Modern Classics: Maybach 57 and 62

If the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is as a classic of the Nineties, we’d argue that the Maybach is a classic of the Noughties. The luxury saloon based on the platform of the W140 is, in our eyes, the only worthy successor.

Once upon a time...

…a luxury saloon named Maybach – a name rich in tradition – was launched for the New Millennium. It aimed to conquer the market exclusive to Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Instead, however, it disappeared from the scene almost as rapidly as it had appeared, which came as a bit of a surprise, as it had been launched as the new flagship of the powerful Daimler brand. The almost 550,000-euro Maybach 62 was Mercedes’ answer to BMW’s Rolls-Royce Phantom and its promotional campaign created a stir. There was, for example, that unforgettable image of a Maybach travelling to New York in a glass container on board the QE2, then transported by helicopter to Wall Street.

The Maybach as a modern classic

It’s no secret that the next 10 years of Maybach history were less glamorous. Neither the campaign nor the traditional name helped the all-bells-and-whistles-equipped, chauffeur-driven limousine to reach its sales targets. The self-drive Maybach 57 S and the sporty 62 S both failed to improve the brand’s image, as did special versions such as the Maybach Landaulet and Zeppelin. Nevertheless, more than 3,000 have been sold since Maybach launched in 2002 and, today, some of these cars can be found on the used car market at (relatively) low prices. The fact that the Maybach was based on the elderly W140 of the Nineties was, perhaps, its fatal flaw at the time – but today you could say that the opulent Maybach is perhaps the only worthy successor to the great ‘tank’.

Photos: Daimler

In the Classic Driver Market, you can find many examples of the latest generation Maybach for sale.