On 24 June 2002, the first of the new Maybachs, known within the company as Series 240, left the factory in Sindelfingen. With this vehicle, the then DaimlerChrysler AG revived one of the most exclusive German automotive brands. On 2 July 2002, the extraordinary automobile was unveiled to the world's public in New York. And in autumn 2002, the first units were delivered to customers.
The Maybach luxury brand offered customers a choice between two ultra-exclusive saloons, the model designations of which referred to the stately lengths of the unique automobiles: 6.17 metres for the top-of-the-line Maybach 62 and 5.73 metres for the Maybach 57. Equipped with 21st-century automotive technology, these luxury cars reflected the company's great expertise as the most innovative and long-standing automotive manufacturer in the world, profiting from the technologically leading position, know-how and unique experience of the Mercedes‑Benz sister brand in the worldwide luxury car segment.
The Maybach thus set new standards at the top of the passenger car market while continuing the tradition of the legendary Maybach automobile, which, in the 1920s and 1930s together with Mercedes‑Benz, belonged to the elite of German and international automotive manufacture.
Production of Maybach saloons at the state-of-the-art Sindelfingen plant at an average of five a day allowed compliance with every exquisite customer wish, while making it possible to turn each exclusively made-to-order luxury car into a valuable and unique specimen in a symbiosis of high-tech and workmanship.
In line with its international orientation, the Maybach brand took on a worldwide presence. The sales concept specially developed for this purpose was based on a network of around 25 Maybach Centres, with the Centre of Excellence in Sindelfingen forming a central fixed point in the direct vicinity of the factory.
Trendsetting innovations that had previously been exclusive worldwide to Mercedes‑Benz automobiles were further developed for Maybach saloons and now belonged to their standard equipment: such as Sensotronic Brake Control (SBCTM) for the electro-hydraulic braking system, AIRMATIC DC (Dual Control) electronically controlled air suspension, LINGUATRONIC voice control, COMAND APS operating and display system and the TELEAID automatic emergency call service.
There were also solutions that had been specially developed for Maybach while also underscoring this luxury automotive brand's claim to the high-end position of the market, with the 405 kW (550 hp) "Model 12" engine playing a lead role. Worldwide, it was the highest-output and highest-torque mass-produced engine to be found in a saloon. In addition, the Maybach models offered a 600 W sound system with Dolby Surround Sound at each seat, efficient four-zone climate control based on two separate air conditioning systems for front and rear. Maybach optionally equipped the high-end luxury saloons with a specially developed solar module located in the front or rear part of the roof, depending on the model variant. Over an area of about half a square metre, 30 solar cells converted sunlight into electric energy and generated up to 63 watts. The solar power began flowing as soon as the ignition was switched off, driving the ventilation blower of the front automatic climate control to ensure that fresh air continually circulated through the interior. As a result, instrument panel, seats and other interior parts became less hot in the summer.
Exclusive to the Maybach 62 were new-type reclining seats with a comfortable reclining position in the rear: when the rear passenger selected the preprogrammed rest position at the press of a button, the backrest tilted slowly by up to 47 degrees to the rear while, in the bottom part of the seat, a lower leg rest and footrest swivelled forwards. Seven electric motors set the seat to the desired positions. Adjustable air cushions in the backrests of the front and rear seats and a program-controlled massage function were other seat comfort features.
A very special technical highlight made its world debut in the Maybach 62: the novel electro-transparent panoramic roof. With its elegant cassette structure of high-quality wood, it arched like a glass dome over the rear passengers, offering them unique, personalised lighting options. The rear part of the roof consisted of two round glass panes, each about six millimetres thick, between which there was an electrically powered sliding roof lining. The internal laminated glass window contained, as an intermediate layer, a liquid crystal foil of electrically conductive polymer plastic. Under the action of AC voltage, the crystals aligned themselves in the plastic foil to make the pane transparent and let in daylight over the entire area into the rear passenger compartment of the Maybach 62. Once the voltage was switched off, the liquid crystals lost their clear-glass alignment and scattered the light in all directions. The glass then became opaque, filtering the incident light to create a pleasant, diffuse glow.
Cutting-edge technology was fused with equally unique elegance, aesthetics and perfection. The harmonious interplay of form, colour and materials lent the generously dimensioned high-end luxury saloons a design quality that emphasised their superior character, giving them an unmistakable identity.
At the same time, the lines emphasised an aesthetic longevity - a claim that applied to both exterior and interior. This made the new Maybach not just a car for life, but also a car for living. The highest-grade materials, including up to 78 hand-crafted fine-wood parts depending on the model variant, decorated the interior, whose design was aimed especially at the greatest possible well-being of all passengers as the measure of all things. This well-being came not only from the sumptuous spaciousness of the 2.25- or 2.68-metre-long interior; the seats, noise level and climate were also of the highest quality on board the high-end saloon, affording a unique driving experience.
Everything the discerning customer needed on their travels in terms of entertainment, communication and well-being was included on.board as a standard feature: from the DVD player, camcorder and MP3 player to the TV receiver, from the cooler to the wireless telephone with two handsets. For the optionally available business package, individually compiled according to the wishes of the customer, the Sindelfingen electronics engineers integrated a notebook in the vehicle using Bluetooth technology. This allowed direct use of the phone book installed in the Maybach as well as the transmission and reception of faxes and internet access. The portable personal computer was located in the multifunction compartment on the back of the driver's seat backrest and, for working, could be placed on one of the folding tables between the rear seats. A colour ink-jet printer and a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) were available as peripheral devices, also wirelessly networked via Bluetooth.
The comprehensive range of standard and optional equipment afforded the Maybach customer over two million different ways to arrange and equip their high-end luxury saloon according to their personal taste. There were also high-quality accessories specially developed for the Maybach - from the customised luggage set to the champagne chalice of sterling silver, the humidor and the golf bag. Incidentally, the boot capacity significantly exceeded the usual size for this vehicle category: 605 litres - around 40 per cent greater than in other luxury cars.
For the arrangement of the interior, Maybach customers could choose between six grand nappa leather colours and three high-quality types of wood. For the body paintwork, the luxury automobile brand offered a range of 17 colours that could be combined as two-tone schemes - another elegant feature of the Maybach.
In terms of personally desired or required technical equipment, the luxury car offered around two dozen additional options. These included further exclusive Mercedes‑Benz innovations for even greater comfort and driving pleasure - such as DISTRONIC adaptive cruise control, the KEYLESS-GO access and locking system and active seat ventilation.
The newly developed engine attested the company's many years of experience and great expertise in the development, design and production of twelve-cylinder engines: from its 5.5 litres of displacement and bi-turbocharging, the Maybach engine produced 405 kW (550 hp) of power, attaining a peak torque of 900 Newton-metres from as low as 2300 rpm. The "Model 12" unit thus became the world's highest-output and highest-torque series production engine in a saloon. Thanks to its three-valve technology and efficient catalytic converters, the engine more than complied with the stringent EU 4 and US emission limits. The high output and torque guaranteed the effortless superiority typical of Maybach in every driving situation: the Maybach 57 accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds, needing only 6.5 seconds for the interim sprint from 60 to 120 km/h, thanks to the high torque. The electronically limited top speed was 250 km/h. Power was transferred by a five-speed automatic transmission.
Besides an elaborately developed body structure, the exemplary safety engineering on the Maybach offered a total of ten airbags - two adaptive airbags with two-stage gas generators for the front passengers and four sidebags, along with two large windowbags on each side in the interior. The three-point seat belts with automatic comfort-fit, high-performance emergency tensioning retractors and belt force limiters were integrated in the seats to afford full protection in any sitting position.
The high standard of active safety rested in part on the novel Sensotronic Brake Control (SBCTM) braking system developed by Mercedes‑Benz, which combined a central control unit, two high-pressure reservoirs and two hydraulic units. The luxury saloons thus boasted a total of eight brake circuits, reliable deceleration on the front axle being ensured by internally ventilated brake discs, in each case with two brake callipers. The electronically controlled AIRMATIC DC air suspension gave the luxury car a new dimension in ride comfort while also demonstrating that even a prestigious saloon could distinguish itself by high agility and vehicle dynamics. The suffix "DC" stood for "Dual Control" and referred to the dual function of AIRMATIC: the system combined actively engageable air suspension with the adaptive damping system (ADS II) to influence springing and damping equally. ADS II regulated the shock absorber force as required by the road surface, driving style and vehicle loading, while also ensuring comfortable suspension by inflating the rubber bellows on the axles with compressed air.
Nineteen-inch tyres emphasised the forceful look of the vehicles, which drove on standard, elegantly styled light-alloy cast wheels. The wheel size was 8 J x 19 ET 67, with tyres of size 275/50 R 19. Of course, an electronic control system was also on board to continually monitor the air pressure in the tyres and to inform or warn the driver, as required.
A closer inspection of the headlamps of the high-end luxury saloon revealed a beautiful example of the Maybach engineers' love of detail: the lenses of the bi-xenon headlamps featured the double M emblem of the Maybach factory - an original contribution to product identity while also recalling the legendary Maybach DS 7 "Zeppelin" of 1930, whose headlamp lenses bore the then brand emblem.
From September 2003, the Maybach 62 was optionally available from the Sindelfingen factory with a special protection package. This allowed the body not only to withstand attacks with blunt weapons and heavy tools, but also to protect the occupants against large-calibre gun shots. In this way, the high-end luxury saloon met all the requirements for so-called high protection, as laid down in European resistance class B4.
At the 2004 International Paris Automobile Salon, Maybach unveiled a new seat configuration that, besides comfortable individual seats, offered an additional seat for the passengers in the rear of the luxurious vehicle. Customers could thus choose between a four- and five-seater version for the Maybach 57 or 62.
Of course, the range of optional extras ex factory increased over time: these included special versions for top-quality hotels for use by frequently changing guests; as well as gold, instead of chrome, in the interior together with matching gold paint on the rims as well as lamb's wool carpeting for a comfy interior atmosphere, coats of arms in selected places, a compass in the headliner or a partition wall with lowerable window - the choice was the customer's.
At the 75th Automobile Salon in Geneva in 2005, the new Maybach 57 S (S standing for "Special") celebrated its world premiere. Maybach's higher-powered and additionally customised variant of the Model 57 saloon addressed the desire for even more engine power and enhanced driving dynamics. Developed jointly with Mercedes‑AMG, a 6.0‑litre V12 bi-turbo engine (450 kW/612 hp) accelerated the Maybach 57 S from 0 to 100 km/h in five seconds, the (electronically limited) peak torque of 1000 Newton-metres being available in a wide band between 2000 and 4000 rpm. In line with the higher-powered engine, the Maybach 57 S came with a stiffer suspension set-up.
On the exterior, subtle visual highlights underscored the look of the Maybach 57 S. These included an exclusive monochrome silver or black colour scheme, a modified front end with a further developed radiator design as well as new 20-inch spoked wheels. At the rear, a revamped rear apron containing both of the integral, newly styled exhaust tailpipes signalled the high performance potential of the 57 S.
The redesigned interior featured new leather touches. The deliberately distinctive interior look of the Maybach 57 S was emphasised by the carefully coordinated use of piano lacquer and carbon fibre.
One year later, this higher-powered 6.0‑litre V 12 bi-turbo engine (450 kW/612 hp) also found its way into the Maybach 62 S, which accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds - the technology and equipment were otherwise the same as those in the Maybach 57 S.
At the 2007 International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main, Maybach unveiled ALU‑BEAM silver paintwork, which spanned the body like a metallic skin, allowing it to shine as if of liquid metal. This glossy visual appearance was underscored by new, so-called "trovalised" rims. This related to the standard sporty 20-inch rims on the Maybach 57 S and Maybach 62 S, which were additionally upgraded by an elaborate refinement method. The rims were polished in a large drum containing glass pyramids and glass cones. The treatment of these optionally available rims gave them the effect of polished stainless steel.
At the 2007 Dubai Motor Show, Maybach unveiled an exceptional automotive masterpiece that, using state-of-the-art technology, revitalised the high art of the grand vehicle - a concept open-top Maybach landaulet. In the tradition of the exclusive landaulet, the roof of this unique specimen in shimmering white could be fully opened in the rear, while the chauffeur's section remain closed. When open, the roof folded down onto the rear shelf together with the integral rear window of single-pane safety glass. The chauffeur could cover the folded roof with a stylish white-leather tonneau cover. By autumn 2008, the concept landaulet based on the 62 S had already become reality, being delivered to its first customers.
The Maybach Zeppelin crowned the brand's line-up of luxury saloons, assuming the absolute top position of the high-end class. It was a worthy successor to the legendary Maybach Zeppelin, which, in the 1930s, had been considered the pinnacle of sophisticated automotive design. Exceptional paintwork with a colour-accentuated shoulder line as well as elaborately worked, exquisite materials in the interior (including an optionally available high-quality perfume atomiser) characterised the unique style of Maybach's new flagship. The technical basis of the new top-of-the-line model was the Maybach 57 S and the long-version 62 S. In both cases, the 6.0‑litre V 12 bi-turbo engine with 471 kW (640 hp), yet further improved by Mercedes‑AMG, provided effortlessly superior performance, accelerating the Maybach 57 Zeppelin from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and reaching an electronically limited top speed of 275 km/h. Designed mainly as a chauffeur-driven vehicle, the 62 Zeppelin sprinted from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds for a top (electronically limited) speed of 250 km/h.
The flagship of the luxury brand was externally identifiable by its special two-tone paintwork. The "ZEPPELIN" lettering curving under the double M of the distinctive radiator mascot as well as on the boot lid clearly indicated the special standing of the Maybach Zeppelin. The Maybach Zeppelin was limited worldwide to 100 units.
At Auto China 2010 in Beijing, Maybach unveiled its luxury saloons in a new splendour with significantly upgraded high-class equipment and customisation options. These included in particular a new, large chrome radiator grille, which was elaborately manufactured in two variants. The grille on the Maybach 57 and 62 sported 20 fine longitudinal bars, while the Maybach 57 S and 62 S indicated its enormous power with twelve solid double louvres and a shadow rod. In addition, both arrow-shaped radiator grilles were not only higher and significantly larger than before, but also more upright. The new outside mirrors with optimised aerodynamics for reduced driving noise blended with the distinctive front end. Their large mirror surfaces also provided improved visibility.
There was also the bonnet with its lateral crease, the trim on the front bumper with LED daytime driving lights, dark-red tail lights and a handle strip with chrome touches on the boot lid, as well as new, exclusively developed paintwork and stylish rims. The new look was underscored by the now high-sheen 19-inch wheels in titanium silver with a 21‑spoke design for the Maybach 57 and 62. The Maybach 57 S and 62 S now sported as standard new 20-inch wheels with a 12‑spoke design in refined sterling silver. All models were also available in the new colour of Bahamas Blue.
In future, the buyer of a Maybach 57 or 57 S could also opt for the rear reclining seat of the Maybach 62. New options included seat piping, either hand-woven or with CRYSTALLIZEDTM Swarovski elements, an exquisite perfume atomiser and a WiFi router for wireless internet access. The Maybach 62 and 62 S with partition wall could be optionally fitted in the rear with a 19-inch cinema screen as well as an overview camera for the rear passengers. New were three interior packages with different colours for leather, carpeting and inner headliner. New trim pieces in selected dark-brown bird's eye maple, combined in the Maybach 57 S and 62 S with brilliant porcelain piano lacquer, underscored the elegant ambiance. Alternatively available were sporty-looking carbon-fibre trim pieces in alternative colours, such as silver and red.
While the output from the 12-cylinder engine in the Maybach 57 S and 62 S climbed by 13 kW (18 hp) to 463 kW (630 hp), exhaust emissions on all models were reduced: thus, fuel consumption fell from 16.4 litres to 15.8 litres per 100 kilometres, with carbon dioxide emissions dropping from 390 to 368 grams per kilometre. While there was no change in power output in the 57 and 62 models, fuel consumption (15.0 instead of 15.9 litres per 100 kilometres) and carbon dioxide emissions (350 instead of 383 grams per kilometre) were once again reduced. All Maybach 12-cylinder engines complied with the EU5 or LEV2 standard.
Between 1921 and 1941, the tradition-steeped Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH built around 1,800 automobiles