2023 Mercedes-Maybach S580 Review: Indulgence On Wheels

  • Buttery-smooth ride
  • Spoils you with gadgets
  • Clunky interface
  • Expensive options

It used to be that luxury automotive stalwarts separated themselves with fundamental improvements over the usual fare. Stemming from the days of custom coachbuilding, this often included a smoother ride, a touch of finer materials, and maybe a bit of extra power just to make a statement. All of which was reflected in the bottom line. In the modern era, the standard opulent appointments were joined by an increasing number of gadgets. Did your car have a phone? How about navigation? Does it have a back-up camera?

Today, the answers to all of these is, of course, yes, in some form or another. With the ubiquity of once-rare tech, brands in the luxury business have had to work extra hard to elevate their offerings above commonplace vehicles, most of which offer a suite of technological conveniences, smooth rides, and quality touch points almost as standard.

So in an interconnected world where neat tech isn't the cheat code it once was, what can an automaker do to luxuriate its vehicles? Some have renewed their focus on the fundamentals, with increased detail to the cabin feel and engineering the smoothest ride. Others have thrown as many toys at the wall to see what sticks. Some, like Mercedes, have done both, with mixed results. With its top-tier sedan, the Maybach S580, however, it may have finally regained its full-fledged luxury credentials.


The Mercedes-Maybach S580 is the highest form of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan. As AMG is to Mercedes for performance, the Maybach badge denotes the most Merc's most luxurious offerings, packed to the gills with tech, fine details and exclusive options both to set it apart from the rest of the Benz family and to stand out amongst its ritzy rivals. 

The Maybach S-Class comes in two flavors, with the S580 packing in a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that's supplemented with a 48-volt hybrid system meant to smooth out the ride while also upping the fuel efficiency. All told, it produces 496 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, which it sends to all four wheels through a 9-speed automatic gearbox. For those who desire an extra grunt, Mercedes' lingering V12 is available in the S680, producing 621 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque.

Go-go gadgets

As expected, the Maybach S580 is fully loaded with all sorts of gizmos to enhance the ride, be it safety, convenience or just change the atmosphere. At the heart of it all is the 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen in the center of the dash powered by Mercedes' MBUX operating system. It's a system I've been critical of before, favoring style over convenience, but the "hey Mercedes" -triggered voice commands and easy to access touchscreen make the somewhat clunky UI manageable. While far from perfect, the use of natural voice commands helps get past a few tiny headaches.

Truly eye-catching is the 3D effect available in the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. It appears to operate similarly to the Nintendo 3DS, with 2D images given a sense of depth and dimension thanks to a lensing filter. It can be turned on and off with ease, but it's a simple, fun new way to view the full color display. Both screens are highly customizable, almost to a fault, but add to the ability of creating a highly customizable environment.

The suite life

Speaking of environment, the Maybach's cabin can have its mood set to an occupants preference in several small ways like the customizable ambient lighting, the massage function in the front seats, the music and even with fragrances filling the atmosphere. These all come together in preprogramed demos built into the car's comfort menu. Pick "warmth" and the ambient lights will glow orange while the seat heaters activate, or "seaside" to hear waves crashing and the cries of gulls while the car combines scents to approximate the sweet sea air.

In the back, passengers will find some true first-class accommodations with the plush, adjustable seats, with the driver-opposite location able to recline into a sleeping position. Rear seat monitors, a center console with fold-out trays, and a refrigerated chamber for beverages are all available for that executive on the go. Automatically opening and closing doors mean they needn't deign to touch a door handle themselves.

Of course, there's a suite of driver assists from lane centering with the adaptive cruise control, brake assist, 360-view parking cameras and all the things baked into a modern vehicle to keep its passengers secure, both to avoid an incident and protect them in an unfortunate situation.

A modicum of modesty

We're already in fantastical territory when a car's 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 is its smaller option. Though Mercedes' long-lived V12 remains an option for the Maybach, its mild hybrid setup is the more contemporary configuration and likely more suited for what the S580 endeavors to achieve. That being a smooth, luxurious ride for both the passenger and to a slightly lesser extent, the driver. Even so, the seat behind the wheel is far from neglected, being the place to enjoy most of the more whimsical gadgets like the 3D digital display cluster and various invigorating massage settings. Those are all fine and dandy, but when it comes to actual driving, the S580 is quite impressive.

Appropriately, the power is delivered like so much smooth, full-fat butter, with the electrified components nudging things along while also negating any lag from the twin turbos. It makes it easy to maintain a sustained, even balance of throttle without the need to constantly modulate on a micro level. There's always a need to adjust inputs, but the balance here prevents any unwanted jerkiness to occur, unless the pedal is really mashed. When it's time to do so, the V8 is quick to get the full-sized sedan up to speed in a hurry, with a roar that is — I'm guessing — satisfactorily boisterous. It's hard to tell with the Maybach's heavy-handed sound baffling.

Even in comfort mode, the Maybach's quite adept at masking that it's a full-bodied luxury sedan. Steering inputs are just as smooth as the throttle, with the air suspension balancing things out around bends. This combined with the excellent forward visibility — thanks to the way the hood slopes away — and the S580 feels almost coupe-like in certain instances. Other drive modes further refine the ride comfort with a rear-passenger bias, but the one sport mode gives the throttle a touch more response and holds in a lower gear for longer than usual, with some weight given to the steering for added sportiness. Usually, this is the way if you'd like to eke out more of what a car like this is capable of, but for the S580, it doesn't feel like a particular improvement, even if you're feeling more playful.

Maybach to business

It's easy to dismiss the Maybach S580 as merely an S-Class with extra trimmings, but that diminishes what a strong foundation the flagship sedan is, as well as the efficacy of the Maybach overhaul. Whether it was Maybach or a "regular" Mercedes-Benz, it seemed for some time that the automaker's attempts to continue to keep the S-Class's unofficial status as a harbinger of emerging tech resulted in feature bloat more than anything. In this example, the efforts to elevate this car from an esteemed luxury brand to something more exclusive works far better than it has in the past.

With the Maybach S580, Mercedes finally gets the balance right, manifesting in a true capital-L Luxury sedan that would impress even the biggest Rolls Royce enthusiast. As a car, the biturbo V8 plays nice with the electrified components that make it a mild hybrid, delivering power in a smooth and consistent manner, particularly at the low stop-and-go city speeds when doing so is difficult. The opulent interior is a mix of contemporary luxury trends like ambient lighting, flat screens, and piano black surfaces, but its boat deck wood paneling, supple leather, and chrome details evoke the classics. All of it does work well together instead of being in opposing contrast. With this sorted, the nifty tech, also more streamlined, has room to breathe and to affect the experience as intended.

Though it starts at $184,900, the particularly opulent options bring the final price considerably higher. Once things like the $14,500 two-tone exterior paint scheme and $3,200 champagne flutes are loaded onto the order sheet, it can add up to an over $230,000 total cost. This puts it within striking distance of the similarly priced Bentley Flying Spur, though half the price as the Rolls Royce Ghost, to which it will inevitably be compared. That, in itself, speaks volumes to the experience the Maybach S580 brings to the table. With that said, my thoughts also wander towards the Genesis G90, which pales in comparison to all of the above in performance but strikes quite a luxurious pose at a fraction of the cost. Still, the Mercedes-Maybach S580 is a crowd-pleasing cruiser that earns its prestigious badging, reaffirming the luxury status of a legacy automaker.