Longer luxury: Mercedes-Maybach panders to plutocrats

Mercedes-Benz promised Germanic excess when it resurrected the Maybach name (again), and it hasn't stinted on that, with the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class ramping up the tech, the luxe, and the sheer scale here at the LA Auto Show 2014. Tellingly revealed both in LA and Bejing, the new limo is resolutely targeted at those who are driven rather than who take the wheel themselves, stretched 207mm over the regular long-wheelbase S-Class, and with the majority of that space devoted to the rear-seat passengers and their new, uber-flexible seats.

Compared to the regular S-Class long-wheelbase, the rear doors are actually a little shorter on the Maybach version. However, the rear seats are pushed back in the car's body, meaning rear seat passengers feel more cosseted, while the higher roofline means their headroom increases by more than a centimeter.

Kneeroom, meanwhile, is almost doubled. Standard are the new executive seats, which have separately adjustable backrests and cushions, and can be reclined from 19 degrees for comfortably working, to 43.5 degrees, for sleeping.

Tick the right options boxes, however, and you can throw in multicontour seats with even more adjustment, and hot-stone style massaging. Between them, there's a center console with Peltier heated/cooled cup holders and optional fold-out work tables, while the rear also gets an entirely separate HVAC system with a variety of extra nozzles.

Mercedes-Maybach will even offer a special Agarwood perfume option, an exclusive scent for the interior of the car. That we're not so sure about, but the fact that the rear accommodation is the quietest for any sedan in the world is appealing.

Hand-stitched leather, an analog clock contributed by watchmaker IWC, wood and chrome elements to the cabin, and fiber-optic lighting are all used to make sure the interior is a little more special than you'd find in a regular S-Class.

Outside, the grille is updated with three chromed double-louvres, and there's more chrome on the sides and rear of the car. Maybach badging is more subtle than when the brand was a standalone affair, and the paint finishes are done by hand in Mercedes' Sindelfingen plant.

Tech isn't in short supply. There's HD Voice Bluetooth for calls on compatible networks, and an intercom system to allow rear passengers and their chauffeur to communicate without shouting. A Burmester 3D surround sound system packs 1540 W and 24 speakers, each with its own amplifier: the tweeters are even motorized, swiveling out from the rear doors to better face the occupants.

A "beltbag" system adds airbags to the seatbelts, and there are motorized seatbelt buckle extenders and even sensors all around the car to help it decide which airbags and other safety systems to engage in the case of a crash.

For the driver, there's either the V8 S 500 with a 5-liter, 455 HP engine and 516 lb-ft of torque, or the V12 S 600, squeezing 530 HP and 612 lb-ft of torque from its 6-liter engine. Both run 0-62 mph in 5s and are limited to 155 mph.

The Mercedes-Maybach name won't just be assigned to a single model, the company says, but start off a new sub-brand, doing for luxury what Mercedes-AMG does for performance. The first models will show up in February 2015, the S 600 and S 500, while the S 500 4MATIC will follow on in June 2015.

The S 600 will be priced from $200,000, though the options list will likely inflate that considerably with just a few ticks.