Preview: 2021 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S-Class ready to deliver ultimate luxury

Mercedes-Benz didn't find much luck when it launched Maybach as a standalone brand in in the early 2000s. Poor sales of the ill-fated Maybach 57 and 62 sedans led to Mercedes axing Maybach in 2012.

However, a new strategy to utilize Maybach as an ultra-luxury sub-brand of Mercedes was hatched with the arrival of the previous-generation S-Class. A unique grille, a stretched body, and one of the plushest interiors in the business turned out to be a winning formula, especially among China's chauffeur-driven class.

A new generation of the S-Class arrives in showrooms early next year as a 2021 model, and it too has received the Maybach treatment. The extra-plush S-Class will arrive by the middle of 2021, where it will join a Maybach GLS already on sale.

Once again, the Maybach S-Class features a uniquely long body compared to even the long-wheelbase S-Class that we get as standard here in the United States. It also boasts a grille with vertical slats whose design was inspired by the pinstripes of a suit. It's becoming a staple of modern Maybachs.

For buyers who want their cars to really stand out, there's an available two-tone paint finish with a dividing line applied by hand. It's a complicated process, with weights being added to the empty door shells to simulate the weight of items to be added later, like the windows, speakers and interior trim, so that the painted dividing line along the side and doors will later be at exactly the same height. Maybach has 10 combinations on offer.

The real party is inside, though. While the front is similar to what you find in the regular S-Class, where a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.8-inch infotainment screen greets the driver, the rear is on another level. The longer wheelbase has benefited the rear seats most, with occupants here getting 5.5 inches of extra legroom over the regular S-Class.

The rear seats can also recline and feature a heated cushion on the head restraints. Their massage feature has also been enhanced with a new calf function. Nappa leather is fitted as standard on most surfaces, including on the headliner, and additional trim options are available for those who need it.

Once again, Maybach has its Executive Rear Seat Plus package on offer. Here, the center console stretches through the cabin and between the rear seats. At the rear, heated and cooled cupholders are fitted, as well as USB charging ports, and a fold-out tray to hold the vehicle's tablet screens or serve as a work station.

A final option worth mentioning are electronically controlled rear doors. These can be opened from the driver's seat or simply using the key and are integrated with the vehicle's blind spot warning system to prevent an accident with a passing vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist. The doors are also convenient when opened manually, as they can be opened and closed with little force, even on a steep gradient.

To further enhance comfort, an advanced noise cancellation system is used. It relies not only on detecting ambient sounds to generate a countering sound wave, but also the road surface below. Data from six acceleration sensors integrated with the suspension is also used to generate the countering sound wave, which is then played via the car's standard Burmester 4D sound system.

The suspension is an air suspension setup with Mercedes' Active Body Control damping system. The technology has been around for a while and is basically a way of controlling the level of suspension damping at individual wheels, and as a result ride comfort, using electronics. It uses a camera to scan the road surface and then adjust the damping to suit.

The Maybach S-Class also has a specific Maybach driving mode which adjusts the power delivery for smoother performance. For example, one measure includes starting off in second gear.

Only one model has been announced thus far, an S580 powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 and mild-hybrid setup good for a combined 496 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes has said that a V-12 engine will still be offered in future Maybachs, so count on one or more models being added down the road.

Pricing information will be announced closer to the market launch.

For more on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class range, read the in-depth reviews at The Car Connection.