As you may have noticed, there are different levels of "rich". There's "I build my own cars, make rockets to Mars and I'm buying Twitter" rich. There's "My midlife crisis involves buying a newspaper (the entire Washington Post), getting a $38 billion divorce and stop the snide remarks about the shape of my rockets, Elon" rich.
Then there's mere "captain of industry", "patron of the arts", "pillar of the community" rich. Quiet wealth. Eye-watering levels of assets, but you'll never know about them because---well, such things just aren't done. Bad form and all that.
The Mercedes-Maybach S580 is the luxury car for those people. If "Mercedes" and "S580" sound familiar, that's because there is a Mercedes-Benz S580, which I reviewed eight months ago. It's a lovely car, and you'd be reasonable for thinking it was the ultimate expression of the large Mercedes sedan.
You'd also be wrong.
The two cars share the same architecture, the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter EQ-Boosted 32-valve V8 making 496 horsepower. And yet, they are vastly different automobiles.
The Mercedes-Benz S580 is a car you drive. You can drive the Mercedes-Maybach S580, too---and it's tremendous. Quick, smooth, quiet, composed, yet capable. But the party, as I noted in my March, 2021 review of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 SUV, is in the back. To properly enjoy this car, you should factor the salary and benefits for a driver into the equation. Rear-seat passengers in properly-optioned Maybachs are treated to recliners, folding tables, a wine chiller, individual climate controls and separate programming on their rear-seat screens.
Happily, our test car was properly optioned. The base price for the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S580 is $184,900. Our car had $45,100 in extra-cost options. Not a typo. Forty-five thousand, one hundred.
The silver aluminum-fanned open pore walnut wood trim you see on either side of the 12.8-inch OLED infotainment display? That's $3,200. The two-toned Cirrus Silver/Obsidian Black paint job? $14,500. The upholstery is the MANUFAKTUR Leather Package. $8,000. And this one has been treated to the Executive Rear Seat Package PLUS (capitalization is Mercedes'). Four-place seating for the entire vehicle, a center console with dual folding tables and the rear cupholders? They're heated and cooled. That's $6,000. E-ACTIVE body control is $6,500. That's so you don't spill a drop of the champagne you're sipping in the back seat when your driver hustles along a winding road. See, our car has the refrigerator rear center console ($1,100) and champagne flutes ($3,200). I'd show them to you, but Mercedes' press fleet wisely decided that no good could come of $3,200 in glassware in a car going from journalist to journalist. Electric comfort doors in the rear (allowing you to close them without leaning forward) are $1,350 and those wheels the car is riding on?
21-inch Maybach exclusive multi-spoke "champagne flute" wheels ($1,300).
With $1,050 destination and delivery, the as-tested price of the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S580 4MATIC is $231,100. Fuel economy? 15 city, 24 highway. No one buying this car will notice.
Just as there are different levels of rich, there are different ways of looking at that price tag (ten Honda Civics, two Mercedes-AMG GT 53s, half of a Rolls-Royce Ghost). What a car like this defies is any traditional computation of value. It's a luxury item. And you have to appreciate Mercedes here. They already are a luxury brand. The Mercedes-Benz S580 is, as mentioned earlier, is an excellent luxury sedan that could easily stand as the company's ultimate state-of-the-art luxury car.
But they went further. They built the Mercedes-Maybach S580. And it's brilliant.