A new flagship model based on the S-Class and badged Mercedes-Maybach S600 will be unveiled at next week's LA Motor Show. It'll be 200mm longer than a long-wheelbase S-Class, offering more space than the old Maybach 57 model.
Inside will be what Mercedes describes as "the highest level of customisation and personalisation of Mercedes-Benz", with luxury leathers, metals and woods. Under the bonnet will be a 6.0-litre V12 with 530hp and 830Nm of torque. There will also be an S500 V8 Maybach and an S400 4MATIC.
The car is due on sale in spring 2015 with S600 models expected to make their way to the UK. The price is said to be £10k to £15k over and above what Mercedes charges for a long-wheelbase S-Class, which would put the S600 version in the £130,000 ballpark.
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The Mercedes-Maybach is extensively redesigned, with a higher roofline than the S-Class LWB – contributing to a 150kg weight gain – and Maybach badging inside and out. The interior is as luxurious as you might expect with not a single visible piece of plastic anywhere in the cabin. Every exposed plastic surface in the S-Class is coated with leather in the Maybach from the window frames to the bottom of the seats and even the panel at the end of the dash.
While the new Mercedes-AMG performance brand will work its magic across the range, it's unlikely that there will be Mercedes-Maybach versions of other Mercedes models. "We have no further plans for other Maybach models," said Mercedes sales and marketing boss Ola Kallenius. "This model has its own body shape and the highest levels of exclusivity. An A45 AMG works with the A-Class, but it's not the same with Maybach."
Mr Kallenius was coy about the prospect of an even longer-wheelbase Pullman version of the Maybach in light of the Pullman S-Class we know is on the way, saying "wait and see – this is all we are announcing for now". The prospect of a Mercedes-Maybach SUV was also raised, and the response was that Mercedes is "not ruling anything out – the common denominator is that it has to be the utmost expression of luxury".
Mercedes will also be rationalising its model naming strategy under its core S, E, C, B and A series. All SUVs will get a GL prefix, with a following letter relating to the core model it's based on. So the current GL will become GLS and the ML will be renamed GLE. A new GLC will launch in the UK next year, alongside the already launched GLA.
Similarly, four-door coupe models will get the CL prefix and roadsters will be called SLs with the SLK to be renamed SLC.
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The only exceptions to the new rules will be the G-Class and the SL, as both are deemed to have too much of a following and legendary status to be changed.
Engine designations will be cleaned up, too, with diesels getting a d suffix and hybrids the letter h. Plug-in models and electric versions will be suffixed e and fuel cell models f.
The nomenclature changes take place in January next year, with Ola Kallenius telling us: "Customers must understand at first glance what a badge means. This is a more transparent and readily understandable naming system."
What do you think of Maybach's return? Should Rolls-Royce be worried?