Mercedes-Benz didn't find much luck when it launched Maybach as a standalone brand in in the early 2000s. Poor sales of the ill-fated Maybach 57 and 62 sedans led to Mercedes axing Maybach in 2012.
However, a new strategy to utilize Maybach as an ultra-luxury sub-brand of Mercedes was hatched with the arrival of the current-generation S-Class. A unique grille, a stretched body and one of the plushest interiors in the business turned out to be a winning formula, especially among China's chauffeur-driven class.
There will be a new generation of the S-Class headed to Mercedes showrooms next year, and it too will receive the Maybach treatment. A prototype for the redesigned Mercedes-Maybach S-Class has just been spotted, revealing a number of the design details of the upcoming ultra-luxury sedan.
The car will feature a uniquely long body compared to even the long-wheelbase S-Class that we get as standard here in the United States. It will also boast a grille with vertical slats whose design was inspired by the pinstripes of a suit. It's becoming a staple of modern Maybachs. It appears the grille won't be as tall as the one on the current Maybach S-Class, and the headlights, which will be shared with the redesigned S-Class, are also slimmer, which together with the shorter grille results in a sleeker, more streamlined face.
2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
The current Maybach S-Class comes with turbocharged V-8 and V-12 powertrains. With the new generation, only the V-8 will survive, with the V-12 expected to be replaced with a V-8 coupled with a plug-in hybrid system. The new powertrains are rumored to correspond with S580 and S680 grades.
The S580 will likely be powered by the 483-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 and 48-volt mild-hybrid setup that debuted in the 2020 GLS580 SUV. The S680 will likely be powered by the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 and a plug-in hybrid system delivering an output exceeding the 621 hp of the outgoing 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 currently used by Maybach.
The Maybach S-Class naturally will receive the latest technology developments at Mercedes. There will be self-driving capability, albeit in limited capacity. However, Mercedes—and thus Maybach, too—by as early as 2024 is expected to have cars with Level 4 self-driving capability on sale. These are expected to handle highway driving and parking situations with minimal to zero requirements from the driver. Given the 2024 release date, we could see the technology introduced in time for the redesigned Maybach S-Class' mid-cycle update.
Look for the redesigned Maybach S-Class to arrive in showrooms in late 2020 as a 2021 model. An extra-long Pullman body style should also be in the works, though the current-generation's coupe and convertible body styles likely won't be repeated.