The first attempt at the Maybach relaunch was not as well received as hoped. The brand dates all the way back to 1909 (when it manufactured aircraft engines) and 1921 when its first production vehicle hit the market. Fast forward to 1960: the company was purchased by Daimler-Benz and resurrected as a standalone brand in 2002, with a line of ultraluxury executive-class sedans based on the Mercedes-Benz S Class appearing in the following years.
A decade into its comeback attempt, things were not going well for Maybach. Sales of the brand’s cars were anemic compared to those of its competitors, Bentley and Rolls-Royce. By 2013, the Maybach brand was gone again.
The original relaunch of Maybach was so unsuccessful, it made a return engagement seem unlikely at best. Yet, a few years later, the Maybach name was back again as a sub-brand called Mercedes-Maybach. This time around, things fell into place perfectly.
The look of the Maybach vehicles, executed under the guidance of design chief Gorden Wagener, were subtle yet elegant. You could tell from the shape that the Maybachs were Mercedes-Benzes under the surface, but they were special nonetheless. At the same time, the sub-brand was revealing some stunning concept vehicles at car shows around the world.
Now, with the introduction of the first all-electric vehicle in sub-brand history and its first SUV, the Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV, takes another big step forward.
Built on the same all-electric platform used by the Mercedes EQE and EQS range of sedans and SUVs, the Mercedes-Maybach features even more performance and increased range. Powered by a pair of electric motors—one driving the front wheels, the other at the back—the EQS 680 4MATIC boasts 484 kilowatts of power or 649 horsepower.
The torque delivered by the two e-motors is equally impressive at 701 lb-ft, more than enough to send this executive-class SUV rocketing away from the nearest stoplight. The race to 100 kilometres per hour will take an estimated 4.4 seconds, while top speed registers at 210 kilometres per hour.
More importantly, this Maybach features a range of up to 600 kilometres, according to the WLTP test procedure certification used in Europe. (The different testing procedures used by the EPA in North America regularly result in lower figures.) Also worth noting, the battery pack can be recharged from 10 to 80 per cent at a DC fast-charging station in just 31 minutes.
As with all recent Mercedes-Maybach releases, the EQS 680 SUV is not all go and no show. In fact, the opposite is true as this all-electric SUV makes a strong case for an approach that could be called environmentally aware opulence
The exterior design features a bold black gloss and chrome front grille, optional two-tone paint scheme with filigree pinstripe, and massive 21- or 22-inch alloy and forged wheels. Inside, the passenger cabin builds on the strengths of the modern Mercedes-Benz lineup and amps things up nicely.
The MBUX hyperscreen, one of the most perfectly executed instrument/infotainment panel in the business, dominates the proceedings. The flowing panel, consisting of three displays stitched together, can be customized with three different display styles according to the driver’s mood. The screens can also be configured to prioritize certain information, such as navigator system directions.
Passengers in the back each receive an 11.6-inch display mounted on the back of the front seats. These passengers will also no doubt enjoy the standard executive seats with ventilation, massage programs, and heating pads for the neck and shoulder. The entire crowd will welcome the HEPA filtration system and the Burmeister 4D surround sound system, with no fewer than 15 speakers.
There are, of course, a wide variety of choices and options, too many to mention here. But for those looking to cement their eco-warrior credentials, the vegetable-tanned leather seats warrant consideration.
With the release of the Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV it seems all the pieces have finally fallen into place for this ultraluxe sub-brand—the design, the technology, and the sheer desirability.