Apparently, third-world dictators and industry chiefs alike are unhappy with the number of Mercedes S-Classes on the road. In the eyes of this elite few, its growing popularity has eroded the limo's kudos. So the group has demanded something even more exclusive.
Enter the Maybach, a £243,780 automotive monument to obscene wealth. Keen to keep top-spending customers happy, Mercedes has cut no corners in resurrecting this Twenties motoring legend. Engineers have built a luxury platform with a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V12 capable of propelling this six-metre-long 57 to 155mph in near silence. The result is truly awesome. An even larger 62 model is available, too, and refinement in both is overwhelming. A leather and wood-trimmed cabin features two phones, three televisions, a DVD player, not to mention massaging seats. There is also an extensive options list.
On the road, air suspension and adjustable dampers iron out all bumps. Somehow it even manages to keep the 2,660kg 57 on the right side of the road in corners. Plenty of insulation and thick glass mean that, when it's cruising at the electronically limited top speed on a German autobahn, there's minimal wind noise from the A-pillar, while road and tyre whine have been eliminated. Overtaking at slower speeds doesn't take long, thanks to a hefty 900Nm of torque at 2,300rpm.
From a driver's perspective, a big- engined S-Class would be more enjoyable than a Maybach, due to the latter's vast dimensions and massive weight. But, as a passenger, it's everything you could wish for...