BEHIND THE WHEEL/2004 Maybach 57 Swimming in Cash? Your Showboat…

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Maybach 57

BEHIND THE WHEEL/2004 Maybach 57; in Cash? Your Showboat Has In

By Keith Martin

Published: 20, 2003

BEVERLY HILLS, A lot of automakers talk about brand awareness. Mercedes-Benz need to — in the 117 years Karl Benz built his Motorwagen, the company has nurtured one of the brands on the planet.

Isn’t it then, that the company’s new isnt called a Mercedes? You not find the company’s three-pointed a symbol recognized from Hills to Bhutan, anywhere on its The 2004 Maybach is Mercedes’s new into the world of ultraluxury, a realm of $12,000-a-night presidential $15,000 umbrella stands and $20 trips into the heavens. Dennis A. Tito, the pay-to-play who hitched a ride with the to the space station two years has ordered a Maybach from the here.

Despite a stratospheric price of $305,500, the Maybach MY-bock) does not fly. are just two models and a limited of options. The entry-level car, if you is the Maybach 57, so named because of its 5.7 meters, or just under 19 The price, out the door, is at least (including a $3,700 federal tax and $2,500 in shipping). It seats four.

By comparison, the largest Ford, the sport utility, is just an inch longer and 600 pounds seats up to five more, about a quarter-million dollars and, presumably, has a higher capacity. (The Maybach includes no information about

If that’s not enough, you can opt for the Maybach 62, the version, with an overall of 6.2 meters, or more than 20 The additional space is added to the seating area the 62 also only four people and has an price of $363,200. For your $51,500, you get rear seats articulate like those in class on an airliner.

Executives who to make deals in private, or desiring a place to frolic, can get the 62 a partition that separates the from the passengers. The price of option is steep, at $29,500, but an is included. Another option on the 62 is an glass roof that either natural or artificial by applying voltage to liquid-crystal It costs $14,500.

The Maybach and its symbol of interlocking M’s, from an obscure but technologically manufacturer that built than 2,000 cars in in 1921-41 (and provided for zeppelins). The company’s featured was a V-12, and Mercedes has made a fanciful connection between the in the contemporary Maybach and those in the cars. In fact, even introducing the new Maybach, Mercedes more V-12’s for passenger than any other manufacturer.

Why Maybach? Why not simply continue tradition and call the car a U-Class or Mercedes may have wanted to owners of its S-Class that still have the top-of-the-line sedan. And with the Mercedes now gracing small cars around $25,000, the brand may already lost some of its the new name will help maintain some distance these bargain Benzes.

The test car was a subdued two-tone with soft cream-color covering nearly every of the cabin. My introduction began as a with a Maybach representative at the »You’ll enjoy being sir,» the chauffeur said. And I

The interior exudes luxury, as you expect from a car that as much as a mansion in Dubuque. car is built to the customer’s specifications, a choice of 7 leathers and 257 paint There are also 3 choices of interior trim; the Maybach said my test car had more 100 pieces of amboyna wood Southeast Asia, requiring a two months to install.

Most noticeable from the seat are three analog — speedometer, outside and clock — set into wooden binnacles in the headliner. A between the rear seats is large enough for a bottle of Two crystal flutes, and a custom to keep them in place, are The seats go back and forth and up and and they heat you and give you a Ventilated seats, with 10 cooling fans, are optional. If you buy car, you can consider giving up spa membership.

Children will the Maybach a paradise of electronic There is a video screen in the of each front seat, one in the dashboard. Each screen a choice of local television DVD movies, video games and the systems display, though the screen is limited to navigation and functions when the car is moving. headphones are included, of course.

The is understated, to say the least. This the Maybach in stark contrast to its rival, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom BMW, whose monolithic makes an aggressive and ostentatious Rather, the overall look of the is a bit like an S-Class that was with a tire pump.

The least impressive aspect of the may be the grille, which resembles of a common Lincoln. Yet I found the and the styling, in keeping with a car doesnt try to call a lot of attention to The question is, of course, if you pay well $300,000 for a car, might not attention be in order?

While is a huge car, its gently front and rear curves to disguise its mass, and it is surprisingly to handle in traffic. The recirculating-ball has a slight dead spot in the but the car otherwise feels crisp and in every situation I could at it, from crowded city to extralegal freeway speeds to mountain roads.

The Maybach is Its dual-turbocharged engine is based on the of the Mercedes S600, CL600 and only built by hand and to 542 horsepower and 664 pounds-feet of torque. The claims 0-to-60 acceleration in 5.2 an amazing performance for a three-ton According to Car and Driver magazine, a Maybach 57 had faster lap times at the the challenging German racecourse, a Porsche Boxster S.

As you would expect from a car related to the S-Class, the Maybach has perfect road manners, corners at high speeds minimal body lean. the transmission, when in its manual mode, upshifted on its own when the red line was reached; I would preferred to make my own decision.

1,000 Maybachs will be worldwide this year, up to half of them destined for the States. To secure a car, you put a $50,000 deposit. Your along with a bill for the due, will arrive in six months. There has been no of zero-percent financing or cheap deals.

The Maybach is a showcase for the technologies, from its air suspension and four-piston front brake to the 10 air bags and taillamps consisting of 528 diodes. But when you drive the car it all into the background, like a who knows how to get things done getting in the way.

Ultimately, the is a $75,000-a-seat statement of success, a version of a royal coach by footmen in powdered wigs. The who watched such a carriage by knew better than to ask if the inside could afford it. And the luxuriating within knew it was good to be rich.

Photos: Available on Maybach 62: multiadjustable rear seats, and a lot of The Maybach 57 costs $311,700 and up. A version is $51,500 more, options.; 1932 Maybach DS8 cabriolet.; Who Got the Value Meal. Jay takes a 2004 Maybach to then fires up a 1909 Steamer from his car collection.; ornament like those of the (Gerard Burkhart for The New York (pg. 1); With redundant gauges, a back-seat driver can an eye on a chauffeur. (Gerard Burkhart for The New Times) (pg. 4)


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