Maybach 62, but since it's 8.2 inches longer than a standard S-Class, there's a very different driving experience. Two-thirds of a foot isn't much, but the Maybach is 639 pounds heavier than an S550, or 231 pounds heavier than a standard S600. From the driver's seat we could feel every additional pound and inch over those other models. It is as if Mercedes threw out the aluminum and steel and chiseled this sedan from basalt. We've driven scanty few cars where we've been genuinely glad for blind-spot detection and 360-degree cameras – this is one of them.The Maybach's wheelbase is four inches longer than that of a Bentley Mulsanne, even though the overall car is almost five inches shorter than the Big B. That long wheelbase translates into tranquil steering response – the S550, S600, and Maybach S600 all have the same 2.3 turns-to-lock, but this sedan feels like it takes more effort.It even looks heavy. The S550 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, the S600 with 19-inchers. The Maybach S600 hunkers close over Goodyear Eagle F1 rubber, 245/40R20 in front, 275/35R20 in the back, wrapped around 20-inch, polished dinner plates that are a $3,900 option – not the prettiest wheels, but the "correct" wheels, as editors Ewing and Gluckman say. All that length between the wheels, the extra eight inches all in the rear without any extra height, the nearly solid discs – they visually represent at least two of the definitions of "gravity." In …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||14 City / 21 Hwy|
|Power||523 @ 4900 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.