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The new Maybach 57 has introduced us with some new car technologies. The car is now available in the market. Achieve some great reviews from the car specialists. I really appreciate the concept of this car.
William Randolph Hearst's castle—a monument to the newspaper baron's enormous wealth and lavish taste—in San Simeon, California, has 61 bathrooms, one Roman sarcophagus, and at least a few kinkajous (a nocturnal mammal native to Central and South America).
The $311,700 Maybach 57 has none of these things.
Here's what the Maybach does have: cloth curtains in the rear window and a miniature refrigerator. In this regard, this "ultra-luxury" car is just like a VW Camper van. Otherwise, not so much.
The Maybach 57—this is the little Maybach (say my-bahk) not the limo-length 62 model—also has six brake calipers, 10 distinct light sources serving as the headlamps, 528 red LEDs acting as taillights, 20 memory buttons for the four seats, two video screens, one DVD player, 21 speakers, two independent air-conditioning units, one remote control, two mobile phones, two champagne-flute holders, 12 combustion chambers, two turbochargers, and one umbrella. Our test car had 80 pieces of Amboyna wood veneer—a hardwood with a burled and swirled grain that is carried out of the jungles of Indonesia on the backs of elephants. Buyers can also choose less exotic burled-walnut or cherry trim. Or any other kind of trim, really—but for a price, probably substantial. Also, our Maybach came with one courteous young driver named James. (James was provided by DaimlerChrysler and is not offered as optional equipment at this time.)
If you're getting the impression the Maybach is something special, so is DaimlerChrysler, the company that builds it. DaimlerChrysler's plan was to have James come to my house each evening to pick up the car and return it to my driveway in the morning. This was not our plan. Ours involved parking the Maybach in my rapidly deteriorating pink garage next to four mismatched garbage cans. When we demanded that James wear a short-waisted coat and a beret at a jaunty angle, negotiations with the company broke down almost entirely.
One company official wanted to make sure we understood that comparing the price of this car to that of 18 Toyota Corollas is helpful to no one. He reliably informed us that folks rich enough to buy this competitor to the new Rolls-Royce Phantom would not likely consider buying a fleet of economy cars instead. We had no intention of doing so, of course. Mostly because you can actually get 22 Corollas for the price of our test car. Or you could buy 2.5 Mercedes S600s for the same money. They use basically the same engine.
Ever eager to please, though, we vowed to take this major monument to wealth on an appropriate high-end journey. This presents a problem in the Detroit area. In what environment could we place it that would, for more than a passing moment, live up to a $311,700 car? The real world—drugstores, shabby lawns, fat people in cheap clothes—keeps seeping in. So we went to a Thai restaurant in a strip mall in Canton, Michigan.
Later, we parked in my driveway and got into the back seats of the Maybach, the twin-turbo V-12 idling, and watched a movie on the video screens that are mounted on the backs of the front seats. This happened on Earth Day. The Maybach's lavish rear accommodations are what separate it most from an S-class Mercedes. Here, you can recline the seat to an agreeable angle, sink your cranium deep into the pillow (stuffed with Andorran hummingbird feathers, or some such thing) that's strapped to the headrest, and fiddle with the 12 ambient lights. Again, Maybach informs us that the rich are unlikely to do this, since they can afford elegantly comfortable chairs inside their homes. Having failed once again to rise to the level of the Maybach, we should perhaps investigate the car beneath it.
Buried deep within all this outlandish excess, all the limousine toys, and the imposing aura of exclusivity is a very large, shockingly capable, and stunningly powerful automobile. You know, a car made of metal, powered by the explosion of gas, with wheels that go around and around. The Maybach 57 is the largest four-seat luxury vehicle we've driven since the 18-foot Lincoln Blackwood pickup truck. The Maybach exceeds it in overall length (by five inches) and weight. Even with extensive use of aluminum (the doors, the engine, and some suspension pieces), the Maybach 57 strains our scales at a whopping 6080 pounds.Mass is the enemy of performance. At least it would be if you had fewer than 12 cylinders backed up by two turbochargers. The turbos blow a massive 18.9 psi of boost into the 5.5-liter V-12. Out the back end of the engine come 543 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Maybach says the engine produces power "everywhere," which is an overstatement since it makes no power at all in Csere's left nostril. Still, routing all that power through a five-speed automatic transmission to the rear 19-inch Michelins (an easy upgrade away from 22-inch "dubs") results in an almost incomprehensibly quick 0-to-60-mph sprint of 4.9 seconds. That is quicker than a Porsche Boxster S. It may weigh a few hundred pounds more than a Chevy Suburban, but the Maybach has a power-to-weight ratio better than the Honda S2000 roadster's. One curious note: Maybach says the 57 is speed-limited at 155 mph. For some reason ours was governed at a piddling 134 mph. We have no explanation for this. Neither does Maybach.