2023 Mercedes-Maybach S680 launch review

The Rolls-Royce of Mercedes-Benzes is as long as a limousine and powered by a twin-turbo V12. About half-a-dozen Mercedes-Maybachs are sold in Australia each year. This is what it’s like to drive.

  • Power
  • Refinement
  • Roominess
  • Looks like a Mercedes S-Class with a different grille
  • Absence of a volume dial, reliance on touchscreen
  • This truly is a power of money

Is the Mercedes-Maybach S680 a good car?

Meet the Rolls-Royce of Mercedes-Benz limousines.

The 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S680 is a super-luxury sedan designed for the super-rich when a regular Benz just won’t do.

The recommended retail price of $574,000 (plus on-road costs) keeps the riff-raff out of contention for one of these.

The Maybach name dates back to 1909 and was originally a father and son operation, who released their first production vehicle in 1921.

In World War II, Maybach produced engines for Nazi Germany’s Panzer tanks and heavy-duty military vehicles.

In 1960, the Maybach name was acquired by Mercedes-Benz and became the division for specially-built or stretched limousine vehicles.

In 2002, having spotted growth in the super-rich segment, Mercedes-Benz decided to give the Maybach brand its own identity and released two limousines that were based on an S-Class underneath but had unique sheetmetal and interior appointments.

But despite a decade of effort, Maybach sales were a fraction of Roll-Royce. It turned out to be a costly exercise for an Uber-expensive car.

Only 3000 Maybachs were sold globally from 2002 to 2012 when the brand was axed.

By comparison, Rolls-Royce sold almost as many cars in one year alone (2700 cars sold in 2010). Last year, Rolls-Royce sold more than 5500 vehicles globally.

Nevertheless, Mercedes-Benz has elected to persevere in this rarefied field of super-rich cars.

It revived the Maybach name in 2014 as a rebadged and renosed Mercedes-Benz S-Class (rather than design and develop an entirely unique body).

Now we have the second iteration of the modern Maybach theme, based on the just-released Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

If one was to offer an oversimplified description of how this car fits in the German brand’s line-up, the Mercedes-Maybach is to the Mercedes S-Class what the Ford LTD was to the Ford Fairlane, and what the Holden Caprice was to a Holden Statesman.

The grilles are different – and there’s more chrome garnishes in the front bumper.

But the Mercedes-Maybach goes further than this. There is also a crease in the bonnet, the body is stretched 18cm longer than the latest long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the interior has a more tailored treatment.

Good thing there is a twin-turbo V12 under the bonnet – the only V12 in the Mercedes-Benz catalogue remaining locally – because this thing is huge.

What is the Mercedes-Maybach S680 like inside?

The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach S680 looks, unsurprisingly, like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class on which it is based, except every possible option is ticked (including pillows for the head rests) and the trim on the dash and doors have vertical pinstripes rather than a more subtle finish.

Presumably it’s designed to look like a tailored suit or a luxury lounge, such is the quality, smell and feel of the leather.

It’s also huge – 18cm longer than the long-wheelbase S-Class. This provides sufficient room for reclining business-class-style back seats, which have massage functions for backs and legs.

As with the S-Class, a large vertical touchscreen dominates the centre of the dashboard and there is a widescreen digital instrument display in front of the driver.

A large colour head-up image displays key information in the driver’s line of sight.

Ambient lighting in numerous colours sets the mood at night – or can be switched off – and the leather seats have soft cushions on the head rests for added comfort.

2023 Mercedes-Maybach S680
Seats Four
Boot volume 495L (smaller than 535L in Mercedes-Benz S580L)
Length 5469mm
Width 1921mm
Height 1510mm
Wheelbase 3396mm

How big is the screen in the Mercedes-Maybach S680?

A 39-speaker so-called 4D sound system (1750W) has 31 individual speakers and eight “rumble” devices embedded into the seats so occupants can “feel” the music as well as hear it.

This replaces the 15-speaker premium 3D “surround sound” 710W audio system in top-end S-Class edition.

Wireless smartphone charging and wired Apple Car Play, Android Auto, digital radio and AM/FM frequencies are standard.

The audio quality is excellent though the functionality through the infotainment touchscreen is not as user-friendly as buttons and dials (which are conspicuous by their absence), especially when on the move.

Is the Mercedes-Maybach S680 a safe car?

In addition to a comprehensive list of crash-avoidance technology, the Mercedes-Maybach S680 comes with 10 airbags.

It lacks the two extra airbags (for a total of 12) from the next model down, the Mercedes-Benz S580L twin turbo V8 hybrid. That model has two extra airbags (one behind each front seat) that are designed to protect back-seat occupants in the two outboard seats from hitting their face on the front seat backs.

But these extra airbags weren’t added on the Mercedes-Maybach S680 because the front seats are so far away from back seat passengers.

Low- and high-speed autonomous emergency braking is standard, as are blind zone warning, lane-guidance assistance, a 360-degree camera view and front and rear parking sensors.

The accuracy of lane-keeping systems varies markedly across different automotive brands. Mercedes-Benz tends to be among the more accurate systems, however the technology still only works about 60 per cent of the time (depending on visibility and the quality of the lane markings) and can be quite aggressive when it intervenes.

Therefore the same warnings apply. As we have reported previously, Drive does not recommend drivers rely on this technology. It is designed as a back up for distracted drivers – but even though only works part of time. It’s best to drive as though it doesn’t exist.

As reported previously, to the letter of the law, regardless of the promise of what the technology can offer, the driver must remain in control of the vehicle.

2023 Mercedes-Maybach S680
ANCAP rating Untested

How much does the Mercedes-Maybach S680 cost in Australia?

Value is in the eye of the beholder in this category.

The $574,000 Mercedes-Maybach S680 is either a very expensive Mercedes S-Class or a cheaper alternative to a Rolls-Royce Ghost ($645,000) or Rolls-Royce Phantom ($915,000).

Nevertheless, objectively, we reckon it is hard to justify such a price tag.

But it should be noted there are on average at least six Australians each year who disagree with this view and who sign-up for one of these.

Here’s the other awkward thing: the twin-turbo V8 hybrid Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a fraction faster than the twin-turbo V12 Mercedes-Maybach (4.4 versus 4.5 seconds are the 0 to 100km/h acceleration claims).

Of course it’s unlikely anyone could feel the difference, but in a market obsessed with bragging rights it could miff some buyers.

At a glance 2023 Mercedes-Maybach S680
Warranty Five years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 25,000km
Servicing costs $3350 (3 years), $4700 (4 years), $6750 (5 years)

Warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres, service intervals are 12 months/25,000km. 

The servicing costs are astronomical even though, presumably, the S680 requires an oil and filter change as per most motor vehicles.

The cost of routine maintenance over three years is $3550, or $4700 over four years and $6750 over five years. 

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel consumption (claimed) 13.6L/100km
Fuel type 98-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 76L

What is the Mercedes-Maybach S680 like to drive?

As quiet and refined as the Mercedes-Maybach S680 is, it’s still a car underneath.

So the driving experience is not completely numb to potholes, and you can still hear stones flick up under the car.

But everything is done as gently, as quietly, and as serenely as possible.

The accelerator pedal is deliberately slow to respond – unless the driver floors it – to give a gentle feeling on take-off.

The steering is smooth without feeling vague (one can’t have the passengers getting tossed around) and the brakes are, thankfully, powerful and effective at washing off speed.

The twin-turbo V12 remains a superb engine with effortless reserves of torque, even though it may eventually become extinct amid the transition to hybrid and electric cars.

It’s thirsty, too, guzzling premium unleaded fuel at a rate of 13.6L/100km according to the rating label, roughly double the consumption of the average car.

Nevertheless, it is remarkable how quiet the V12 is when you consider how much is going on under the bonnet.

Our earlier comments on the absence of a volume dial for the infotainment system also take away a little of the driving enjoyment, because you need to take your eyes off the road to find the right tab – or section of touchscreen – to press.

This is a first-world problem but also frustrating. Surely in this price range, buyers don’t need minor irritations like this in their life.

Key details 2023 Mercedes-Maybach S680
Engine 6.0-litre V12 twin-turbo petrol
Power 463kW @ 4000-5500rpm
Torque 900Nm @ 2000-4000rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Nine-speed torque converter automatic
Weight (tare) 2255kg
Turning circle 11.5m (with rear-wheel steering standard)

Should I buy the Mercedes-Maybach S680?

The Mercedes-Maybach S680 provides a glimpse into a whole new stratosphere of wealth.

We think there are more affordable ways to experience super-luxury in a motor car.

But if you can afford one of these – and want to buy one – you’ll hardly be swayed by what we think.

Ratings Breakdown

8.1/ 10

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motoring editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in late 2018, and has been a World Car of the Year judge for 10 years.

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