Image credit: Kristen Lee/Jalopnik

No, this isn’t a post written by someone else. This is me, just me, so hear me out. Here goes: I think, based on Mercedes-Benz’s current lineup, the Maybach variants are too cheap. Mercedes is not charging enough money for them. And it’s not OK.

Maybach is technically a sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz, but it’s meant to target the Bentley Mulsanne and the Rolls-Royce Phantom. So, if the S Class is the best of what Mercedes has to offer, then the S Class-based Maybach should be better than that. The best of the best.

But after spending a whole weekend in a Mercedes-Maybach and then also seeing how much you can spec a non-Maybach S Class for, I’m a little disappointed in the Maybach.

It starts with the interior materials. The Mercedes-Maybach has largely the same interior as the S Class that it is based off of, except the wheelbase is longer so rear passengers have more room to stretch out. And yes, there’s an optional champagne cooler and the back seats recline (a lot)—but other than all of that, the two are basically the same.


They look nearly identical, I can tell you that much. Take a look:

A 2018 Mercedes S560 Coupe. Image: Kurt Bradley/Jalopnik
A 2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560. Image: Raphael Orlove/Jalopnik


A 2018 Mercedes S560 Coupe. Image: Kurt Bradley/Jalopnik
A 2018 Mercedes-Maybach S560 and a Lizzie. Image: Raphael Orlove/Jalopnik

Just by looking at photos, I’m already put off by how similar the two are. Especially since the Maybach is all about the ride experience—being driven in it rather than driving it.


If that’s the case, wouldn’t Mercedes go above and beyond with the interior styling and materials? Wouldn’t it only use the butteriest of calf leathers and cut the carpets from the fluffiest of rabbit hides? Make it so radically improved that it’s a totally different vehicle on the inside—look and feel alike—and then charge way more for it? I’m talking, like, first-born child money. This is a Rolls-Royce competitor, for crying out loud! Don’t give me a recycled S Class interior with some quilted leather stapled to the top of the armrest and call it a day.

As an experiment, I went on the Mercedes website and built myself a Mercedes-Maybach S650, the one with the fat 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12. I gave it contrasting leathers, expensive wheels, special paint and a mini fridge in the back. It came to $216,545.

Then I went and built a Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet coupe. I also gave it nice paint, forged wheels and a $9,000 set of brakes. The cost? $247,900.


Why is an AMG Cabrio more expensive than a Maybach, the big daddy of the Mercedes lineup—an opulent luxury sedan with two extra doors and some of the most incredible back seats available today? There’s something wrong here.

I can only conclude that there are probably a couple of things going on: first, that AMG models are disgustingly overpriced (probably true to some extent) and second, that Mercedes isn’t charging enough for the Maybach because it is insecure.

That’s why the current Maybachs feel half-hearted. (For the record, half of Really Great is still Very Good, but you get what I mean). Like somehow Mercedes doesn’t think anybody will buy them, so it saved money where it could by basically making a longer S Class and then charging only marginally more for it.


Look, Mercedes, if you want your Maybach to truly be a Rolls-Royce competitor, then you have to believe it is. Fill it with hides and furs that only royalty can dream of. Let people customize it until it is utterly unrecognizable. Cut down endangered trees to make dashboards out of. And then slap a price sticker on it so obscene that people start comparing it to family homes.

Only then you’ll have yourself a full-fledged Rolls-Royce adversary, my friend.