- Powered by a hybridized inline-six, this latest Mercedes is the first plug-in Maybach-badged car.
- Essentially a more luxurious version of the Mercedes S-Class, this Maybach builds on the S580e’s well-tuned powerplant with added length and luxury.
- So far, this car has only been earmarked for Asia and Europe, and we’re not sure it will make it to the US
Seven years after showing the all-electric Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the ultra-luxury division is introducing its first plug-in hybrid production model. That model, the just-launched S580e, will launch in a conservative fashion, first being made available in China, then Thailand, then Europe. Electrification is coming to Mercedes-Maybach, but with the slow deliberation of one of the World War I dirigibles that once powered the company’s engines.
Those engines were inline-sixes and, in a nice echo, that’s the case here. The Mercedes-Maybach S580e is closely related to the standard S-Class plug-in hybrid. A 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six engine produces 367 horsepower and is paired with a 150-hp electric motor. Total system output is 510 horsepower along with 553 pound-feet of torque, and nearly 60 percent of that torque is available with the light-shift response of the electric motor.
If you want to splash the backseat occupants with caviar and champagne, this new Mercedes-Maybach will run to highway speeds with most of the same power as its V-8 and V-12-powered cousins. But that kind of disrespectful behavior will get you in trouble, or, given the power wielded by the kind of people who can afford a Maybach, maybe fired.
No, a Mercedes-Maybach is for leisurely, airship-like gliding, which the S580e promises to do par excellence. For one thing, with all due respect to rapper Rick Ross, true Maybach music is measured in near silence. A V-8-powered Maybach hums along at just 64 decibels of cabin noise at 70 mph. Able to run purely on electrons, the S580e will be even more discrete.
On a full charge, Mercedes says the Maybach S580e will run to a top speed of just under 87 mph on battery power and have a maximum range of 62 miles (at least according to the optimistic global WLTP standard). Unlike a regular S-Class, the Maybach variant is about seven inches longer for more rear-seat space and can be optioned with all sorts of sumptuous goodies, including a rear-seat fridge and branded champagne glasses.
Fuel consumption is probably of little concern to the average Mercedes-Maybach customer, who probably has a private jet to fill up, but CO2 ratings are. The S580e tread lightly in terms of localized pollution and is therefore ideal for low emission urban areas such as London’s growing Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).
Before you’ll see a Mercedes-Maybach S580e there, the cars will arrive in China, where more than half of global Maybach production ends up. In 2022, China snapped up around 1,100 Mercedes-Maybachs every month.
After thwarting the previous Maybach relaunch with the ill-fated 57 and 62 of the early 2000s, Mercedes is playing the long game here. That may seem overcautious compared to the way EVs are being pushed into the mainstream worldwide, but note that 2022 marks the second year of record sales growth for the segment. A capable turn not fast, but it doesn’t have to.